So how does one actually go about creating content that is good enough for people want to comment, like it, tweet it, or better yet, share it? There are a million guides on blog formatting and writing catchy headlines ad nauseam that fall short of really helping you consistently develop and deliver great content.
There is a method to the madness, and it begins even sooner than most might think...
- It starts before you write a sentence.
- It begins before you write a catchy title.
- It begins before you choose the topic.
- If you get this step wrong and it is nearly impossible to write a good blog post... it begins at blog inception:
Step 1: Ask yourself: Who is this blog post for? Get hyper specific about identifying your audience and their passions, motivations, emotional state, and other defining characteristics.
By Identifying the age range, relationship status, emotional status, professional status, or any other defining characteristic of the intended audience it lays a foundation of insight. What we are looking for is to be as relevant as possible to our intended audience. The end result of this being that when the audience reads our blog post they come away from it thinking, "Oh wow, this blog post seems like it was written just for me!".
Don't be lazy, and don't take a shortcut on this step. Skip ahead and you fail. Be hyper specific. The way you would talk about playing the piano to a beginner trying to learn basic scales is far different than if you were talking to an 20 year veteran instructor. Imagine the difference for a new piano teacher vs. seasoned pro.
Step 2: Ask the hard questions your customers are asking.
You want to be relevant right? What does your hyper specific audience really care about? What are the problems they type into Search Engines? What do they ask their friends about? What would they really find so interesting that they share it with other like minded individuals?
Identify these so called “pain points” and make a complete list for each of your intended audiences. Write down these specific questions that they might have. These will become your topics.
At this point you will have a list of questions that will make awesome blog posts. All you have to do is answer the question in an informative and entertaining manner.
Step 3: Content writing, jazz-up your title, & all the other things people advise for creating a good blog post...
Because we have so clearly defined a problem it is much easier to clearly define an answer that is relevant to our target reader. As a bonus, your blog is now fairly “SEO Friendly” because those hard questions are very likely to be searched by your identified potential customer quite frequently online. #win!
Due to the specific nature of your post it is likely to not only rank highly but drive actual relevant traffic that engages with your brand and leaves comments. How many other websites are as specific in addressing the topic? Surely beats creating another "5 ways to..." blog posts.
Bonus: Identify & create the ever elusive piece of "Viral Content"
How do you know if a topic is a good candidate for that viral infographic or video? Easy. It appeals very specifically to those "pain points" identified in Step 2, except, it is for all consumer targets identified in step 1. Not that this makes is super easy to predict the success of a piece of content, but it does give you some interesting options.
As an example, the “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” video illustrates this concept very well. It appealed to Women of all ages and backgrounds by addressing a very powerful and deep seated challenge faced in our culture. People wanted to share it because of how it addressed a very specific problem, and many responded because of its broad appeal. Enjoy!