When writing about tips for producing content, I think back to a time many years ago when I interviewed an Academy Award-winning screenplay writer. Paris Hilton was his neighbor and he lived in the heart of Hollywood. He had achieved extreme career success by creating screenplays that captivated audiences.
“How do you produce content that people actually want to watch,” I asked. “When you have a blank computer screen staring back at you, and you’re in the back of a noisy coffee shop, how do you put words to paper?”
The screenplay writer smiled and gave a pretty simple answer:
“Trust that you’re a valid audience. If you can please yourself, you have to trust that there are enough people out there who will be pleased as well.”
Even in business, this advice holds true. You have to trust that you are the expert in your industry to give valuable information that people want to read. Producing engaging content is a challenge for content writers, small business owners and anyone leveraging their blog to attract prospective readers.
To help you create meaningful content, we asked marketing leaders and small business owners for their best content creation tips.
Related: 12 ways to improve your content marketing
11 tips for producing content for your target audience
From leveraging Google to relying on data, here are several strategies that may help you produce valuable content for your website.
- Google is your best friend
- Search Pinterest to find new topic ideas
- Monitor how your content impacts conversions
- Build up your top performers
- Interview your target audience
- Use search listening tools
- Focus on customer pain points using “AIDA”
- Pick keywords aligning with a user search intent
- Be an industry resource
- Visit spaces where your customers ask questions
- Analyze content gaps and social media
Below, you’ll have an opportunity to read through advice from key business leaders and see why many of these tips for producing content are so successful.
1. Google is your best friend
All good content starts with some keyword research. But great content starts with “key question” research.
As you examine your target, focus on what questions they have about your product, service or category. A great tool to find out what those questions are is good ol’ Google.
Type in a keyword, scroll down the search results until you get to “People also searched for.” Here you will find great questions that people are turning to Google for answers.
You can be their answer. Go build great content that answers these questions and you will be well on your way to being an authority on topics you know that interests your target.
Eric Rutin, Easy Marketing Lessons
Related: How to do SEO keyword research to drive traffic to your website
2. Search Pinterest to find new topic ideas
A large swath of my audience is on Pinterest, so I utilize the auto-fill in the search tool in Pinterest to find more interesting long-tail keywords — [this works] for content that I may not have considered before utilizing more traditional keyword search platforms, such as Ahrefs.
Not only will this content perform well on Pinterest, but I know that there is an audience interested in this topic. And, I can increase the chance that they will click through to other interesting content on my website.
Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
Related: The entrepreneurs’ guide to Pinterest marketing
3. Monitor how your content impacts conversions
Yes, you should be measuring content performance by looking at metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and more. But if you’re not monitoring which pieces of content are actually driving conversions, then you won’t know what content is meeting your audience’s needs.
To do this, start by enabling ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics or setting up a goal based on what you want your audience to do. Then, use the Assisted Conversions report to see which types of content are moving the needle.
Content is almost always more top-of-the-funnel than bottom. By using the Assisted Conversions report you can see which pieces are contributing throughout the user journey and scale from there.
Sylvia Kang, Mira
4. Build up your top performers
My best tip for producing content that readers will actually enjoy is to see what’s currently ranking and write something better. If long-form content (such as ultimate guides) is ranking for your target keyword, then create an ultimate guide –– but make it stand out.
Use what is already performing well as a baseline, then add another layer of value. This could be something like adding a free downloadable PDF guide to complement the blog post.
Sophia Orlando, Markitors
5. Interview your target audience
The best way to produce content that meets your audience’s needs is to interview your existing customers. Speak to them and find out the challenges they are facing. Discover the hot topic in their industry that everyone is talking about. Once you know what these topics are, you can produce content directly addressing your audience’s questions.
6. Use search listening tools
To produce content that meets your target audience’s needs, don’t just take your best guess. To get to grips with what your audience really wants to read, use search listening tools like Answer The Public.
Answer The Public listens to autocomplete data from search engines like Google, then generates a list of audience questions, prepositions and comparisons.
Just by running one or two words through the platform’s tool, you can access and draw from these insights to create content that meets your target audience’s needs. When I’m hitting writer’s block and struggling with what content to plan next, search listening tools always get me back on track and provide a boatload of potential content ideas.
Aaron Gray, NO-BS Marketplace
7. Focus on customer pain points using “AIDA”
Customers have multiple needs. Needs are categorized often as “must” and “nice to have” criteria. But ultimately, there is always one need that creates pain. This is the one need to tackle within your content.
How do you do this? With the proven AIDA model, an acronym for:
First, get the attention of the customer by demonstrating you understand their needs and have a good solution.
Second, spark interest with details on your solution and show the user exactly how to solve their problem.
Third, create desire by showing the user how much easier their life is once they purchase your solution. Create the “to-be” state of the customer.
And last, get the user to act through a demo, free call, download or a purchase.
Stephan Wenger, B2B Marketing World
8. Pick keywords aligning with a user search intent
Before crafting your content, first categorize its ideal reader into one of three user search intent categories:
- Informational searchers
- Commercial searchers
- Transactional searchers
Informational searchers are the most passive and broad — [they hunt] online across multiple page-one search engine results pages (SERPs) to better understand a topic.
Commercial searchers go next and [consist of users] searching for the best solution to their questions or problems — not just information.
Finally, transactional searchers are folks who go online specifically to buy something right now.
Once you’ve identified where your reader sits in these three categories, you can scaffold your target keywords accordingly — [aim] to capture their interest and meet their needs in your content. In doing so, you’ve identified the top, middle and bottom funnels. [This] helps ensure that users will find what they need when interacting with your content.
Morgan Taylor, Sourcery
9. Be an industry resource
We see the importance of producing quality content when building our marketing plan, so we focus on addressing our audience’s search intent. You can attract users to your website, but if you’re not answering their questions or filling their needs, you’ll find that they quickly navigate away from the page.
Find relevant keywords and add value to the conversation. Position your business as a resource in your industry.
Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions
10. Visit spaces where your customers ask questions
[Find] the spaces where your ideal customers spend time. A great option is to join or browse Facebook groups that are relevant to your niche. What questions are the people in those groups asking? Are there any recurring topics?
Quora is another platform that can better help you get into the mind of your target audience.
Another place to find inspiration is to talk to your customer service team. What questions do they receive the most from customers or potential customers? Does there appear to be a disconnect anywhere between information available on the website and the questions they hear the most?
Sara Bodner, Conklin Media
11. Analyze content gaps and social media
Perform a content gap analysis. This helps you find topics and keywords that people are searching for or talking about — [especially when] there isn’t much existing content about it.
Doing this would give you ideas for content that meets the needs of your target audience [that isn’t] currently being addressed. Reading social media comments and questions, and seeing what’s trending on social media, also helps in generating content ideas that meet the needs of the target audience.
Ben Rollins, Axon Optics
Make content that connects with your readers
The tips for producing content above will better equip you at connecting with prospective customers.
A perfect piece of content is one that speaks to the needs of your customers.
If every reader can find value in what you’ve created, then you know you’re ready to hit the “publish” button and share with your stakeholders and followers.
Use these content creation tips as a guide when creating your next piece of content and see how it impacts your small business.