Why (and how) to create content on your site

Summary:Your customers want to hear from you, and while difficult to measure, creating content will bring more customers to your business. It's challenging to add content creation to an already long list of tasks in a business, but these tips can help reduce that load.
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It seems like every time I discuss content creation and strategy with a client, they don’t like the idea of creating their own “blog” content and publishing and promoting it. I can’t blame them, as it’s a lot of work to write an article or film a video. What makes it even more difficult is that you usually can’t associate a return on investment from content creation, unless you get really deep into the analytical weeds. Since most small and medium businesses can’t justify the cost of the analysis to see if the cost of content creation is worth it, they skip both.

Why content matters

There are several reasons to create and share content freely, and I’ll list them all. But in my opinion, here’s the most important reason:

Content Humanizes Your Business

We know when we make a purchase it’s from a business, but we prefer to do business with other human beings, not some cold, unknown business entity. When customers consume the content you produce, it adds that human element that would otherwise be missing. That human element creates these advantages:

  • It creates trust. It's easier to trust a person than a business.
  • It creates social proof. Potential customers want to know if you can solve a problem for them. Part of doing that includes empathizing with them. When done correctly, content establishes your business as an authority with empathy for their situation.
  • It's relatable. By expressing empathy, your business becomes approachable.
  • It's sharable. People sharing your content in e-mail or social media is the best kind of advertising.
  • It makes Google's algorithm happy. Customers frequently ask about SEO, but are unaware that SEO is more than just spending money on ads. A website that has consistent changes (i.e. new content) is a sign of an active business. That will help in ranking, and is an important part of a sound SEO strategy.
  • It creates authority. If a person returns to your site to consume new content, Google takes that as a signal that you know what you're talking about. That leads to a higher rank, which leads to more new visitors.

Your customers want to hear from you

Quality content and quality products or services will make your customers want to hear from you. At this point, one of the biggest challenges becomes, “What ‘quality content’ can I provide to my customers?” This is a tough question to answer – in fact, answering it might be tougher than actually creating the content. Here are three ways I use to come up with content ideas.

  • What questions do customers frequently ask? Talk with your staff, especially sales and support, and find out what questions come up on a regular basis. Answer those questions.
  • What do you wish your customers knew? Remember, your'e the expert. Often times, your customers don't know what questions they should ask. Think through each stage (consideration, purchase, post-purchase, etc) they go through and think of what you want them to understand. There's some more content ideas.
  • What are people searching for online? This one might seem a little intimidating because it involves some basic SEO-type research. It's not that hard, and it may not even be necessary. The first two options may have provided you with a long list of topics.

How to find what people look for online

There are approximately 2,316,833 different SEO tools you can use. You’re right I made that number up, but there are a lot of options. For this exercise I’ll recommend two. Both are free, and you can use one or both.

First is Ubersuggest. Type in the keyword and you’ll get an idea of how often it’s searched for. You can also see a trend graph, which helps in determining a keywords “staying power” over time. Here’s what I got when I searched for “pest control.”

ubersuggest results for pest control
The search volume monthly average is 135,000. You can also see that, as you would expect, the number of searches is highest in the summer months, and there’s a pretty big drop in the winter. You can also see in the graph “90,500 searches per month.” I believe that’s the month to date volume, hence the difference in search volume.
 
A second tool I like it Keywords Everywhere. This is an extension for Chrome & Firefox browsers. Download and install it, then go to Google and type in a search. It will show you the monthly search volume as well as associated keywords. Another nice feature with Keyword Explorer is it seems to work just about anywhere there is a search bar. Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Etsy, and others. Here’s how it looks on Google:
KW Everywhere results
You can see the search volume underneath the search bar is 246,000, and along the right are other keywords to consider, with their volume. You can also see these tools have different search results. That’s not uncommon, and it’s why I like to use both tools. Look for phrases with higher search volume, at a (very low) minimum, you want 10,000, and depending on your industry and the content, you may want it much higher.

Should I use video or text, and how often should I publish new content?

These are great questions, and there’s no absolute answer. I will share these YouTube stats though.  

I would consider a mix of video and text to be the best bet. How much of each is up to you. I also feel that it’s easier to make a video and then create a transcript, audio file and video from it. That can then be used in multiple platforms – You can share it to social, your website, e-mail, podcast, or other platforms. 

What about the frequency of new content? Do it as often as you can, but at a minimum, you want to get something out weekly. I know that’s easier said than done (I publish content too. It’s tough). One thing to try that can make that easier is to keep posts short. A 3-5 minute video or an article that’s 600-1,000 words is a good length. It’s easy to go over that though, so consider breaking one piece of content into a multiple part series.

Conclusion

Your customers want to hear from you, and while difficult to measure, sharing content will bring more customers to your business. Brainstorm ideas for topics, then schedule them out and set a goal of at least one new content piece er week. Video can be transformed into an article, a podcast, or a shareable snippet on social media. It’s also about to overtake text as the preferred way to consume content (if it hasn’t already).

What other questions do you have? Post in the comments and let me know how I can help.

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Drop light image by Skye Studios on Unsplash

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