Content creation can be super straightforward, right? Just find a good topic, do some research, open your favorite CMS and start writing down.
Well, that’s true. However, although the creation process can be easy, it doesn’t mean your content will be awesome.
So, what makes your content awesome?
To answer that question I decided to reach out some of the best content marketers out there and ask them a simple question:
If you could only focus on 3 things when creating content, which 3 things would you focus on?
Let me tell you, the insights I received from these 28 experts are just awesome. I’ve listed all of them below:
1. Neil Patel – Neilpatel.com
“I would focus on the headline, the quality of the content and the length.”
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, three of the most successful SaaS analytics companies world-wide. Follow Neil on Twitter to learn more about him.
I would focus on the headline, the quality of the content and the length.
The headline because if it isn’t attractive, no one will read the post. Quality because people won’t share junk content on the social web. And length because the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains at least 2000 words of content or more.
2. Chris Brogan – Chrisbrogan.com
“Without a potential advancement, it’s not marketing, it’s content.”
Chris Brogan is a professional speaker, bestselling author and CEO of Owner Media Group, a digital magazine dedicated to help businesses grow. You can learn more about Chris on Twitter.
Content marketing must be helpful, must speak to the people you hope to serve, and must point to a potential next step. Without a potential advancement, it’s not marketing, it’s content.
3. Chris Garrett – Chrisg.com
“Observe what works. Then, do more of what works.”
Chris Garret is a professional speaker, blogger, author and business consultant. He helps startups, freelancers and solopreneurs succeed in the online world. Get in touch with Chris on Twitter.
1. Understand your audience’s real challenges and desires. Interview people if you need to.
2. Observe what works. What gets people more interested, which get the most shares and comments. Most of all, what attracts people to subscribe and stay subscribed. Do more of what works.
3. Reinforce and grow by promoting, outreach, conversation, amplification and repurposing.
4. Ian Lurie – Portent.com
“Too many people develop their humongous Idea and then let it die, because they ignore access, resources and location.”
Ian Lurie is professional speaker, blogger and CEO and Founder of Portent, Inc, the digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience. Learn more about Ian on Twitter.
I’m not going to bother talking about topic, audience, etc. There’s more than enough out there about that.
Here are the next three things I focus on:
Access: How will this content access your audience? Yelling about your product won’t do it. What are you going to deliver that they’ll care about, right now?
If you sell rubber grommets, your audience may only want to hear about your product once a month, or once a week. So you’ll need to talk about something else – something they want to hear about all the time. Maybe football.
To get access, you’ll need to find the random affinity: The thing that your audience likes that may have nothing to do with you and your product. Then use that to get into a conversation.
Resources: Can you create what you want to create?
I hate hearing big plans for stuff that’s never going to see the light of day. Go small, and go deep, producing the best possible thing you can create with the resources you’ve got. It’s not content if no one ever sees it.
Location: You need to think carefully about where you’re going to publish. In the last few years I’ve really changed my tune on this – I used to say publish on your own site, no matter what.
Now, though, you really need to think about what you’re trying to accomplish, and who you’re trying to reach. Publishing on your own site isn’t always the best bet for SEO.
If I can publish something on SlideShare, for example, and it gets 10,000 views, chances are at least 1,000 of those people didn’t know about me until then. Those are new potential sharers, widening the audience of readers and potential linkers. So don’t assume you’re going to publish on your own site.
Those are the things I worry about, all the time. Too many people develop their humongous Idea and then let it die, because they ignore access, resources and location.
5. Avinash Kaushik – Kaushik.net
“To win with content marketing, take the customer perspective“
Avinash Kaushik is the co-founder of Market Motive, an established author, and digital marketing evangelist for Google. Follow Avinash on Twitter to learn more about him.
To win with content marketing, take the customer perspective. This is what they want:
1. Entertain Me.
2. Inform Me.
3. Provide Utility
6. Kristi Hines – Kristihines.com
“Just because I love a blog post doesn’t mean that my ideal customers do.”
Kristi Hines is a renowned freelance writer and founder of successful blogs like Kikolani and ContentPromotionPlan.com. You can learn more about Kristi on Twitter.
The three things I focus on in content marketing are creating a high-quality piece of content, promoting it to the max, and measuring the data for it once the promotion is complete. This helps me learn what topics my target audience is most interested in – just because I love a blog post doesn’t mean that my ideal customers do.
Google Analytics can tell you everything you need to know, from number of visitors to number of conversions from a specific piece of content, whether it is published on your site or someone else’s.
BuzzSumo can show you the top articles you have authored across the web-based on social popularity.
7. Sujan Patel – Sujanpatel.com
“Find out what’s getting shared, high volume keywords, and most importantly what you audience or visitors want to read about”
Sujan Patel is a successful entrepreneur, blogger and digital marketing strategist for big brands like Sales Force and Intuit. You can get in touch with Sujan directly on Twitter.
1. Research. Do your homework before writing a single word.
Find out what’s getting shared, high volume keywords, and most importantly what you audience or visitors want to read about. This way you write the best content that your audience cares about and will get shared the most.
2. Enrichment. Include tweetable text, quotes, embed video or presentation, customized images and a call to action. This will drastically help your visitors engage with your content and increase the number of ways a post can get shared.
For more detail read my post on the Filmant blog about post enrichment.
3. Distribution. Distribution technically isn’t part of the creation process but is very important and often forgotten.
Think about how you’re going to spread the word about your content once it’s published. This could be done in a number of ways such as reaching out to influencers, submitting to Reddit, content syndication, or even create Facebook Ads.
There are 100s of ways to promote your content.
8. Adam Connell – Bloggingwizard.com
“Your audience is the reason your content exists”
Adam Connell is the founder of BloggingWizard.com, the blogging community where you can find everything about traffic generation. Learn more about Adam on Twitter.
1) How you’re going to help your audience – Your audience is the reason your content exists, so make your content useful.
2)Differentiate your content – If the topic has been covered before, you need to think about how a unique angle. This could be as simple as making your content more user-friendly or more in-depth.
3) A headline that grabs your readers – A headline will make or break your content. There are plenty of tips on the web but writing a headline that gets traffic isn’t always so simple, your content has to back up the promise your headline makes.
There’s a lot more to the content creation process, but these are 3 area’s that are always worth focusing on. But don’t forget the most important step – promoting your content. Why?
For all the time and attention you put into your content, it’ll mean nothing if you don’t devote enough time and energy to promoting it.
9. Ramsay Taplin – Blogtyrant.com
“Strategy, distinctiveness and problem solving. Those are my three main content goals.”
Ramsay Taplin is the founder of BlogTyrant.com, one of the most popular communities for bloggers with over 10,000 subscribers. You can learn more about Ramsay on Twitter.
Creating good content is actually not that tricky…
Firstly, you need to make sure that what you are writing falls within an overall strategy. Don’t just try to get traffic – get traffic that takes an action.
Secondly, you want to make sure that whatever you create is distinctive – it needs to stand out from the pack. This is one of the most important things to remember.
Lastly, you need to write something that provides answers to a very specific problem that people have every day. Strategy, distinctiveness and problem solving. Those are my three main content goals.
10. Zac Johnson – Zacjohnson.com
“Don’t create content just to create content… create content to generate leads and revenue”
Zac Johnson is an online entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience and blogger since 2007. You can get in touch with Zac on Twitter.
1 – Monetization
You need to create content that provides value, has a purpose and of course brings in new leads or revenue in the process. This is where most bloggers and content creators are doing it wrong.
Don’t create content just to create content… create content to generate leads and revenue. Follow this make money with blogging infographic to understand the full process.
2 – Search Results
Of course search marketing isn’t the only game in town for traffic, but it’s still very important. When creating content, go after long tail keywords and phrases that people will search for when they are ready to action action or buy something.
Here’s a guide on how to choose long tail keywords effectively.
3 – Growing Personal Brand
This one depends on your content creation purposed.
For me, I want to be seen as an authority and expert within my space, so everything I write should be of high value, solve a problem and help grow my personal brand or business.
Here’s an example of a killer article I wrote for another site, which received over 5,000 social shares so far – thus growing my brand and expertise to a whole new audience daily.
11. Sandi Krakowski – Sandi’s Facebook Page
“Our focus is more than one sale, it’s a long-term, repeat, engaging and growing relationship.”
Sandi is one of the top 20 social media influencers according to Forbes, columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine and founder of aRealChange.com. Learn more about Sandi on Twitter.
When creating content my biggest focus is always speaking to the client in their voice about things that matter to them. The 3 things we focus on the most are:
– Where they are now
– What’s the current trend they’re responding to the most
– How can we connect on a deep level
A lot of marketers are always focusing on ROI, click thru and engagement. But the first point of contact before any of that is just as important as the first few minutes to any relationship.
If we’re only focused on what we want, we come off like a cheap one night stand.
Our focus is more than one sale, it’s a long-term, repeat, engaging and growing relationship.
Bring the flowers out. Open the door! Look into their eyes. Stop rushing in. This has not only built us a very profitable brand, but it has also made for a really rewarding and enjoyable way to ‘live’ as marketers.
12. Marko Saric – Howtomakemyblog.com
“First of all I focus on making sure I know who I am creating content for.”
Marko Saric is a professional blogger, content marketing advisor and founder of howtomakemyblog.com, a digital community where he talks about blogging and digital marketing. Learn more about Marko on Twitter.
3 things I focus on when creating content?
First of all I focus on making sure I know who I am creating content for. What problems do they need to solve? What questions do they want answered? This makes sure that I actually create content that is relevant and that people want.
Second I focus on putting together the best quality piece of content that I can. Part of this is looking at what is already popular out there, figuring out why it is popular and thinking how I can make it better, more interesting, more useful or more simple. This makes sure that my content is worth a visit and worth a share.
Third is the realization that nobody will see this piece of content (no matter how good it is) unless I go and tell people about it. So I make sure to spend half of my time promoting the content. This helps me get my content in front of relevant eyeballs.
13. Tomasz Tunguz – Tomtunguz.com
Tomasz Tunguz is partner and venture capitalist at RedPoint, mainly focused on software companies investments. Tomasz also blog about marketing at TomTunguz.com. Learn more about him on Twitter.
1. Evergreen content
2. Initial distribution on other high traffic sites for traffic referral
3. Email capture as the predominant metri
14. Sean Si – SEO-Hacker.com
“If you don’t hook them in there, you don’t get nothing”
Sean Si is the founder of SEO-Hacker, the community where he focus on help people succeed in the new world of search engines. Learn more about Sean on Twitter.
1) Headline. This one’s critical. I put a lot of time and thought in writing headlines. People give you somewhere around 2 seconds to judge whether or not they want to read your article by looking at your headline. If you don’t hook them in there, you don’t get nothing.
2) Promoters. I don’t invest in creating content when there are no people in my circle of influence who will promote it with me. Content is really only good when it’s read by people. If it’s not spread around, it will lie dormant. Which begs the question: Why create content in the first place?
3) Precision. I hate fluff. When the fluff starts in a piece of content, I bounce off the page. I think that people are much like me. In a busy world, there’s no room for fluff. So whenever I write, I make sure to put in only what’s necessary for the reader to take out some pointers of his/her own and leave my site happy.
15. Sebastian Cowie – Scdigital.net
“When creating content I like to focus on the basics.”
Sebastian Cowie is an SEO consultant, managing Director of SC Digital LTD and professional blogger. You can get in touch with Sebastian on Twitter.
As we all know, creating content for the sake of creating content has long been the bane of the digital marketer and resulted in less savoury SEO tactics being utilised.
As such when composing a new piece of content I like to make sure the following things are achieved:
1. Audience & Client Research – If you haven’t discussed what your client is trying to achieve with this content strategy and then researched your target audience, you may find that regardless of how amazing a piece of content is, it’ll fall flat because you’ve either misread what the client wants or the piece of content isn’t suited to your readers.
2. Trending Topics – In the age of link earning, most pieces of content will be developed with the ultimate goal of increasing either brand visibility or backlink generation. I find that by incorporating currently trending topics (when applicable of course) you’re much more likely to score a win for your client. Checking the usual social media haunts will usually give you enough of a starting point to generate something with viral potential.
3. Content Quality – Something that irks me to this day are agencies or companies that expect one writer to create amazing content regardless of topic. Copywriters are amazing, but they’re not experts in every field. So when you’re trying to create a truly engaging piece of content, it’s crucial that you find the right person for the job. If you’re lucky enough to be passionate about the topic you’re writing about, it’s still advisable to get a second pair of eyes to look over what you’ve created.
There’s nothing more embarrassing or potentially devastating to your client relationship, than publishing something with basic spelling or grammatical errors!
16. Nicole Beckett – Premiercontentsource.com
“Until I put myself in their shoes, I can’t give them content that’s truly useful.”
Nicole Beckett is advisor for American Express’ Open Forum, business consultant and professional blogger. She helps people around the globe improve their businesses through content. Learn more about Nicole on Twitter.
Here’s what I would focus on:
1. WHO I’m targeting: What makes them happy? Sad? Scared? Relieved? What kind of jargon are they used to/comfortable with? Until I put myself in their shoes, I can’t give them content that’s truly useful.
2. WHAT information I’m providing: People are busy, so how can I give them genuinely useful information in the most efficient way?
3. HOW I’m providing the information: Being efficient doesn’t equal being boring. If I don’t create content that’s creative, engaging, and compelling, no one will bother to read it – no matter how many great facts and figures there are listed in it.
17. Loz James – Contentchampion.com
“Before you create anything at all, make sure the aims of your content align with your business goals”
Loz James is a professional copywriter and digital marketing consultant with over 15 years of experience. He is also the founder of Content Champion, a digital hub for content marketing professionals. Get in touch with Loz on Twitter.
1. Before you create anything at all, make sure the aims of your content align with your business goals – and ensure the key messages that come out of those strategic goals are communicated clearly with your target audience.
2. Ideally, make sure you have influencer-focused content promotion opportunities baked in to the content before you start – which will make sharing and promoting your content that much more effective.
3. Ensure your content has a clear call to action in line with the business goals outlined earlier – so if you’re building a list for example, include a value-added content upgrade to achieve higher conversions.
18. Harris Schachter – Optimizepri.me
“To stand out, think of the unique perspectives and data only your company can provide”
Harris Schachter is the founder of OptimizePrime, LLC, SEO channel owner at Capital One and professional blogger. You can learn more about Harris on Twitter.
If you had to focus on just 3 things when creating content, I would say:
Segmentation: Spend the time to get to know your customers and prospects to make some data-driven personas. Otherwise your content is just a shot in the dark!
Content Quality: Invest the time and resources to really make some great content. The information, the design, the accessibility (i.e. mobile friendliness) can make or break content efforts.
Find what is unique to your business! There is a lot of content out there with more being created every day. In order to stand out, think of the unique perspectives and data only your company can provide.
19. Ian Cleary – Razorsocial.com
Ian Cleary is the founder of Razor Social, one of the top 10 social media blogs according to Social Media Examiner. You can learn more about Ian on Twitter.
@josuevallesp Detailed step by step, visuals/interactive content, and optimization!
— Ian Cleary (@IanCleary) May 18, 2015
20. Ashley Zeckman – Toprankmarketing.com
“For content marketing to work, it needs to be accountable.”
Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency serving companies like Dell, LinkeIn and McKesson with influencer and content marketing services. You can learn more about Ashley on Twitter.
Today’s consumers are overwhelmed by a virtual tidal wave of content. In fact, 92% of marketers are now using content marketing, but only about 6% would say that their efforts are ‘very effective’.
For content marketing to work, it needs to be accountable. In order to create accountable content, marketers need to understand what content attracts, engages and converts new customers. So, what does that mean exactly?
Attract: Identify what buyers are searching for and subscribing to. Figure out who influences them and what networks they use to discover information.
Engage: Create content that helps the reader form a connection to your brand. Content that evokes emotion and engages with topics that help meet buyer needs is most effective.
Convert: Most content doesn’t convert to a sale; it contributes to confidence that leads to a sale. Always give consumers of your content something to do next: whether it is registering for a newsletter, signing up for a free trial or actually making a transaction.
21. Peter Sandeen – Petersandeen.com
“Figure out what exact things are likely to make people want to buy and make your content relate to those things.”
Peter Sandeen is a professional blogger and expert in value proposition development and CRO. He helps companies and entrepreneurs improve their whole marketing strategy to convert more visitors into leads. Get in touch with Peter on Twitter.
#1 The purpose of all your content (and other marketing) is to make people more likely to want to buy what you sell. So, figure out what exact things are likely to make people want to buy and make your content relate to those things.
#2 Don’t create and publish content for the sake of creating and publishing content. When you’re strategic about the content you create, you can create far less content and make far more sales. If something doesn’t truly fit into your marketing strategy, don’t create it.
#3 Always make the next step clear and compelling. Most content marketing doesn’t clearly tell people what’s the “next step” and why they should take it. So, tell people exactly what they should do after consuming a piece of content and give them great reasons to want to take that step.
22. James Chartrand – Damnfinewords.com
“Practical, useful, immediately applicable information.”
James is a professional copywriter and the founder of Damn Fine Words, one of the best writing courses in the world. You can learn more about James on Twitter.
I feel that if I’m not providing that to my audience, even from a thought-provoking position, I haven’t done my job, and there was no point in writing the post to begin with. It’s the kind of content I want to read, and as they say, we should do unto others as we’d do unto ourselves.
23. Selene Benjamin – Firepolemarketing.com
“I love how so many content creators are focusing more on storytelling these days.”
Selene Benjamin is a professional writer and blog editor at Firepolemarketing.com, the marketing community that helps businesses become better and more profitable. You can learn more about Selene on Twitter.
Yes, we all want to be found. Yes, we all want more traffic. And yes, we all want to provide our readers with value and what they need. So keyword research, great images, on-page SEO, and valuable content are all very important aspects to creating content.
But if you want people to remember you (and your valuable content), if you want people to keep coming back, frame all that great research and content into a compelling story because compelling stories are what stick in people’s minds.
It’s like when I learned how to play the piano. I couldn’t understand why my teacher was so adamant about playing those damn scales over and over to the rhythm of that unrelenting metronome. But as I got older, I got it.
Once you have the technique down so you don’t have think about it, then you can focus on the feelings and the artistry of playing.
The same holds true for creating content. Get the technique down. Keyword research, grammar, good images, valuable content are the scales. Crafting a story people can relate to and remember… that’s the artistry and will keep them coming back.
24. Kane Jamison – Contentharmony.com
“Make sure you have a multimedia experience on your page to connect with different types of visitors looking for different experiences”
Kane Jamison is the founder of Content Harmony, a digital marketing agency focused on helping businesses grow, build trust and increase their revenue by improving their content strategy. Learn more about Kane on Twitter.
My gut reaction are the core basics like (A) good overall substance, (B) clean formatting for the web instead of blocks of text, and (C) focus on SEO or keyword targeting.
Assuming most others will say those, then what I would add-on top of that are higher level focus areas like (D) striking an emotional trigger of some kind, (E) making sure that whatever set of keywords you are targeting, you’re producing the best possible landing page experience for visitors looking for that content, and (F) making sure you have a multimedia experience on a page covering text, graphics, and video or interactive elements, to make sure you connect with different types of visitors looking for different experiences.
25. Jeff Korhan – Jeffkorhan.com
“Relevance is the most important consideration when creating content.”
Relevance is the most important consideration when creating content.
When content satisfies a hunger for relevant solutions, it removes barriers between the business and its ideal audience, and that builds familiarity and trust.
What holds buyers back from working with any business nearly always has something to do with trust, which is often the result of perceptions about the industry in general.
Addressing those barriers conveys a vital understanding of the audience.
So, for me the three considerations when creating content are:
1. A relevant headline that speaks to the audience so well they know what follows was created just for them.
2. Helpful information delivered in a way that makes sense for the audience.
3. Personal style that is relatable, and therefore, memorable.
26. Brad Young – Connectors
“My whole approach to successful content is to thrive with ‘constrained creativity’.”
Brad Young is the global content strategy leader at Connectors, the community that helps you perfect your prospecting. You can learn more about Brad on Twitter.
My whole approach to successful content is to thrive with ‘constrained creativity.’ Yes, I want borders and boundaries to focus my team on content that is going to advance our objectives as a company. My three tips focus on where to look for those boundaries:
1. Adhere to a persona-based approach. Know your audience. Like, really know it. Use internal subject matter experts – especially salespeople, whose job it is to be responsive to customers facing real-world challenges – to develop this in ways unique to your own company.
2. Adhere to your company point of view. No, we don’t write ad copy. But we do want to marry the persona needs (point 1) with a worldview that is distinct to our company. We can’t and shouldn’t cover EVERYTHING of need and value for that persona, but we should fill the whitespace we can credibly fill with a POV that underscores our expertise.
3. Adhere to your data. Don’t just collect it, ask it the right questions, listen to the answers, and then act on them with the content topics, formats and environments you are developing. Don’t waste time on stuff that will not work.
27. Aaron Wall – SEOBook.com
“Many of the most memorable pieces of content relate experiences across markets”
Aaron wall is an experienced blogger and founder of SEO Book, one of the most popular SEO training programs ever launched. You can learn more about Aaron on Twitter.
Tell something unique. Many of the most memorable pieces of content relate experiences across markets. Things I learned trading baseball cards taught me a lot about SEO, but it would be hard for someone to see the parallels and create that sort of content unless they had experience in SEO and traded baseball cards in the past.
Change the format. Depending on the market, different formats can get tired or over-used. If there are too many blog posts in a market then consider alternate content formats (or a mixture of formats) including graphics,
infographics, audio, and video.
Get input from others and other stakeholders. Some pieces of content which require a lot of effort still go nowhere, whereas a similar piece of content with a bit more effort put into formatting and a bit of effort in getting input from others can become industry-defining canonical category resources.
And when you create something which is doing great, consider periodically updating it to keep improving the user experience of new users who are viewing that content for the first time months or years later.
28. Joe Pulizzi – Contentmarketinginstitute.com
“Your job as a content creator is to build an audience”
Joe Pulizzi is a professional speaker, author of some award-winning books and the founder of Content Marketing Institute, the largest content marketing organization. You can learn more about Joe on Twitter.
1. Focusing on a content niche that you could actually be the leading resource in that particular niche to that particular audience.
2. Develop a strict, consistent schedule of delivery for your content.
3. Focus everything on building your email subscriber database (your audience).
Your job as a content creator is to build an audience, which will show some positive behavior change in the future. This takes time and patience.
Thanks to all the experts who contributed to this super post!
If you found it useful, please share it with your friends on social media.
If you could only focus on 3 things when creating content, which 3 things would you focus on?