When you create compelling content and spread it about with energy and a helpful spirit, a community will begin to grow around it. So, what is Compelling Content?
Compelling Content Meets Very Real Needs
It meets a real need for your audience and connects with their problems. Once you identify a problem, create content that offers solutions.
For example, if you’re a wellness coach that serves busy moms, you know your clients struggle with making food that’s quick to prepare while still being nutritious. Take this information and create a blog post about twelve healthy meals busy moms can make in their slow cookers. Share tips on how to use a food processor or blender to cut down on time spent in the kitchen.
Compelling Content Reveals The Real You
Content creators can struggle with letting their personality shine through their content, but don't give up or settle for bland content. I find it easiest to ‘be me' in audio content so I often start there. You can try that for sure and as you grow more confident, let your voice and style flow free in written content too. Your unique style is your best asset. It attracts your audience and shows they’ve found a leader they’ll love following.
Compelling Content Inspires Readers To Take Action.
When someone has finished your content, do they feel compelled to do something? Don't assume they will, or hope they will, ask them to! Include a call to action at the end of your content. Ask readers to take one small step, like joining your email list or liking your Facebook page. Keep it simple and make it easy.
When you regularly offer awesome content, your community will begin to trust you and look to you for guidance. One of the keys to success in your content marketing is to be consistent.
Three Excellent Research Sources
When it comes to creating compelling content, don’t think you have to spend hours brainstorming ideas or researching topics. You can actually zone in on what people are most interested in pretty quickly by checking out what they're already talking about and consuming.
#1. Visit Amazon For Ideas
Use Amazon to find ideas for evergreen content. Start by going to Amazon and typing your keyword into the search box. You can use the dropdown menu beside the search box to narrow your search to books only.
Books with an orange banner are best-sellers. You can try Amazon’s “look inside” feature to see the table of contents and a few sample pages. Scan the available preview and if any ideas jump out at you, write them down.
#2. What Podcasts Are They Listening To?
A great place to look for inspiration is the podcast section of iTunes. The most popular podcasts will be in the top ten. Notice what topics these hosts are covering as this will show you what topics your audience wants to learn more about. If something sparks an idea, be sure to capture it. But keep in mind how you could give the topic your own unique twist.
#3. What Are The Busy Groups Chatting About?
Another source of inspiration is Facebook groups. You can type your keyword then click on the “groups” link at the top of the page to filter the results to only show groups. Join the groups you believe your people will be found in. Pay attention to what questions keep coming up, it's a bounty of ideas for creating new content.
Using Surveys and Suggestion Forms
I come up with some of the freshest content ideas from replies to surveys. Running surveys allow your community to tell you exactly what they want to learn more about. A few quick tips to get you started:
Choose Your Survey Tool
I use and recommend Formidable Pro. There’s a free version you can try. The pro version has extra features and allows your readers to submit attachments, like their picture. This is a big time saver for me and has made buying the full version well worth it.
Boring Questions = Boring Responses
Boring questions are a sure way to guarantee that your survey results will be forgettable. An example of a boring question would be: “Have you faced roadblocks in building your online business?” That's going to get a one word answer. “Yes or No”
Instead, ask an open-ended question that will make readers pause and think. “Thinking back over the last month, what has gotten in the way for you?” This sparks a reply with some juiciness to it.
Offer a Reward
Setting up a survey is one thing, getting folks to reply is another. People are busy! If you want more responses, try offering a reward. Make the reward something your readers will really enjoy, like a discount code or free resource download.
Have An Open Suggestion Form
Put up a simple suggestion form on your website or blog that invites questions and ideas. Remind them often that you love getting input, link to the form from your emails, blog posts, show notes and social streams. Be sure to acknowledge and thank community members when they use it!
It's a full circle isn't it. You create content to attract a community, then the community provides clues about creating more content. Keep the loop rolling and your community grows!
Tell Them Stories
Stories turn ordinary content into compelling content. They make it easier for your readers and listeners to relate to your content. They also help your content become more shareable. When you’re done creating a piece of content, pause and ask yourself, “What story could I tell?” Make it relevant to the content you’re creating and your readers will find it easier to connect.
Don’t be afraid to get real in your stories and share the emotions you experienced. For example if you’re writing about how to stop emotional eating, you might talk about how caring for your aging parent left you feeling sad and alone, so you turned to food for comfort.
Want to share someone else's story as an illustration? Ask permission of course :) A good story almost becomes a Case Study when you can point to the person and share details about their experiences and results.
I actually cross over into being a fiction write now and then when I feel I need a story to make my point. I don't lie and tell a story as if it really happened, rather I let my readers/listeners know I'm fictionalizing for effect. “So imagine Tina Two-Step wanted to get started with a business and her hubby was not on board….” I have a lot of fun with it and enjoy the extra creativity it brings.
Crowd Sourcing A Blog Post
Crowd sourcing a blog post is a good way to interact with other content creators and build relationships. As the publisher, you look like a thought leader and it shows your community that love to highlight others as well.
I used crowd sourcing to create this post, Video Content Strategies That Work For Us. Posts like this get extra social love from all of the contributors which serves to drive extra traffic to me.
Pick A topic.
Choose something on the minds and hearts of your community.
Set Up A Form.
I set up a Formidable Form that made collecting input from others super easy. I asked a few leading questions and then invited them to add anything extra they wanted to say about the topic. (Don't lead people so much that you cut off their creativity.)
Now, I reach out to smart people I respect and ask them to submit their thoughts for inclusion in a blog post. I will usually send reminders and accept content for about a week.
Review & Select What You'll Use
Reading everyone's input is always interesting and I love the process of formatting it together into a meaty good post.
Tips: You don't have to use every reply. This is your community and your blog after all.
You also shouldn't feel you have to use every word they write. I don't ‘rewrite' anything, that would be inappropriate, but I do pick and choose the best snips to publish. By the way, I like opposing viewpoints as it adds some bite to the topic but I'm not going to publish something I consider to be bad advice.
Do link to your contributors websites :)
Add A Strong Visual Feature
A high quality image included with content makes it easier to share on highly visual social sites like Facebook and Pinterest. I use Photoshop myself but you can use a graphic website like Canva to create your post image. Place your post title on the image, or include a short quote from the content and be sure to add your domain name at the bottom of the graphic.
You may want to include your contributors faces on the image. I might just go edit my image to do that – I bet it would get shared more!
Ask For Engagement
Invite readers to take action after reading your crowd sourced blog post. You can ask them to join your mailing list or share the post. If you want to hear from your community, phrase your call to action as a question, like I did on mine. “What sort of pricing concerns do you deal with?”
Share It Like Crazy!
Once you’ve published the post, it’s time to promote!. Start by posting it on your own social media channels then contact each person that you featured in your post. Ask them to share it, too. You can even provide some pre-written social media posts if you know your friends are busy.
Crowd sourcing a blog post can be a fun and easy way to create compelling content. It’s also a great way to highlight issues that your community cares about and provide practical solutions.