How to Write Awesome Content That Moves People
“One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have” (Daniel H. Pink, In To Sell is Human – the Surprising Truth about Moving Others).
When I first read about Joe Pulizzi and the Content Marketing Institute, I was just getting my way around writing engaging content in a structured, strategic manner. I actually read everything I could put my hands on, content marketing related.
A simple Google search for the best content marketing resources returned several suggestions, most of which ended up by my bedside. This wasn’t the case with Epic Content Marketing.
As a matter of fact, I delved right into it and discovered something magnificent. A book so thorough and methodical that, if someone told me I could only have but one CM book to read for the rest of my life, this would definitely be it.
This post is under no circumstance a book review. Its sole aim is to simply inventory some of the key content takeaways this book offers. To some, they’ll remain mere assertions, to others they’ll be incentives for urgent, coherent actions in their content marketing endeavors. To me they turned out to be part of the second category.
Content is about trendsetting. The liquid way.
Image credits: lafactory-npa
Coca-Cola 2020: Liquid Storytelling aims to give the audience the most compelling content and thus earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.
We’re not all Coca-Cola. We don’t dispose either of their resources or of their reputation. However, there’s one thing we could learn from Coca Cola’s “history of firsts”: in order to earn popular respect, you need to first create excellent quality content. Or at least attempt your best at it.
Once you’ve understood the youtility of content, you’re on the right path
The argumentative, almost didactic approach, combined with a personal stance is one of the things I liked most about Pulizzi’s book. Multiple elaborate examples are offered in order to argument for the shift in marketing and sales that is given by the content path.
All successful brands have nowadays acknowledged the importance of offering thought-provoking pieces of content that helps the customer make an educated, informed decision.
The shelf life of branded content (and the degree of brand awareness, we might add) depends on how the digital footprint is set. All brands should attempt to create content that lives forever. And the only way of ensuring this is by focusing on the quality of your blog posts.
Storytelling may be key, but strategy is key etc. etc. etc.
We’ve heard this one before. Yet it cannot be stated strongly enough. There’s no great content strategy without proper planning. Sure, ideas may come in the flow, but the most important thing is to be able to produce them in the long run.
This is why having a detailed, structured approach to content makes the difference between a skilled content marketer and a less successful one. Setting up an editorial calendar, while targeting all buyer personas during their specific location in the buying funnel is essential.
Image credit: epiccontentmarketing.com
Experiencing writer’s block?
No worries, we all do. Pulizzi’s recipe for escaping the overwhelming feeling of incompetence actually comes from Marc Levy (author of Accidental Genius) and involves freewriting, or
“a writing technique where the person writes for a set period of time without regard for spelling or even the topic”. Give yourself a time limit in which to write incessantly (without pausing or proofreading) and only at the end seek to understand some of the passages that look meaningful.
After all, writing something, no matter how incoherent or senseless it may initially appear, is better than a white paper.
The one-way magical trick for content success: subscription
Pulizzi is of the opinion that as long as you don’t intend to produce a form of content that is easy to subscribe to, all efforts are in vain.
We’re used to the idea of only offering content in exchange for something else: an email address, a phone number or anything else that would later on reconnect us to the website visitor.
The main downside to this approach (I’ve seen worse – unlocking content by liking or sharing it, but that’s a different story) is that it steers bloggers and social media influencers away. And they should be your best friends in the long haul.
Forget about buyer persona trivia. Your customer base is made out of real human beings.
That’s right, the most relevant information on your target buyer personas will come directly from the clients you’re working with at the moment. They’ve presumably chosen you for a reason, therefore try to find out what that reason was and extrapolate it to future potential buyers.
The best way to easily assess your buyer personas: one-on-one conversations, search of keywords, web analytics, social media listening and customer surveys. It could be that the (Survey) Monkey knows best.
Fractal marketing. Find your smallest niche and grow it.
Once you know who your ideal customer is – attention, don’t focus on too small a niche – find your “sweet spot for content”. That is, the intersection between customers’ pain points and where you have the most authority with stories.
The reason why Epic Content Marketing is everything a content marketer needs (and beyond) is simple. Once one finishes reading this book, they’ll be experiencing both relief and terror at the same time. Once they become aware of all the measures a proper content marketing strategy involves, they’ll be facing the torment of having to implement them, as soon as possible. But it’s all worth your while.