Inbound Marketing: 5 Ways to Create Content that Connects

Posting videos, articles, and blog posts to your website and/or sharing submissions via social networks are all wonderful ways to boost audience awareness for meetings, destinations and special events. Doing so also enhances search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, allowing your business to rank higher in Google, Bing and Yahoo! online search results. But to truly impact your bottom line, it's important to remember: Content must not only immediate jump out at and resonate with customers, but also creating meaningful value for them.

The good news: From hints, tips and round-ups to infographics, podcasts, to interviews chock full of expert advice, dozens of handy and cost-effective ways exist to raise your online profile, and better customers' condition. Better still, providing such useful, engaging content not only creates tremendous benefit for prospective buyers - it also helps your business build trust, grow its following, and increase potential revenues. Looking to create more compelling content that keeps audiences coming back for more? Here are five rules to live by when generating your next blog, article, or video post.

1. Be original and insightful.
 Know yourself and the story your brand is trying to tell, and make a point of always maintaining consistency of voice, and demonstrating your distinctive point of view. Also be aware of who your potential customers and readers are, where they live online, and how to best connect with them. Before putting pen to paper, or microphone to mouth, stop and think about what their concerns and objectives are so that you can address them. By doing so, you can more capably clarify how your product or service is differentiated from that of competitors - and better meets customers' ongoing needs.

2. Create content that is distinctive and memorable.
 Unforgettable content has lasting value and can increase your readership. In her book The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing, business coach Lola Bailey suggests not only writing an entertaining article with an eye-catching headline (e.g. 10 Ways to Ruin Any Meeting or Event), but also including attention-getting analogies or metaphors that convey complex concepts in simple terms, and appealing to emotions to create lasting impressionsRemember: Over 27 million pieces of content are shared online on a daily basis. Key to connecting with and engaging audiences is finding ways to stand out from the white noise.

3. Go behind the scenes
. Need a simple way to connect with fans and put a more personal face on your business? Use photos and video to take them on a guided tour behind the scenes of your operation, and put a personal face on team members. From sharing how meetings and events come together or showing what goes into delivering a great experience to attendees, don't be afraid to share how your staff gets the job done. From profiling the employees who make your business tick to showing the strategies your team uses to plan arresting programs, all can help better acquaint buyers with your firm, as well as its personality and corporate values.

4. Spark commentary and conversation.
 Try to write intriguing articles, blog posts and whitepapers, or share research, that gets readers talking. Ask thought-provoking questions and have readers comment with their opinions. As a simple exercise, you might begin by highlighting new industry news and trends, and asking audiences to provide thoughts and feedback. The more interested users are in commenting on and discussing posts, the more likely they are to share all on social networks as well. The net result for your company: More interest, traffic and repeat visitors.

5. Surprise and engage.
 Where appropriate, consider inserting humor, unexpected surprises, or eye-catching insights into your online content. People love to laugh, enjoy unique and well-presented opinions, and have an endless appetite for unique perspectives and views they can't get anywhere else. Don't be afraid to stir the pot, so long as you keep things polite and professional - when it comes to online and inbound marketing, the goal is always to set yourself apart. Happily, there's plenty of ways to do so without offending, from presenting authoritative op-eds to little-known statistics, all of which can help you capture and retain viewers' attention, and build your business' core following.

For more expert hints and tips on creating content that resonates with your audience, you may also wish to see recent book Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and more) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.

Alternately, you can download our own free award-winning guide to business marketing and promotion, The Business Expert's Guidebook. As the above examples illustrate, you don't have to be a publishing or marketing whiz to help attract attention for your business, just willing to put yourself in customers' shoes, and get more creative when it comes to your editorial calendar.


Bestselling 
leadership and innovation speaker Scott Steinberg is a regular on the international lecture circuit, and heads management consulting and corporate training firm TechSavvy Global. A top-rated provider of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars, and bestselling business author, he’s been seen in 600+ outlets from CNN to NPR. For more, visit his website at www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.

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