The following piece is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here.
As authors and thought leaders, writing builds our platform, connects us with our unique audience and shows our expertise. You may have things you’d love to write about, but first ask yourself, “Is this a topic that my audience would want to read and would be happy to share?” While it’s important to generate regular content, it’s more important to write content that connects. Let your audience and the data from their behavior be the driving factor for your content. Ask yourself: Does this content help my readers? Does it solve a problem in my niche? Is it creating value or is it entertaining? More importantly, let data show you the type of content that works. Be flexible. Over the years, I have discovered that some of my personal blogs work better (are read and shared more) than the blogs I write on online marketing and publicity. Today, I try to do both kinds of writing.
I have found five powerful ways to write content that resonates:
1. Tune in and listen.
How do you find out what your audience wants to read? Social media provides ample opportunity to listen in and hear what people are talking about in your niche. What’s going viral in your space? What type of content is getting a ton of LIKES on Facebook, numerous SHARES or an abundance of comments? Listen in on Twitter and see what people are talking about and retweeting in your specific niche. See what hashtags are trending in your category. For example, you can easily find the most searched keywords on your site, and those words can tell you exactly what people are interested in reading about. Stay on top of trends and you can collect lots of compelling topics to write about. I use Google Trends and TweetReach the most.
2. Connect on an emotional level.
You don’t have to share your deepest secrets to strangers, but if you can share a relatable story, people will want to hear what you have to say. We all like to find people we can identify with and read articles that make us think. Be authentic in your writing. Make sure it sounds like you, and be open. When people can relate to what you write and feel, they will want to read what else you have to say. Weave stories from your personal experience into the valuable content you provide so that you can form real connections with your community.
3. Deliver what you promise.
If there is a trend you should avoid, it’s this: Don’t spend your time writing a captivating title that begs to be clicked on and opened, and then fail to deliver on the promise.
This happens often. Also, make sure your title accurately describes the content that will follow. Some sites deploy a bait-and-switch tactic where the title is intended to get you to click, but the content barely relates to the title. Don’t follow this trend as it will only frustrate your readers. Yes, go for those phenomenal titles that will be shared and make open rates soar, but make sure your content has meat on the bones.
Put yourself in the shoes of your reader and ask yourself: Is there enough value here?
4. Turn questions into answers.
Whenever a reader asks you a question — whether it’s on a blog post or a social media platform, keep those questions and turn your answers into blog posts. There is no better way to solve the problems of your readers than to respond directly to what they ask. If someone in your community has a specific question, it’s highly likely that someone else has the same question. In most likelihood, you have found a topic that resonates with your larger audience. Take that topic and run with it. You will be building relationships and rapport with your audience, as you strengthen your brand. Double down on the content that works.
5. Go for takeaway value.
Try and take a step back and think. Does the content you write inspire your reader to take notes or highlight information? The more your content provides value to your audience by making their lives easier — with advice, a solution, tips, strategies — the more your content will be in demand. For example, I might write an article on the first five things busy authors should do on social media. For authors who have only a basic knowledge of social media, this content idea would give my reader a road map to follow. You want your readers to be wowed that you are giving away such valuable information for free — that’s how you gain subscribers to your email list, grow your social media following and keep your community engaged.
To keep your brand vibrant and relevant, write so your content connects with your audience and always provides value. If your content entertains, informs or delights your readers, you can be assured that your connections will last.
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. A nationally recognized speaker and online branding expert, Fauzia writes for the Huffington Post, Maria Shriver and MindBodyGreen. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on the book, please visit: www.FauziaBurke.com.