You get it: you need to create damn good content if you want to make an impact online.
You’ve heard “content is king” enough to know that you need to do more than slap some poorly-worded blog posts up every once in a while. Or haphazardly slap an email campaign together, hit send, and cross your fingers hoping someone on your list will actually open the email.
If you want to grow your online presence and become a digital force to be reckoned with, you need the content you show to the world to be top-notch and on-point.
But what to do if you keep creating killer content, and no one shows up?
Unfortunately, the Internet is not a Kevin Costner movie and the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy doesn’t hold sway here. (Bummer.)
As hard as it is to do consistently, excellent content is still only step one. Step two is ensuring that excellent content is the right type of content.
You need to create content people care about. To do so, you’ll need understand who your audience is and how you can help them.
You’ll need to pack every post and email and social media update with value. You need to provide your market with a compelling reason to show up every time you hit publish on something new.
Not sure where to begin? Try one of these 3 types of content people care about to engage your audience and start gaining traction with your online presence:
1. Curated Content
Think about the last time someone asked you a question, but you didn’t know the answer. If you still wanted to help your friend, you could refer that person to someone who might have the knowledge or skill that would allow them to answer your friend’s question.
You can do the same for your audience and do them a big favor by curating content for them.
People care about curated content because it takes the hard work out of researching, fact-checking, and weeding through the results to find what’s useful and relevant to them. And curating is a great way to provide a ton of value without the effort of producing completely original content for people every time you need to get in front of your audience.
You can compile all kinds of lists to share:
- Put together a collection of free resources.
- Track down content about your specific niche and add your own commentary to show why each link you shared is important.
- Create a slideshow, webinar, or other presentation. Bonus points for making it interactive.
- Interview industry experts and share their insights, tips, and advice in one piece of content.
To get you started, check out these examples of great curated content that people go crazy for:
- Buffer’s post that shared over 53 sources for free images anyone could use for their blog or social media
- Boost Blog Traffic’s list of 9 must-use plugins for growing an email list
2. Educational Content
Let’s go back to what we were saying about the last time a friend asked you a question, but you didn’t know the answer.
Maybe you pointed them in the direction of someone who could answer the question…or maybe you pointed to something. How many times has your answer to a question sounded something like, “have you tried Googling it?”
People turn to the Internet when they want to learn about something. And they’ll care about your content if you can teach them.
Educational content provides readers value by acknowledging a problem and walking them through a solution they can implement themselves. Or by handing your audience the knowledge and tools they need to improve and better an aspect of their lives.
Either way, the piece of content itself provides a benefit people care about. You can produce educational content by providing how-to instructions, tutorials, examples, explanations, or guides.
Ramit Sethi, of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, is a perfect example of someone who makes use of educational content. While he sells courses that teach others how to do specific things or reach certain goals, the majority of his educational content is provided for free on his blog.
3. Visual Content
We read a lot of text every day. We’re bombarded with written content from every angle, because producing text on the Internet provides creators with a fast, simple, uncomplicated way to reach an audience.
But people can only consume so much written content on a backlit screen before they burn out (or their eyeballs do). Be honest: did you read every last word of this informative and helpful post?
Keep that in mind when creating content for your own audience and change it up. Provide visual content to balance out all your written text:
Create videos. You don’t need fancy equipment to do it. In fact, there’s plenty of sites that specialize in producing video in various types of formats for you. For example, there are explainer video sites that can help put difficult-to-understand concepts into easy-to-digest form.
Most smartphones come equipped with cameras able to take clear videos if the subject is fairly still and the phone is mounted on something stable. (Avoid handheld videos to avoid making your audience motion sick). You can simply record yourself or bring on a guest to talk with or interview.
Need an example? Personal finance blogger Lauren Bowling of L Bee and the Money Tree set up her own video series called Awkward Money Chat to supplement the other content she produces for her site.
Try your hand at podcasting. It doesn’t have to be a weekly show or an hour-long episode. Even creating a five-minute recording will interest your target customers if you pack those minutes full of great information or advice. Again, you don’t need to invest in anything fancy to create this type of content people care about. All you need is some software on your computer to get started.
John Lee Dumas is an excellent example of a podcaster who took his business to the next level via his audio content with his show, Entrepreneur on Fire.
Don’t forget about images. While many pieces of content are incomplete without any images, you can do much more than throw up a stock photo to headline a body of text. With editing tools like PicMonkey or Canva and royalty-free image sourcing sites like MorgueFile or Pixabay, you can create stunning images or infographics in minutes — and for free.
This (curated!) list from CoSchedule provides plenty of inspiration for the kinds of visual content you can create, too.
Creating great content is key to establishing yourself as an expert in your field. But creating content people care about is crucial if you want to establish your online presence and convince your target customers you’re someone they need to engage with and listen to.