Creating interesting and informative content is a fantastic way to build a community within your target audience. Why is this important for your business? There are several reasons:
- Content draws the right people to your company’s website by leveraging the right subject matter and keywords.
- People share great content, and how much people share your content counts for how you rank in Google.
- Helpful content builds trust. It shows your expertise in whatever your company is selling and gets your community excited about your brand. Content offers something of value to your audience before you ask for something in return (like an email address… or a credit card).
So what are some ways that you can do this at your business?
1. Blog Often
If you check out our friends from HubSpot’s Science of Blogging webinar by Dan Zarrella, you’ll learn some more specific reasons (like website traffic) why blogging frequently matters. Basically, switching from blogging once-a-month or once-a-week to every day will completely change the blogging game for you.
Hubspot and SEOMoz are two examples of businesses that create daily blog content, and hence have created communities and positioned themselves as experts in their fields.
We’ve recently shared some tips on how to organize your blogging team and how to set up an editorial calendar to scale this strategy for your business.
2. Monitor Social Media to Discover Your Community’s Pain Points
Understand the types of questions that your community members are asking on social media regarding your industry. Respond to those questions with good content. Set up a search terms and Twilerts for appropriate hashtags and industry terms. On Twitter, you can make conversational searches and see what people are really asking about. Here are some example searches:
- “(industry keyword) + sucks”
- “competitor + sucks”
- “I hate _____”
- “Is there a ______?”
- “Anyone know of a ________?”
- “What is the best ________?”
- “How do you _______ with ______?”
To enhance your content even more, do some research with Google Insights to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords with your content. “Pain points” + keywords make your posts highly searchable. If they’re asking about it on Twitter, your community members are probably Googling for it, too.
3. Write a Decent Headline
So we make fun of link-bait headlines like “What Every Entrepreneur Could Learn from Justin Beiber” and the like… but you clicked it, and you ReTweeted it, didn’t you? Yep. Caught ya.
Clearly we don’t have to be this severe in our headline writing, but listen: There’s a lot of clutter out there and a ton of content being shared. If you write a headline that makes your content sound appealing and helpful to your community, you’re much more likely to get them to read it. See how Copyblogger and Problogger write great headlines for their content, but back it up with great content. They are role models to follow with this.
Most important: If you’re going to have a catchy headline like “10 reasons to ___,” first make sure they are 10 good reasons! No one cares about your catchy headline if your content is garbage.
4. Shake it up with different types of content
Offering a variety of content to your community is a great way to keep things fresh on your blog and keep your community coming back for more. It’s easy to get writer’s block when you’re writing about the same industry, products or company each day, but using a variety of tools and leveraging your community are ways you can continue to keep things interesting. Here are some content ideas:
1. Write how-to articles
2. Do a screencast of your product. Screenr is a free screencast-creation tool that helps you make Tweetable screencasts
3. List common mistakes in your industry and offer ways people can fix them
4. List hypothetical problems that your product can solve
5. Talk about recent industry studies and your take on them
6. Make an infographic
7. Dissect a couple key points from a webinar or ebook and repurpose that into blog content
8. Discuss a recent industry-related event or current news
9. Give takeaways from a conference
10. Do video interviews with community members and post them to the blog
11. Offer guest post opportunities to expert community members
12. Curate content from resources that your community cares about and do a “news-roundup” style blog post
13. Top-ten lists, Top 20 lists… Top 30…
You can also try digital storytelling tools like Storify and Tweetwally to offer a new way to show Tweets in your posts. So, if you had a particularly useful Twitter conversation with community members, include that in a blog post. Or, maybe refer to some great Tweets from a webinar, and refer to that in a blog post. These are two very beautiful ways to display that.
Here’s Tweetwally in action:
Content is huge for us at oneforty. What has worked for us? We try a lot of different things and see what sticks. We blog every day, so we have the room to do that. If something didn’t work that great, we try again tomorrow (we don’t wait a month.) Some posts are more popular than others, but trying different things each day has given us the freedom to search for, and discover, what seems to resonate with our community. But that’s just my take.
How do you use content to build your community? Let me know in the comments!