Think Like a Journalist to Create Compelling Content That Gets Noticed

Gone are the days of the SEO wizard who could game search engine results with magic words.

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By Pratik Dholakiya

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"Ask yourself what creates value for your users."- Google

There was a time when SEO copywriting was the buzz of the online marketing world, but those days are gone. No longer can SEO copywriters miraculously achieve top rankings for content merely by placing just the right keywords in the right places. In fact, it was too good to be true for long-term practice.

Though the frequency or positioning of keywords still plays an important role, the focus has shifted to quality and relevance. Social sharing, backlinks from relevant top-quality sites and other social signals are still crucial for search engine rankings but the real challenge is getting those links and signals naturally.

The mainstream content marketing now requires something more to lure both search engines and the users. You need compelling content to engage the audience and persuade them to take intended action(s). This is no easy feat. Now, let's focus on a few points that you need to consider to create content that attracts customers.

Related: How to Create Content That's Meant to Be Shared

Content from brands is not always trustworthy.

Buyers are naturally suspicious and think that brands are just trying to sell them something through the content. So the next time you sit down to write an article, try to understand your target audience's point of view to grab their attention.

You can build trust with useful content.

If you know how to do it, creating content is as simple as this. Your target audience should find value in it and they will naturally start trusting you, pay attention to your content and share it in their social circles.

This is an ongoing process.

If you are into content marketing, you need to consistently create valuable content. Even a single exception can break all the trust that you have built over the years.

Related: Follow Chipotle's Lead and Create a Content Marketing Calendar

Don't try to sell with your content.

When we say create compelling, valuable content, you need to control your desire to sell through it. The sole focus of your content should be to provide valuable insights to your customers so that they can make better purchase decisions. The beauty of online content and social media, however, is that they can indirectly drive sales.

People buy from brands they trust.

This is the Holy Grail for brands. Your target therefore is to develop and nurture that trust with the content you create. When you deliver valuable content to your target audience, they begin to trust your content and gradually they will begin to trust your brand.

Today, the role of a copywriter is quite similar to that of a journalist. Just writing a blog or two to answer your customers' questions is not enough. Your marketing team should start telling engaging and helpful stories. Think in terms of a newsroom, and apply the principles of journalism. Be true, use facts and figures, give clear industry insights with some cross-references and complete your content with a compelling beginning, middle, and conclusion.

An inbound marketer should adopt the qualities of a journalist to write compelling content that attracts readers' attention. Follow the rule of 5 Ws & 1H to create helpful and engaging content. The "how," done correctly, is your key to showcase your offerings. How does your product/service solve the customer's problem?

This is just an example, but don't use this opportunity only to sell. This part of your content should explain "how" your buyer personas fit in the story. Make the "how" about them, not about your products/services.

When we say shift your focus from marketing to journalism, we also mean that the content should be focused on what is happening around you. The current events, industry trends and developments that are relevant and interesting to your target audience should play a crucial role in your content strategy. Inject a little personality into your content using relevant current headlines to get attention online. This is where you need to incorporate content curation into your marketing strategy.

Are you tracking your content ROI?

How do you know if the content was successful or not? Contrary to the popular belief, determining your content ROI is not an uphill battle. But the insights you will gain from it will surely help you to create compelling and valuable content in the future. Survey says around 21% percentof B2C marketers fail to track their content ROI.

You already have the tools at your disposal to track the numbers. You just need to understand the role your content plays in building customer relationships and model it properly to enhance customer engagement and loyalty. Eventually, content of that sort improves your conversion rates.

Related: Why ROI is, Literally, the Last Metric for Evaluating Your Content-Marketing Plan

Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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