If your audience is yawning at their desks, or your organic inbound blog traffic is declining, it may be time to re-think how you’re creating content for your blog.

The internet is often called the great equalizer. Thanks to it, all of a sudden small businesses had a chance to reach out to their prospects who until recently, only their bigger competitors had access to. And if all the success stories about high school drop outs making it big online are any indication, the idea is working. Right?

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. When the internet permitted everyone to join the party, it also became that much overcrowded. Being heard in such a noisy place is really hard. So, just how do you get noticed? Shout louder? Nope. That will only get annoying. In fact, your audience is already bored to tears reading and watching the same thing over and over again.

Only 2 out of 10 people typically read beyond the headline of your post.

The best way to stand out in such a place and be heard is to be surprising, entertaining and informative. Let’s take a look at how to create content that has some flair (and how to create content that people will actually read).

What Ails Thee, Friend?

The first challenge of creating content that gets clicked, read and shared is to figure out your audience’s problems. Join the conversation online and try and figure out what issues they are facing as far as your product/service is concerned. Industry blog posts, forums, and social media are all great places to strike up a conversation with your prospects and clients. We touched on this in our previous post on content discovery.

Next, begin listing some of the issues that your audience are facing. However, there’s a catch. Chances are whatever you come across has already been talked about, a LOT! It’s hard, if not impossible to be totally original, after all, everything that could have been written has probably already been written. However, you can always add a different perspective on an existing issue.

So, if you are selling hair care products, you could, of course, write on the benefits of shampoo, which has probably been written at about a million times now. Instead, how about writing on 5 weird uses of shampoo this time? Now, you may find similar titles out there, but you can always recommend different uses to keep your content fresh.

Watch Your Tone

So, we have figured out what to say. But the way you say it will make all the difference in the world, too. It’s very important to create a voice for your brand that resonates with your prospects. When you are talking with your audience, try and note the voice, tone, and verbiage they converse in. For instance, a brand that sells pedicure kits will have a very different voice than from a brand that sells financial consulting services.

Also, every industry/niche will have a special “insider language” that will include idioms and phrases that only members will understand. When you use these phrases in your content, you will be better received by the people who are reading it.

Craft a Killer Title

Only 2 out of 10 people typically read beyond the headline of your post. To improve these odds, spend some time writing a great title. Some best practices for creating awesome titles…

  • Ask a question to coax a reader into reading to find out the answer.
  • Use numbers such as “6 Ways to…,” “5 Reasons Why…,” to generate curiosity.
  • You can also be bold and upfront, challenge the reader’s knowledge or ideas. But don’t be rude.
  • Be accurate in describing the content, and never — ever — overpromise!

The biggest catch in building a brand today is that most businesses are still stuck in the “advertising mind frame” of the yesteryears. Lighten up a little! To plaster ads all over the internet is to be like a salesman at a birthday party, going on and on about how great their products are. Digital media today responds best when it is treated as gathering of friends, family, and acquaintances, rather than just another sales channel. Instead of trying to sell to them, help them out and you should see a far better response rate!

Now that you know how to create content people will read, we’d love to help you apply these content creation best practices.

Contact us to learn how we can help your small business develop and execute an effective online marketing plan!