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It Pays to Be Nice: How to Create Must-Read Content

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 25/02/2016 Ian Mills
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Are you spending countless hours clacking away at your keyboard, publishing blog posts and articles and getting nothing in response except the sound of crickets? Here are a few tricks of the trade to help you to create content that your customers will be clamoring to read.
It's All About Them
The number one rule for creating great business content is to keep your audience in mind at all times. Your content is for them, not you. It should speak to their interests, their needs and their lives.
You should speak to them about topics they genuinely care about and at a level that matches their knowledge. This is especially true if you are an expert in your niche. It's unlikely that your customers are also experts -- otherwise why would they need you? Provide them with content that is easy for them to understand, and tackle complicated or specialist topics in a way that educates rather than confuses them.
Be wary about using your blog as a platform to share sophisticated opinions or theories. It is far better to seek a more suitable home on which to publish this type of thought leadership content such as respected industry websites or editorial publications.
Solve a Problem
Make your content as helpful as possible, with a particular emphasis on practical tips. What tips can you share? How can you help your readers to tackle an issue they are experiencing?
Consider creating tutorials, guides, lists of resources and best practices that help your customers to solve a specific problem. This type of content not only paints you in a positive light but is more likely to be found, liked and shared in both search and social.
When researching ideas for topics, check the top terms used in your internal site search to discover what people are looking for.
You can also use Google's Keyword Planner to get the average monthly search volume for phrases relating to help in your niche.

  • Log in to Keyword Planner
  • Click on "Search for new keywords"
  • Enter a list of key phrases that combine common question stems such as "how to", "what", "how do I", "help" and a keyword from your niche
  • Browse the results to find phrases that a significant people search for help on

Once you have identified some frequently asked questions, create content that gives clear and thorough answers, tips and help.
Offer Advice
While problem solving content offers tactical, step by step answers to specific questions, advice articles are more free form and strategic in nature.
Build trust with your readers by extending the help you offer with expert advice and guidance. The key difference between writing your opinion and offering genuinely helpful advice is to think about things from your customers' point of view and not your own.
Topics that seem obvious to you may be challenging for your customers. They probably lack your experience, training and tools to tackle issues that may seem like child's play to you.
Have a clear idea of the purpose of your content and who it is written for before creating a single word to make sure your content is focused. You will often find that one topic can be used to create a variety of different types of content.
Lastly, ask your audience about what challenges they face and would like help with. This is the number one way to ensure that you invest your time and energy in creating content that people will love.

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