How to Create Content That Keeps People Coming Back [Content Marketing Podcast 233]
Sure, content marketing is great for SEO, but the real magic happens when your audience starts coming back to you again and again. Today we’ve got 6 insightful tips for creating content that builds fiercely loyal audiences.
Welcome to Episode 233 of the Content Marketing Podcast!
Today we’re talking about how to create content that not only attracts one-off visits from search, but keeps the people in your audience coming back again and again.
Give today’s episode a listen to hear:
- How to grab your copy of our complimentary e-book “Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging“
- Our latest News Feed segment:
- Instagram Stories reaches 250 million users, adds Live Video replays
- Time Warner to create exclusive content for Snapchat
- Content Hit of the Week: “How to Write Email Newsletters People Want to Open and Act On” by Sujan Patel on the Content Marketing Institute website
- Why content marketing is great for search … and why that’s not enough
- Why it’s so important to create content that makes people want to come back again and again
- 6 keys to creating content that will help you build a fiercely loyal audience
- Tip of the Week: The #1 reason clients fire me, and how it can sabotage your success
Please remember that this podcast is about you — your questions, your frustrations, your hopes and dreams for your content marketing program. So please take a moment to send me your feedback, questions, or comments via email, on our Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Today’s Podcast Transcript
June 29, 2017
This is the Content Marketing Podcast, episode number 233: How to Create Content That Keeps People Coming Back
Hello, and welcome to the Content Marketing Podcast. This is the show where we help you grow your tribe and your bottom line through insanely good content. I am your host, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing, and today is June 29, 2017.
Hello, hello, or as we say in Texas, “howdy,” and thank you for joining us for today’s episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. Just a reminder: This podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music, so if you like what you hear, please feel free to click on over and subscribe.
I also invite you to download our complimentary e-book, Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging. Download today to learn the secrets to a B2B blog that will enchant your customers … and leave your competitors green with envy. To snag your free copy, go to contentmarketinggift.com.
I know it’s only June, very soon to be July, but Content Marketing World will be here before we know it, and this year, guess who is going to be there as a moderator? That’s right: yours truly. The good folks at Content Marketing Institute have invited me to come on up and moderate one of their tracks — don’t know which track as yet, but I know it’s going to be fabulous.
As always it’s in Cleveland, Ohio, and this year’s event is scheduled for September 5th-8th. For my peeps in the States, that is the week after Labor Day, so it starts on the evening of the Tuesday after Labor Day and goes through that Friday. I was just talking to the Content Marketing Institute folks and apparently hotels are already starting to fill up, so if you want to go, this is the time to register, and this is the time to make those travel arrangements.
To learn more and grab your spot today, go to contentmarketingworld.com, and if you’re planning on being there, please toss me a tweet at @rachparker — let’s connect and coordinate, and maybe we can grab coffee during a break.
Last week’s episode was for my friends in the healthcare field — we looked at some new research on the state of healthcare content marketing in 2017. If you happened to miss that episode, feel free to check it out on iTunes or via the RSS feed, or on Google Play Music.
Today we are talking about audiences — specifically, how to create irresistible content that keeps the people in your audience coming back again, and again, and again for more.
But first, it’s time to check in with our News Feed for this week’s rundown of news you can use.
Oh goodness — the arms race between Instagram and Snapchat continues.
Instagram has announced that Stories – which is its “Snapchat killer,” not really in quotes because it’s winning so far Stories — now boasts 250 million daily active users. Just to give you an idea of how quickly Instagram Stories has grown, that is up from 200 million in April, 150 million in January and 100 million in October 2016. Keep in mind, Instagram Stories just launched in August 2016, so absolutely astounding growth for Instagram Stories.
Instagram has also announced that you are now able to share live video replays to Instagram Stories for 24 hours, and the way that works is when you do your Instagram Live Video, there will be a new Share button found at the bottom of the screen, and you can share that replay with people who follow your Story. I’m not too sure about Instagram Live video; I’m not hearing a lot of buzz around it. Just about everyone I know who is doing live video is doing Facebook Live, so I don’t know where Instagram Live Video is going. I don’t know — we’ll have to see.
On the other side of the battle lines are Snapchat and Time Warner — that is the media and entertainment company — who recently announced a $100 million deal with Snapchat that will include original made for Snapchat programming over the next two years. Programs will include scripted dramas, daily new shows, comedy and more.
It will be interesting to see how this develops if this programming will be able to lure users back to Snapchat. A lot of people have left Snapchat and defected to Instagram Stories. So will this be enough to lure people back? We will have to see.
Our Content Hit of the Week:
This week’s Hit is a post called “How to Write Email Newsletters People Want to Open and Act On.” This is a great post by Sujan Patel over at the Content Marketing Institute website.
You know, e-newsletters are not getting a lot of love lately. You’re not hearing a lot of buzz about them, people are enamored with things like Instagram Stories and Live Video, but it’s important that email stays on our Radar, because as Sujan points out, the average open rate for marketing email across all industries is around 24 percent — which is darned good — and the average click-through rate is around 4 percent. Now that doesn’t sound like much but that click through rate beats the pants off what we’re seeing for Google Ads, and also from social ads.
So we need to give our e-newsletters some love. People like them, people are opening them, and people are reacting to them. He then goes on to share nine tips for creating emails that people look forward to receiving, reading, and responding to. You know just last week I got another inquiry from someone asking about my services (and they actually did wind up booking a project with us), and that email, when I got her email, and her message in there, as I scrolled down it was a reply to my e-newsletter.
So she had a need, my e-newsletter popped across her radar and she just responded to it, and that happens so often — I cannot tell you how often that happens. So we need to respect email, we need to keep email as an important part of our content marketing strategies, and we need to keep those e-newsletters flowing.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this post by Sujan, and I will, of course, include a link for in the blog post for this episode at resonancecontent.com/podcast. (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/06/how-write-email-newsletters/)
That’s it for this week’s update — if you stumble across something you think might be of interest to your fellow content marketers, please tweet it to me at @rachparker so that we can share. Now it’s time for this week’s spotlight segment: How to Create Content That Keeps People Coming Back.
When new clients contact me about getting their content marketing rolling, especially at those very early stages, there is a lot of focus on search. They say okay we want to start a content marketing program because we want to get more search traffic, we want to start popping up in Google searches, we want to get those people at the top of the funnel level and improve our traffic, and improve our SEO … Absolutely that is completely important, I agree with that whole heartedly, but it’s not the whole story.
Yes, that’s important, but the real magic of content marketing comes up when people come back to you again and again — whether that’s reading your blog, reading your e-newsletters, watching your videos, listening to your podcasts, interacting with your social content.
Think about it — if you create content that attracts search and that’s all it does, then you’re just getting one hit. You’re just getting one touch point, so — Say you’re a landscaping company, and someone, a potential client is searching for advice on the web or what to plant in Texas in July, and you’ve delivered some content on that topic, they find it, they read it, they appreciate it, they take your advice. But you’ve only delivered one solution to one person’s problem. That’s great, but it’s not likely to lead to conversion.
By the way, I can answer that question — what to plant in Texas in July? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! It is hotter than the surface of hell here or the surface of the Sun, so stay inside you silly person. So, there, you’re welcome.
But I digress. We’re talking about how that search — that search hit in itself is not likely to lead to conversion. So what does? Well in sales, we talk about touchpoints. One interaction is not likely to lead to a sale, and in content marketing that is absolutely the case, someone is not going to see that great blog post and say wow! Where do I make this $25,000 check out to? It’s just not going to happen. It’s a series of touch points; people need to get to know you, they need to like you, and they need to trust you before they even enter into a sales conversation.
So if we’re going to create those touch points, we’ve got to start creating content that people want to come back for. We need to start publishing things that make people want to engage with us again, and again, and again, and again. Whether that is through emails, social media, the blog, the website, wherever we’re creating that content, we want to make those relationships sticky so that when people do have the need, our brand is the first one that pops up in their mind. I’ve heard it takes anywhere from 7 to 20 touchpoints to make a sale.
So, how do we do that? I’ve got 6 tips for you. 5 and then I came up with an additional one, how about that?
- The first key that makes people want to come back is: Make an unshakeable Commitment to quality. You’re not going to get people coming back to your content with $25 blog posts. I hate to tell you, folks, now will you get search traffic, yeah, yeah you will, I mean, you’ve got those key words stuffed in there, and you’ve got your 500 words, or your 400 words, and will Google latch onto it? Yeah, probably somewhere in the search rankings, maybe not at the top, but you’ll probably get some search love from those cheaper blog posts that are not actually written for human beings, but it’s not going to make people want to come back to you. It’s not going to make people say “Oh! I wonder what XYZ Company is posting on their blog this week.” “I wonder what they have to say about this issue”, or “I have this question, I wonder if my friends over at XYZ Company have published something about it?” or they see your post coming up in their Facebook feed and they say “Oh wow! They always publish great stuff I’m going to check that out.” That’s what keeps people coming back.
I have talked to clients over and over again — they see what good quality content costs and they say “No thanks, we’re paying $25 a blog post and we’re happy, you know we’re getting traffic, we’re getting some traction there, in terms of search so we’re good.” I’m like, well you’re really not, but okay, I mean you’re getting that search traffic but what is it doing for building a loyal audience, that is going to lead to conversions down the road?
So that is key number 1, absolutely make a steadfast commitment to quality, and stick to it, okay I know it’s hard, I know most of you guys are working on 1-, 2-, 3-person teams that have to handle everything, including product launches, new websites, and sales materials, I know you guys are doing it all, but that commitment to quality is what is going to keep people coming back to you, so make a commitment and stick with it, and I promise you, you will see results.
2. The second key to content to have people coming back is: Have a mission. I see people’s blogs and they are just kind of meandering around and they are covering basically a family of topics that might be of interest to someone, but I don’t get a sense of mission.
My mission, for example, is to share simple, practical content marketing advice for the down-in-the-trenches practitioner. I don’t spend a lot of time pontificating about well, what if Facebook buys Snapchat? And how is this leverage buy out going to plan out? I don’t really look at those big picture topics; there are many who do, and they do a great job, and I love hearing what they have to say about these issues. But I’m a practical girl I want to give you more tools in your tool bag to be a really kick ass content marketer, and that has helped me build a loyal audience. So if you have not already — and that mission should be a part of your strategy process — but if you haven’t already, sit down and think about what is your mission? What do you want your audience to walk away with after interacting with your content? What do you want to give them? And then make that a part of everything you do. It’s not something you ever have to express to everyone, saying “Our mission is blah, blah, blah,” but it’s something so important to have in mind and to share with your team, and to make sure that everybody is on the right page because that is going to let people know what they can expect from you and why you have their best interests at heart. So that is number 2.
3. The third key to creating content people will want to come back for is: Be consistent. I talk about consistency so often with my clients, what does that mean?
Consistency in timing — oh my gosh — people say, “Well we just want to come up with a blog post when we have something to say.” That’s great that you don’t want to write something for the sake of writing something, when you don’t have anything to say, but if people see one month, one blog post, next month three blog posts, next month twice a week, because you were feeling chatty, then that’s not going to inspire the confidence. That’s not going to keep them coming back. It makes you look a little flaky, maybe flaky is too harsh, but you’re not looking totally committed to your content, and if people don’t see you as committed to your content, then why should they trust it, and why should they engage with it, and keep coming back to it? So consistency in timing, absolutely.
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Consistency in approach — Be consistent in your formatting. For example this podcast, not all episodes are identical, some are longer, some are shorter, sometimes I do interviews, sometimes it’s just me like today, but every podcast starts with the same opening, every podcast has the same intro and outro music, every podcast has the same stingers, which are those little musical blurbs that you hear in between segments, and that is consistent week, after week, after week. That is all part of the experience that lets people get to know you, and makes people want to trust you, because you are consistent in that approach.
Consistency in branding — Then finally be consistent in branding. Make sure that every newsletter is branded, make sure that if you’re creating, for example, images to share on social media with quotes or statistics or quick tips, make sure those are branded. Make sure that that branding is consistent across the board, because again if people are going to come back to your content they need to make sure that you are going to be consistent.
I mean think about — I was laughing with somebody the other day, we were talking about a Netflix series and what it takes to actually check out a Netflix series, and you’re like, “Well I don’t know, you know my friend said you were really great but I don’t know if I’m ready for a commitment.” You know what, if you committed to a Netflix series and one week was one way, one week was comedy, one week was drama, and then maybe you saw a new episode every three weeks, or you know instead of launching a season all at once it was inconsistent, then you wouldn’t really want to keep coming back to it, because as human beings we crave that consistent relationship. So if you are going to keep people coming back to your content, being consistent is absolutely key.
4. Key number four to creating content that keeps people coming back is: Have a distinct voice, and this is where so many brands fall off the beam. I’ve said over and over again, if we’re all out there trying to be “capital-P professional,” we’re all going to sound alike. If everything you put out there sounds like it’s been approved by six different PR committees and two different C-suite executives then people are not going to get excited about it, and if they’re not excited about it, they are not going to want to keep coming back.
So figure out what your voice is, I mean hey I am Gen X through and through, I’ve got snark running through my veins. People know when they tune into my content, they’re going to get a little snark and that’s okay, that’s okay, because I am the face of my brand and that’s my personality and that’s what infuses my brand. If you’re doing content for a larger organization then it’s a little bit more complex but really, you know you have a brand. You already have a brand. So what does that brand look like and sound like in your content? And what makes it distinct from everybody else out there, who is also producing content, in your field? If you haven’t already, take some time to figure out what your voice is going to be, and make sure that that voice infuses everything that you do.
5. The fifth key to creating content that keeps people coming back is to: Be memorable. Sometimes in entertainment you’ll hear about a hook, you’ll hear about something that makes people memorable, and I was thinking about — Oh my gosh! There was a beautiful model back in the 1970’s — her name was Lauren Hutton and if you’re of a certain age you may remember her, and she had a gap between her two front teeth. A little gap, not a huge gap, but she would never get it fixed because that’s what people remembered about her, and when people saw her no matter how airbrushed or what crazy stuff she was wearing, people always knew it was her, and it became part of her personal brand.
I know part of my personal brand, when I do my videos every Monday. I’ve always got dogs milling around in the background and people actually (laughs) sometimes people say to me “Oh man, I really love those dog videos that you do every Monday.” I always want to say, “You know there is content, there is marketing content to be had,” but I love that they remember the dogs, because that’s what makes it memorable.
So figure out what in your content is going to be memorable. Is it a certain practice? Is it a certain catch phrase that comes up over and over again? What is it that makes your content memorable? Because if it is memorable, people will remember it — hence the clever adjective there — but no it’s going to make people want to come back, they’ll say, oh that’s the lady with the dog videos, or those are the bloggers with great quotes, or whatever it is, whatever your hook is. Make sure that you know what your memorable piece is, what’s memorable about you, and that you rock it like there is no tomorrow. Or as I heard a speaker say recently “Drive like you stole it.” (laughs) I love that.
6. Finally tip number six for creating content that keeps people coming back is to get personal. Even if you’re creating content for an organization of thousands, if it’s a mega global corporation, your content still needs to be personal, so figure out how you can add a personal touch.
Sometimes brands will do employee takeovers, for example. One of my favorite B2B content marketers Maersk the shipping line; they have their employees submit Instagarm photos from all over the world. I mean they are a shipping company, so people are all over the world in exotic places and they share photos on Instagram. Sometimes it features the Maersk ship and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s fine, but people get to know those employees a little bit.
Or you can share voices from around the organization in your blog. One thing that I love about Southwest is that they feature their people in ways that are engaging, it’s not just oh, meet Sarah from accounting, she likes horseback riding blah, blah, blah, but they did something, this was a couple of years ago, but I happen to pop over to their blog and it happen to be National Roller Coaster Day. Okay one of these crazy days that nobody knows about until there they are, but the way they commemorated National Roller Coaster Day is they highlighted an employee who is a roller coaster enthusiast, and his mission in life is to ride every roller coaster on the planet. So they did a takeover where they just gave him that blog space to talk about his adventures and the craziest roller coasters, and the best and the worst, and some of his experiences, and it was a great way to add a personal touch to their blog, and to really get people engaged. It didn’t hurt that his story also involved travel, which happened to be their industry.
So figure out some creative ways to get personal. Sometimes brands would let certain people take over their Snapchat channel, and I think it was — gosh, was it Oracle? — it was one of the big tech companies, and they let one of their sales reps take over their Snapchat for a day and they said, “Okay, here is what my life is like. I’m going to Orlando, Florida today, here is from the plane, and here is what I’m doing, and here is what I’m doing, and here is how I prepare.” So no matter what industry you’re in, there are always creative ways to add a personal touch to your content. So it’s up to you as the marketer, as the content marketer, to figure out innovative and creative ways to do that.
So, if you’re looking to build up a fiercely loyal audience that returns to your content again and again, and builds the kind of relationships that can lead to revenue, these six tips are a good place to start. You want a recap? Here we go:
- Commit to quality
- Have a mission
- Be consistent
- Have a distinctive voice
- Be memorable
- Get personal
If you have any questions or want to add to the conversation, feel free to tweet me at @rachparker. Now it’s time for our Content Marketing Tip of the Week.
Tip of the Week
For today’s tip I want to share the No. 1 reason why clients fire me. Yes it does happen and 99% of the time, this is why:
As much time and effort I put into educating new clients, about what content marketing is, what it does, what it does not do, how long it takes to build up that audience, and to start seeing real ROI. There’s always one who, they say yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it, we get it, but there is always someone who, six months into starting a blog from scratch, tabula rasa, nothing there, six months later they say, well this isn’t working because we haven’t gotten any business from it, and then they end our relationship.
I just kind of shake my head, I wish them all the best, and I release them with love, but that’s the mindset. So there are two problems with what these folks are thinking.
First problem is they’re confusing content marketing with sales, or they are confusing marketing with sales. I will tell you folks, content marketing will not sell your product, never has, never will, it is not designed to. It’s like trying to use a Ferrari to haul a trailer. It’s just not designed to do that. What it does do is it engages people and draws them into a funnel that is designed to eventually lead to a sales conversation, but it will not close deals for you, and no matter how hard I try to set that up, and to explain to people at the outset, this is not going to sell for you, apparently sometimes I’m not able to get through and they think that content marketing is going to sell their products and services.
Second problem is they don’t understand content as a long-term investment. It’s not — you’re going to start a blog tomorrow and by next week you’re going to have 10,000 people beating down your door, asking for your products and services. That’s not how it works. It’s a long term investment, as I like to say it’s like the drop that splits the rock. If you have a rock and there is a drip of water that just drips on it hundreds of times a day, drip, drip, drip, drip, eventually that rock is going to split wide open. That is what content is, remember we talked about touchpoints a few minutes ago content is going to keep your brand in front of people in a positive space not in a salesy space, but in an authoritative and helpful space, so that when they do have a need your brand is foremost in their minds.
That is the number one reason people fire me, and when they do, I always try to find out in a diplomatic way, “‘doesn’t work’ compared to what?” If it doesn’t work, you don’t want to do it anymore, what are you going to do? Are you going to go back to your banner ads, with your 0.0000002 click-through rates; are you going to go back to cold calling? I mean if this doesn’t work then what does? And what are you going to do now? That’s a little bit of a soap box — I apologize but it makes me sad, because I’ve worked with a lot of companies, with a lot of potential and they just don’t see what content marketing could be doing for them.
It is so important for us to realize that content marketing (1) is not sales (2) is a marathon and not a sprint. Like I said it’s like a drip, drip, drip on that rock, and then if we are diligent and consistent eventually that rock will split wide open.
OK, campers, that’s it for me today — I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. By the way happy early 4th of July to all my peeps, in the States, hope you have a wonderful relaxing holiday.
If you like what you’ve heard today, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via our RSS feed. And if you REALLY like what you’ve heard, please leave us a quick review on iTunes. I would so appreciate it.
Also, if you want to learn more about content marketing, you’ll want to grab a copy of my book, The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and Win, which is available in book and Kindle format on Amazon. To learn more about the book and to download a free chapter, visit contentmarketingcoachbook.com.
As you know, I always like to leave you with a quote, and today’s comes from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He once said, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” And you know what I love most about that quote, it’s trying to do hard things — doesn’t mean you always succeed, but it does mean you’re always pushing your limits and trying to do those hard things well. Good stuff, Jeff.
Again, this is Rachel Parker with Resonance Content Marketing. Thank you again for listening and we will see you again next week. Take care!
Remember to snag your copy of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN! — now available on Amazon!
- Find out how to connect and convert with content marketing.
- Learn to cut through the clutter with intelligent content that resonates with your specific target audience.
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About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!