This post is the second in the 6-part series “How to Create Bite-Sized Content Your Readers Will Devour and Share.” Click here to see the first post, “6 Steps to Instantly Connect With Your Blog Readers.”
In the last post, I showed you how to engage readers by building instant rapport–a quick, friendly sense of connectedness.
Once you successfully strike that personal chord with your readers, you’ve hooked them. But have you hooked them for good?
The next challenge in creating bite-sized, accessible content your readers will devour and share is to back up the rapport with value and relevance.
If you don’t give them what they want—and actionable, empowering information to boot—that instant rapport won’t stick.
Here’s how to get and stay relevant, in 5 practical steps.
RULE #2: CREATE RELEVANCE
You can’t be everything to everyone. What’s engaging, valuable, shareable, irresistible and even empowering to your readers may not be all (or any) of those things to someone else’s audience.
In other words, relevance is relative.
So the first step toward achieving relevance is NOT, “How do I do it all?” It’s, “How do I hit the right notes and deliver the essentials MY audience wants?”
STEP #1: Identify WHO your audience is to uncover WHAT they want.
If you can’t be everything to everyone, then the next most valuable way to approach your content strategy is the exact opposite: get laser-focused. Deliver ONLY what your target audience wants and needs.
Sometimes, I start thinking to myself, “My peers and colleagues are going to think this blog post is ridiculous. This has all been said before. It isn’t new and it’s not ‘high-level’ enough!”
But you’re not writing for your peers. You’re writing for your ideal audience. And they NEED your knowledge and skills to help them move forward.
Take me, for example. I’m not writing for the social media big shots. I’m writing for you—the person with a great business or project who wants to take their social media strategy to the next level.
You don’t eat, sleep and breathe social media – that’s my job! So with that, it’s my job to give you all the best of the best info to help you succeed.
STEP #2: Get inspired.
Really remarkable people are inspired on all levels. They step outside their niche, seeking exposure to ideas and real-life situations that challenge their own ways of thinking.
Doing so stokes your creativity and keeps you on your toes.
I’ll give you a funny example. You’ll probably laugh at me, but it works: I love watching “Real Housewives of New York.” Yes, it’s trashy, but the show almost always gives me a funny idea or two to use in a new post.
When your head’s down and you’re only thinking of real estate, your yoga studio or whatever it is you do, you stifle yourself. It gets harder and harder to come up with valuable content.
So go out. Turn on the TV. Grab coffee somewhere new. Do whatever it takes to stay inspired—so you can inspire others.
CASE STUDY: Workshifting.com
Workshifting is one of my favorite websites. It’s all about teleworking, and how in a mobile world, we’re empowered to work anywhere we want.
Here’s the clincher: Citrix, a major company, owns the site—but you really can’t tell. There’s no need for them to tell. By focusing on delivering high-impact, relevant content, they take the focus OFF of the company—and put it ON you!
This is powerful. If your business runs a blog, and you’re struggling to bring traffic to it, you’re probably forgetting the most important tenet of relevance: it’s determined by the READER, not you.
If your blog is focusing too much on the business or niche itself, you’re not relevant to them—you’re relevant to YOU.
STEP #3: Plan, don’t panic.
The speed of social media has conditioned us all to think that relevance is just as important as continuous, super-fast updating.
While it’s true that a regularly-updated blog packs more punch than one that idles, delivering irrelevant content isn’t going to bring readers back!
I try to blog once a week myself. When my posting day comes around, I sometimes start panicking. “Oh my gosh, tomorrow’s the day I have to post. I better get something up fast!”
But as soon as you start thinking that way, you’re making VALUE and RELEVANCE secondary to speed and anxiety.
Getting it done counts for a lot, but genuine, authentic meaning takes some thought. Plan your posts in advance so you can deliver meaningful content.
The best experts provide tangible evidence to emphasize the purpose of what they write about.
If you need more meat, try giving your audience stats. (Infographics are even better.) Cite solid research. Or interview some experts, and introduce a new perspective!
Before you hit “publish,” ask yourself:
- Did I include statistics or numbers?
- Did I include research or expert quotes?
Or another way to look at it is to ask, “Is my post meaty enough?”
The minute you put some real meat into your post is when a “good enough” post comes to life and gains real viral potential.
For an incredible example of a VERY meaty post in action, check out Kipp Bodnar’s “The Ultimate List: 100+ Facebook Statistics [Infographics]” with over 100 infographics chock-full of information about Facebook users.
STEP #5: eCube It.
This is a technique I learned when I worked with Tony Robbins. Whenever we wrote a piece of content, or put together a product or program, we had to eCube it first: make sure that it ENTERTAINED, EDUCATED and EMPOWERED our audience.
That sounds like a lot to do in a 300 or 400-word post, but it doesn’t have to be. Try it:
- Entertain with a personal story or anecdote.
- Educate with the “meat”–giving your readers the purpose, or the “why” behind your content.
- Empower your readers with a single lesson, action or takeaway. If you follow up great, relevant content with a way to make it work, you’ve EMPOWERED your audience to act!
CASE STUDY: Vistage International
Vistage International is a leadership organization that serves as a kind of think tank for its chief executive members.
What I love about Vistage is how forward-thinking they are. They’re always asking, “What can we do to make our social media strategy better?”
At first, Vistage wrote blog posts via their “Executive Street” blog with calls to action like, “Hey you guys, you need to be ahead of your trends.”
The thing is…their audience already knows that.
The Vistage team out their heads together and decided to initiate a relevance shift. Rather than state the obvious and say, “You should stay ahead of trends,” Vistage started giving advice such as, “Consistently following Inc. magazine will help you stay ahead of the trends.”
The difference? They now give the audience a tangible way to achieve what they already KNEW they wanted to do.
Are You Ready to Get Relevant? < If you're ready to start producing relevant, shareable content, get started with this simple list. It summarizes all 5 steps above:
- Give them information they can use.
- Stay inspired and inspiring.
- Don’t panic—plan.
- Fatten up your posts with meaty stats, quotes and info.
- And most important: entertain, educate and empower.
Have you used any of these techniques? I’d love to hear your story. Share your case study in the comments!