attention grabbing content

Stop creating content, here’s why…

attention grabbing content

Question; what do a gun, a 3 year old child and the phone ringing at 3.30 am all have in common?
Answer; Nothing beats them for getting your attention and making you take action.

OK, so you’re not going to employ a toddler to sell for you and any salesman walking around with a gun in his briefcase is either working for Smith and Weston or in need of a hug. We’d also not recommend cold calling prospects at 3:30 am either, unless you are selling insomnia medication… on second thoughts…

The point I’m making (with a sledgehammer) is, no one sets out to read/interact/inwardly digest “Content”. The latest Star Wars movie could be described dispassionately as “Content”, well then so is a parking ticket and I know which one I would prefer to experience. “Content marketing” is now the magic catch-all to replace the deposed king of traffic generation “SEO”. Content  is being created for the sole purpose of feeding the ever hungry mouth of Google and its algorithm in the hope that it finds readers. Fresh content is the mantra espoused by online marketing “Gurus”, and they have a point, our own (free) website marketing training course urges business owners to blog regularly.

We urge our customers to add new “content” to their websites and after a lengthy talk with one of our longer term customers who was having difficulty sticking to a publishing schedule I had a sudden realisation; if our customers are all too busy to create “content”, then THEIR customers may be too busy to “consume” that content. Why bother building content that no-one reads, because even if Google comes and takes a look if there’s zero interest in that content it is unlikely to index it highly for relevant keywords. Content requires interaction, comments, sharing and scrolling to be considered worthy of a highly ranked position in the search results.

Think of it like this; you own a restaurant, and despite the fact it is empty you keep telling your chef to cook “food” in the off chance that someone passing may be hungry. You serve up dish after dish and most of it languishes on the “pass”, eventually being consigned to the slops bin. No one come sin, eats or even leaves a review, how successful is your restaurant? Sure it is busy in the kitchen, but the dining room? #crickets…

I’d like to see the traffic stats for a lot of the so-called content that is generated by local businesses. How much time, money and effort goes into creating, publishing and circulating this content? What measurable uplift does it have? Are you gaining traction or wasting time? Who’s actually reading it and is it increasing conversions and sales?

The better model is the “cook-on-demand” model favoured by the majority of Restaurants. Get people in, and serve them what they want. Why cook anything unless it is in demand? But I realise that with any website you cannot create content “on demand”, visitors are not going to arrive at your website and say; “Hey can you write/shoot/build a piece of content for me that says or does X/Y/Z?”, the content has to be created and then indexed and shared before it generates traffic.

So how to break the catch 22 situation? How do you grab your target market’s attention with content they want?

We have to look at an industry that has the EXACT problem in the real-world as you do online: magazines…

Firstly, all magazines know who their audience is and you too HAVE to know who your target market is. Go stand in the magazine section of your nearest newsagent, all of the magazines have a clear message of who their readership is. Angling Times, TV Choice and Slimming World all tell you with just their title who they are aimed at. Their content is suitably themed around their readership and is based on the seasonal interests of those readers. That content then allows the publisher to sell advertising space to businesses who have a target market that is the same as that content. If the content didn’t grab the right target market’s attention then the whole house of cards falls apart.

This is EXACTLY how your blog should be structured, have useful and interesting articles that appear to your core target market. Way too many blogs out there generating “content” in the off chance it might be useful or read. You need to create attention grabbing content and attention grabbing content is not dull, lengthy and boring!

Look at a specialist magazine, the content isn’t ALL the same, there are long articles, feature articles, interviews, news articles, small snippets, regular and repeating items, lists, full centre page spreads etc.

Go find the magazine that best fits with your target market and see what they use to draw their attention; go here and scroll about halfway down to see a list of UK magazines by circulation:

The number one magazine on the list? It’s… Well go see, guarantee it’ll surprise you. The top business magazine is “The Economist”, but few truly business orientated magazines make it onto the list. Take a look at your industry’s press, or that of another industry, sector or niche. What content do they use to attract attention?

Your business content needs to focus on grabbing the attention of your very core target market, of understanding what their “hot topics” are and how to underline and highlight the main problems they face in new and interesting ways.

Our experience is that a LOT of businesses do not understand who their target market is and therefore create generic, wish-washy content that tries to appeal to everyone and ends up failing to grab anyone’s attention.

So here’s your blogging checklist
1) Who are your core target market?
2) What are their hot buttons?
3) Can you help them overcome an issue?
4) Does your blog post offer value in a short and easy to understand way?
5) How many other blog posts on this topic are their already (Google search) and do you need to write another “me too” piece?
6) What will grab their attention, relevant to your business?

So… if you had 10 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention how would you do it? Answers below!

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About Stuart Morrison

Stu Morrison's background in marketing, entertainment and web development has fused him into a guy thirsty for results in marketing. His regular talks on marketing and web conversion help others to gain more revenue from their websites. He also has a big moustache.