Talking Content Marketing – With Henneke Duistermaat
Talking Content Marketing welcomes another marketer who ensures that content creation is compelling for an audience.
Henneke Duistermaat is owner of Enchanting Marketing and an irreverent marketer and writing coach on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook. Henneke teaches business owners how to write seductive content so they can win more business.
She is also a regular contributor to Copyblogger and has written two 5-star rated books about copywriting and blogging for business.
Lets look deeper at the art of producing successful content.
Is connecting on an emotional level (to build a dialogue) the only way to be compelling to others?
Yes, by joining the conversation already going on in our reader’s mind, we make our reader feel we’ve written content specifically for him. One of the most effective ways to write an opening paragraph for a blog post is to mention a problem a reader is struggling with, make him feel we understand his struggle and promise a solution in the post.
By promising a reader a “sunny destination” where his problem is solved, we pull him into reading our content. Of course, we then need to deliver our promise and inspire our readers to take action and to solve their problem.
Demian Farnworth mentioned to spend at least a third of the time on the right headline for a post. Is the headline the crux to the success of an article?
The amount of time may vary depending on how much experience you have in writing headlines. But writing good blog post titles is essential, because you can’t stand out in social media streams without a good headline. Don’t settle for the first headline that comes up in your mind, try to write a dozen or two dozen headlines and pick the best.
I recommend a simple 3-step process:
- Decide which specific benefit your post will offer—for instance: learning how to write is generic, learning how to write product descriptions that boost sales is specific
- Use a proven headline template—list posts and how-to headlines are some of the most popular, so you could have a headline like: How to Write Product Descriptions That Boost Sales or 9 Tips for Writing Product Descriptions That Boost Sales.
- As a last step, add a few power words to attract attention to your headline. For instance: 9 Tips For Writing Product Descriptions that Seduce Buyers.
N.B. Why not check out Henneke’s Slidedeck on writing blog post titles:
You mention that blogging is like growing tomatoes. Do many people (and businesses) start off with gusto and then don’t give enough attention for a good harvest ie. they give up too soon if it doesn’t produce immediate results?
Growing a blog can be tough. Writing good content isn’t enough, you also have to build an audience using email marketing, social media or search engine optimisation. You have to think as a publisher and promote your content.
People might give up because they lose their drive and motivation—this may be because they’re writing about something they’re not passionate about or because they don’t have the right strategy in place.
A blog plan has to include:
- a clear description of the target audience—I like using an ideal reader profile because it helps to make your writing more conversational
- a blog purpose explaining why your ideal reader loves read your blog—how does he benefit?
- an editorial calendar or a list of topics that your ideal reader would love to read
- a blog promotion plan—how are people in your target audience going to find your blog? And how will you engage them so they’ll come back again and again?
When you write for your readers, you’ll build your authority and you earn an opportunity to sell.
Should business take more of an approach to be open and take a ‘lets talk about it’ approach, rather than lecture with a ‘I talk, you listen’ mindset?
Everyone tells us to build authority. But authority is rather dull, reminding me of dusty professors and boring text books. Devoid of personality.
If you want to connect with your readers you shouldn’t be authoritative at all times. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal. Make a little fun of yourself. Or perhaps admit your fears, failures, or weaknesses. Engage your readers.
Think about your best friends or favourite colleagues. You enjoy having a chat with them because they can talk about more than their specialism. My readers know I love cycling, drawing and good food. By sharing snippets of my life, I change from a one-dimensional writer into a more interesting personality. I like to think of my blog as a warm and welcoming restaurant where readers come not just for a snack and a drink, but also for a chat with me.
How important is it for businesses to have a clear call to action on the content they create?
It depends on the type of content.
A landing page always has one specific call to action, such as buy now or download now. Most web pages, such as an About page or a Home page, have a number of clear actions that people could take.
Social media content, like a tweet or a post on Google Plus, usually encourages a reader to click through to read content on a blog.
Occasionally a blog post may feature a sales pitch, but in most cases a blog post is written to educate and inspire an audience. If you want to build true authority, you shouldn’t simply share your advice, you should also get people to follow your advice.
Use your final paragraph to inspire your reader to take action and implement your tips. Give your readers a pep talk, overcome his fears to take action, or simply remind him of the benefits of implementing your advice.
And, of course, make sure that you have prominent email sign-up forms on your blog, because the magic happens when people sign up to read your blog week in week out. That’s how you build a relationship and earn an opportunity to sell.
What type of articles become a complete turn-off for an audience?
An audience can switch off for many reasons. Poor editing is one—too many articles ramble on and on, wasting reader’s time. Consider what’s required to communicate your core message and ruthlessly cut each paragraph and each sentence that doesn’t contribute. And make sure that your design promotes readability. Too often I see small fonts in dense blocks of text. Use white space to let your reader effortlessly glide through your content.
Self-centred content is another big turn-off. It’s easy to think I know this so let’s share this. But why would your audience read your post? What value to you offer in return for the precious time it takes to read your content?
Write for your readers. Engage them. Because that’s how you grow your audience and win more business.
Huge thanks to Henneke for her advice and points to consider when applying to the content you create. Why not connect and have a look at Henneke’s world:
Henneke’s blog: click here
Henneke on Twitter: click here
Henneke on Google+: click here