There is always lots of advice out there about writing and marketing your blog now that blogs have become a necessity for every small business. They’re fairly simple to put together and the turnaround for blog posts is usually pretty quick, not to mention the benefits are great. When you think about all those things together, it makes sense why blogging is so popular. However, just because a blog post might seem more convenient doesn’t mean it’s the only form of content you should be creating.
Developing content that isn’t a blog post—white papers, Ebooks, training courses, etc.—also lends itself to needing a little bit of advice. In order to take your business to the next level, it’s important to have a set plan in place for developing this other type of content.
Understanding Your Other Content Options and How to Get Started
Developing content refers to not only writing the content, but also actually putting it into action on the right platforms and marketing that content. There are tons of different types of content you can create, but below are just some of the most popular along with some advice for how to get started:
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- Avoid a sales pitch. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is they throw in a little sales pitch in order to help further their company. Remember that the idea of a white paper is to answer questions your audiences asks.
- Be conversational. A white paper sometimes seems more formal than a blog post or something you would put on your website, but it doesn’t have to be. A conversation tone helps establish trust and show that you’re a real person dealing with some of the same real issues as your readers.
- Always have facts backing up your opinions. This seems obvious no matter what content you’re writing, but a white paper often has more facts and claims than other types of writing. You are going to want reliable sources and statistics to back up whatever it is you’re trying to say.
- Work with other experts. Do some of your research by talking to the experts on that topic. This will help give you the backup you need for your claims and clarify any questions you may have.
- Do you really want to call it a white paper? Depending on your industry, the term “white paper” isn’t always valued and is something people avoid. If you think your white paper would fall into this category, call it something like “special report.”
- Length matters. I typically recommend keeping your eBook between 10-20 pages because that’s still long enough to give more information than a blog post or an article, but it’s short enough to be able to offer those who subscribe to your site the eBook for free. A book closer to 30 pages always works better to sell (through Kindle or another eReader), and anything longer works well for a higher price (such as a training book or courses).
- You may have to give it away for free. If you’re planning on writing a small eBook, expect to give it away for free. eBooks are a great way to establish credibility and use as a gift for those who work with you or want to learn more. In other words, don’t create an eBook for the money.
- Content should be informative. Once again, eBook content is not supposed to be a sales pitch. You want to write something your readers are asking for, so take a look at your blog comments and other topics being written about in your industry and see if you can take things one step further in an eBook.
- Take advantage of downloads. Everyone who downloads your eBook or purchases that eBook is a potential customer. Keep track and have a system in place for reaching out to those reading your eBook about how you can help further.
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- Use personal stories. When creating any type of training course, you shouldn’t just draw on your personal experiences but actually use them as examples. You should of course never use any specific names, but let those reading your training course know that you went through everything you’re discussing and give them specifics as to how you solved the problem.
- Step-by-Step lists are ideal. Whenever you’re learning how to do something, a step-by-step list is incredibly helpful. Try to use this format in your writing so that people can follow your training courses as best they can.
- Chapters are helpful. This depends upon what you are trying to train someone to do, but in the majority of cases having different chapters of your guide is helpful. Sometimes going step-by-step gets confusing because there are so many different factors or possible situations, so chapters help keep things organized.
- Include printable handouts. Oftentimes a manager is going to want to give this step-by-step list to employees. Include sections that employers can print out to make it easier for them and make your training course more valuable.
- Your content should be specific. The point of an infographic is to make a complicated or boring topic easier to understand. This means you don’t want to spend the time creating an infographic on a very general topic. You want to think specific and really get down to the details.
- Your graphs and charts should make things easy to understand. An infographic is not about getting as much information out there as you can on a topic. Only use graphs if they make things easier to understand. If not, then avoid the chart altogether.
- Be careful with your scaling. A lot of times infographics reference data, so it’s important if you scale any of this data on a graph or even in your content you keep it consistent throughout.
There is much more detail that can be added to all of these different categories, so I recommend checking out any of the articles mentioned above if you need a deeper look. There are also certainly other types of content that are not blog posts that need developing, so let us know some of your favorites and your tricks in the comments below!
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