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5 Kinds of Content That Pulls Readers In

Content marketing is more important than ever. Emails, blog posts, social media posts, web page content and downloads are all helping to grow all kinds of businesses. But generating leads and then customers takes content that pulls people in. The important thing is to write like you're talking to another human being. Here are five kinds of content that do just that.

1. Content That's Relevant. Know who your content is for, meaning understand your audience's desires and needs. Then write in a way that addresses how you fulfill those desires and meet those needs. Find out where your targets hang out online and what they search for. Best of all, collect as many of their email addresses as you can, because email still gets the highest rate of response of any online marketing tool.

2. Content That Sounds Honest. If your content sounds honest and well-balanced, people will be more willing to trust you. Nobody wants to be marketed to. A great example of honest content is providing links to expert opinions and customer reviews on third party sites. When you're not the one saying how great you are, it's a lot more convincing. If you don't have online opinions and reviews available, the next best thing is including customer quotes. Naming the source is best, but first get permission.

3. Content That Presents Evidence. When talking about the benefits of working with you, present hard proof. Your content arsenal should include some solid case studies of what you've done for people in key segments of your business. Show the reader how someone else with similar challenges used you to reach their goals. Again, try to get permission to use the customer's name, but if you can't, an anonymous case study is better than none. Also use overall performance benchmarks if you can. These can be based on how much money you saved customers overall, or where you rank in terms of sales volume or some other measure.

4. Content That Has Value, With No Strings Attached. Always think of your content as something that gives value to your audience. Information, insights, advice and help are what people want. Give those things freely, no strings attached, and you'll be amazed at the response.

5. Content That's Free of Jargon and Highfalutin Language. Even when you're talking to other professionals familiar with your business, avoid using industry jargon. And don't make the mistake of thinking that sophisticated language makes you come off like an expert. It could just sound pretentious. The fact is, people don't have the time for complicated communications. They want content that's easy to understand. You'll do a better job getting your message across if it's friendly and accessible. Also, be concise - try for 150-300 words for an email, blog post or landing page; 300-600 words for an e-newsletter or secondary information page; up to 2,000 words for a download. Always KISS your content: Keep It Simple and Short!

All these approaches can result in content that gets read and, most importantly, wins people over. Here's to your continued success building content and customers, as you keep putting together your best year ever... Enjoy a great month!