How to Build a Following with Content

Today’s Internet consumer is far more savvy with higher expectations. Never in the history of humankind have people been bombarded with so much content – more than they can ever hope to consume. This means your audience’s attention is extremely limited and the only way to capture your share of it is to deliver something of value – something that educates, informs or entertains your audience. Give them information/tools that help them achieve a goal that is important to them.

How to drive traffic to your content and create a following

  1. Stop procrastinating, start creating. So you’ve done tons of research about your audience, their preferred social media and their respective marketing channels, and you have a pretty good idea about what they like, what they dislike and what gaps there are in the market that you can fill. The next step is to actually do the work. Create the content to fill in those gaps and respond to the audience’s needs.
         However, if you’re anything like the majority, you will have doubts; a dash of imposter syndrome; you’ll lose motivation and that leads to procrastination. The best way to overcome this negativity, procrastination and self-doubt is simple – just start, however small. From small beginnings come great things. You will gain momentum from there. Don’t slow yourself down by excuses such as “I need to plan”, “I need more experience”, “I need this software” or “I need that book” etc. The integral part of your response to your audience’s needs is content. Once you get started, your main worries and hesitations will disappear. Don’t wait around – just take that first step, then the next, then the next and so on.
  2. Listen to feedback. The sooner you start creating content, the sooner you’ll get useful and constructive feedback from your audience. Take it into account when you work on your next piece of content. This is how you attract a following – you respond to the audience’s needs by producing content of better quality every time and by responding to their changing needs and expectations.
  3. Make your content unique, authentic and useful. People are exposed to thousands of blog entries, tweets, press releases etc. every day, and chances are that quite a few of those are on the same subject. Make sure that your content has something new to offer. Readers won’t read content that is more of the same. You want to create a following and for that you need to convince the readers to treat your site as a useful source for fresh, relevant content on their topic. Stand out. Be engaging, be genuine and be of service. Create content that you would want to consume.
  4. Be social media smart. You don’t have to be a full-fledged social media expert but you should have an understanding of the basics and know how to use at least one platform effectively. Don’t just create content and keep it to yourself. You need to get it out there into the world. One piece of content won’t establish you in your industry but, over time, and by creating content on a consistent basis, you will be stunned at the progress you can make, the ground you can cover and how high you can climb. Create great stuff and share it on a regular basis.
  5. Build your mailing list with great content. Your most valuable asset in the business of monetising your know-how is your mailing list – a list of email addresses of prospective customers, voluntarily given. How do you build such a list? Offer freebies (e.g. free guide, checklists, templates – highly useful items) for download in exchange for the person’s email address. Here are a list of popular content upgrades – incentives for visitors to give you their email address- that you can use to build your mailing list. (You will also need an email marketing service to manage the various campaigns, emails, downloads, unsubscribe requests and metrics involved. We recommend Aweber).
  6. Create some e-mail sequences. The more personal you can make your e-mails, the better. However, we understand that it is next to impossible to write personalised e-mails to each member of your e-mail list; the next best thing is to create the illusion of personalisation, i.e. sending out tailored emails at the right time with the goal of leading the recipient towards an eventual sale. For example, the first e-mail in the sequence should be a welcoming one in which you can introduce yourself, thank them for subscribing, remind them that the content they receive is free, and tell them more about your company; your next email may highlight a common problem your audience may be experiencing; the third email may tell a story of how you struggled with the same issues and so on, leading the recipient towards your solution. Here’s some detailed steps for creating an email marketing sequence.

Takeaway points

  1. Creating a following is going to be possible only if you can create content that is valuable, practical and get it into the hands of your target audience either through your own mailing list or by leveraging social media platforms.
  2. Be sure to include a mechanism for capturing your visitor emails. This is done using an opt-in form. Users typically submit their email address to download a useful resource such as an ebook, report or mini-class.
  3. The best way to make your content better is to keep solving problems for your audience.

Action steps

  1. Stop doubting yourself and start creating. Write, film, code, edit, share. Whatever your skill, focus on becoming a creator, not a consumer. Start giving more than you take. Be a contributor, serving others. Take the first step. Think of a product that would help your target audience.
  2. Once you have chosen a product, map it out.
  3. Finally, stop procrastinating and start making your product a reality.

Photo credit: MeeshBomb via / CC BY 2.0

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