But to be successful you need to understand how and where to focus your online efforts.
1. Know your audience
Want to discover what kind of content you should be writing? First up you need to know your audience, says Zoe Eaton, general manager of journalist and commentator Sarah Wilson’s online wellbeing program I Quit Sugar.
“Ground yourself in your user’s shoes and understand how you can add value to their day. Are they looking for inspiration? News? Entertainment, videos, opinion or just a Ryan Gosling meme? At I Quit Sugar we go to extraordinary lengths to deliver content that is true to brand and authentic,” she says.
In addition, Eaton recommends publishing regularly to keep your audience engaged: “No one is going to visit your site if you’re only giving them something to read once a month.”
2. Know your platform
To pick the perfect platform(s) for your company, it’s important to consider what networks your audience engage with and at what time.
“Publishing content in the morning? Chances are, your audience will be stuck on the bus and will be flicking through Facebook, so promote your sparkly, fresh new content on the right platform. Media has long shed its passive reputation; readers expect real-time conversation with those [brands] they reward with their precious leisure time, so you’d better be prepared to enter the fray,” says Eaton.
In addition, brainstorming original content ideas that relate to your audience can help you avoid the trap of running endless permutations of the ubiquitous ‘42,654 ways to lose weight without lifting a finger’ article.
“At I Quit Sugar we listen to health and wellness conversations on social media to truly understand what’s engaging our audience.”
The team also look to RSS newsfeed app Feedly as an indicator of third-party content generating significant shares.
3. Know your visual appeal
Images and video can be a powerful addition to your copy, and Eaton suggests using strong feature images that break away from the cheesy stock image mould.
People decide what they want to read about in less than a second, so make sure your headlines offer a blend of smart, quirky feature titles and are optimised for SEO – echoing a common search term you want to own.
4. Know your voice
“Your blog tone is really an extension of your brand values, which dictates everything from content to headlines, to feature images, marketing and how you engage with your audience on social media. Make sure your tone matches your brand values and is appropriate for both the platform and your target market.
“You can have an informal voice, or be stiffer than a sergeant major’s collar, but if you aren’t consistent you’ll confuse your audience and potentially lose them to competitors with a clearer sense of identity.”
5. Know what works
Measure how different channels are working to best support your goals. Establish your benchmarks and check how content has performed against them, says Eaton.
“Be flexible and adapt to maximise those insights… We check search volumes on keywords using Google’s Keyword Planner and understand what’s trending with Google Trends. In addition, use Google Analytics to review common site searches, measure page views and understand user behaviour on-site.”