How to Write with Authority Part Two: Relevance

Sometimes excellent content will flop because it completely misses its target audience. When people seek written content, they look for what’s relevant to their interests. We do not want to read a post about roofing when we’re looking for flooring. The same holds true when you’re in the driver’s seat – or rather, at the writer’s desk. If you want your content to fly true, it has to be relevant to your readers, their interests, and your content’s actual audience.

Writing with authority requires content to be important to the reader. If you’re an e-commerce company and your audience is primarily customers, you shouldn’t write a blog post about industry trends. Irrelevant content suggests misunderstanding. Your customers know what they want, and they expect you to know as well. If you misunderstand their interests, you’ll lose some of their trust. The trick to staying relevant, and becoming an authority in your field, is to understand to whom and what you need to write.

The Science of Relevance

Well-known content marketer Neil Patel describes relevance as “scientific and systematic.” Nobody writes content that is universally applicable and always important. Trendsetters aren’t who they are through some sort of mystical, innate talent. Instead, they stay relevant by learning the tricks of the trade and keep up with their audience, their market, and their industry.

The science behind relevance isn’t glamorous – in fact, it’s mostly the normal content marketing toolbox. SEO, CTAs, keywords, they’re all important to bringing in the right audience. Optimizing your audience means you know who you’re writing for, and have a much better chance of writing to their needs.

Unfortunately, writing a keyword-laden junk post may produce clickthroughs (assuming Google isn’t wise to your actions of course) but it won’t retain readers. You need to actually write content that someone wants to read. The point of SEO in relevance is to understand user intent – you want to draw in readers who are interested in the real content behind your writing, not just someone you think is interested in your product. Content marketing only works if your content is good, no matter how good your product or service may be.

Know Your Audience

Who reads your blog? Depending on your interest, the answer varies considerably. The most obvious group, however, is past clients interested in retaining service with you. But that doesn’t bring in new business. The point of a blog isn’t necessarily to keep current customers up-to-date (though that’s always an admirable goal) but instead to generate new readership.

In fact, research suggests that regularly updated blogs – meaning 16 or more posts per month – generate almost 3.5 times more traffic than less regular blogs. Your audience consists of future clients, casual readers, and even competitors scoping out your content. Knowing your audience means knowing what your potential customers want to read, and why they’ve come to your blog in the first place. If you’re a B2B company, for example, you need to tailor your content to the industry as a whole. B2C organizations, on the other hand, shouldn’t be spamming customers with market research data – you’ll appear out-of-touch and irrelevant.

Keep in mind the form of content marketing that works best for your audience. There are several options available, with different levels of ROI, but the cheapest and easiest is, of course, a regularly updated blog – which will be the focus for the remainder of this post.

Coming Up With New Content

So if the goal is 16 posts a month, how can you possibly come up with that much material? Surely there can’t be that much to say about any one industry, right? Well, maybe it’s not easy, but it’s definitely important.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of tricks to coming up with new ideas. Think of your blog less as an in-depth, technical outline of your industry, and more of a reader-interest magazine about your business. That means shake it up with new and engaging content forms – lists, videos, testimonials. Adding a human touch to your blog allows you to connect with your reader in a way that strict business content can’t achieve.

It may seem minor, but the return on investment from your blog – regardless of what field your business is in – should make it a priority for your marketing team. Weekly meetings, research, and even software solutions are all excellent ways to come up with new ideas. When in doubt, there are also agencies dedicated solely to creating great content – including new ideas!

Remember that your blog is a dynamic feature on your site – but also that old posts can become irrelevant very quickly. News stories are important for current readers, but not so much for your potential customers, most of whom aren’t interested in the “Top 25 Real Estate Trends of 2009.” The solution to this problem is so-called ‘evergreen’ content – writing intended to always be relevant. These are fundamental topics relating to your industry that do not change, or change only very slowly. Picking a great product, for example, is always relevant to readers.

Humanize Your Business

It’s important to remember that your blog is an integral part of your company. It doesn’t help if your blog is a thinly veiled advertisement, readers will know within a few seconds! Instead, incorporate the human element into your strategy – create an anthology of customer reviews, go behind the scenes, have a full, and frank exchange of views.

Creative content writing will always generate interest. If nothing else, readers will see your FAQ post and be glad your blog is run by real humans, rather than marketing robots! Approach your blog the way you would approach journalism – even if perhaps you’re biased in favor of your own product, but only because you truly believe in it. Write a few “state of the union” address-style posts, discussing the current news of your company. A post on why you started your company can go a long way toward humanizing you to potential clients.

The reality is that content writing is just as much a creative art as it is a science. Touching base with your readers requires an attention to the human element as much as it does the marketing aspect. SEO and keywords are great for generating readership, but you only retain that interest by writing relevant, interesting content for the right audience. Anything else will make you seem out-of-touch with your client base, and effectively negates your blog altogether.

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Cody Michaels

Cody Michaels is part-time writer, full-time nerd. Receiving his degree in history from the University of South Florida, most of his time is spent on the computer -- writing, researching, or reading.

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