#ContentWritingChat, creating content that builds community, creating content that generates leads, how to create content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns

Did you catch #ContentWritingChat this week? If not, there’s no need to worry! We have a recap of our latest chat and it’s filled with amazing tips to help you take your content to the next level. If you’re ready to learn how to create content that builds community and generates leads, keep reading!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Content That Builds Community & Generates Leads with Kathleen Burns


For this week’s chat, we were joined by Kathleen Burns. Kathleen is the Community Manager the United States Blog Editor for our friends over at SEMrush. She joined us to share her tips on creating content that not only builds community for your brand, but also helps you generate leads.

Q1: How can you create content that appeals to your audience? What steps do you need to take?

One key element in creating successful content for your brand is appealing directly to the people you’re trying to reach. Without creating the content that speaks directly to them, you’re going to wind up attracting all the wrong people or worse… No one at all! Here’s what you need to know about creating content your audience will love:

As Kathleen said, the first step in creating content that appeals to your audience is talking to them and listening to what they have to say. You can learn so much about the questions they have and the issues they’re facing by just asking them. Reviews, posts on online forums, and comments on your blog are also great sources of feedback from your audience. She recommends creating a reader persona so you know exactly who you’re writing for.

It always helps to address your audience’s key pain points. Not only will they appreciate it, but it’s the best way to provide tremendous value to them. They’ll want to keep coming back for more and more after that.

Julia agrees! Listening is key to getting to know your audience and understanding their needs. Treat it like a real life relationship and start making those connections through conversations and listening to what others have to say.

James said step one is always to know your audience. Without truly knowing who you’re trying to reach with your content, you aren’t able to create the content that will speak to them. Get to know and understand your audience before you move forward with creating blog posts and social media content.

Kristi agrees that knowing your audience is the first step to content creation. She suggests determining what they’re talking about, but also what they have liked of your content so far. For example, see what your most popular blog posts are because it’s likely a good indicator that your audience would love to see more content that’s similar.

Bill’s advice is to learn the preferences of your audience as well as their pain points. When you know they’re preferences, you can determine what content formats they like the most and which topics are their favorites. Understanding their pain points gives you the opportunity to solve their biggest struggles.

Cassandra’s advice is spot on. If you want to get to know your audience, it helps to get out and actually talk to them. Strike up a conversation in your blog’s comments, on social media, or within your email newsletter. The options are endless. Figure out what they need and what they’re struggling with and then deliver exactly what they need.

As Jacob said, you want to understand the problems, desires, and wants of your audience. Once you have that figured out, you can create the content they need the most.

Q2: Why is it important to set goals for your content? Discuss goals to set for community building and lead generation.

The content you create should always serve a purpose, whether it’s a blog post, a video, a podcast, or something else. In order to determine if you achieved what you set out to do, you need to set goals that you can actually measure and track. Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat said about setting content goals:

Kathleen said content goals provide direction and depth for content development. Here advice is to make your goals something measurable and define what a successful piece of content means for you. That could be different for everyone and could vary depending on the content. One blog most might be designed to drive email sign-ups, while another could be promoting a product or building brand awareness. It all depends what you’re trying to achieve.

Right on! If you don’t set goals, you have no way to measure your success. If you can’t measure your success, you won’t have any idea how to make improvements the next time around. And the reality is, no matter how great we think we are, there’s always room for improvement. You just need to know what to improve upon and you can only do that by measuring your previous results.

As Zala said, you don’t want to just push content out. Your content needs to serve a purpose so you should always have a measurable call to action (CTA).

As Sarah said, if you aren’t getting results then it’s just a waste of time and money. You want to make sure you’re achieving what you set out to do after putting so much time and effort into creating your content. Setting goals and measuring the results is what will help make this all worthwhile.

She also mentioned that some great goals for community building include engagement factors. Is your audience liking and sharing your content? Are they leaving comments? Is your community growing? These are all great things to track.

Q3: What kind of content helps to build an engaged community around your brand?

Building a community is something pretty much every brand is after these days. You want to have a loyal audience who likes your content and trusts you. You want your audience to take that next step and engage with you. These tips will help you create that for your own brand:

Kathleen recommends addressing the needs of your audience with the content you create. You can share tips that will help them in some way, which they’ll find beneficial.

Jason said to post content that is relatable and shareable. Pictures and quotes are always a great way to go. When you share content that inspires them, they’re going to be more inclined to share it with their audience.

Jeff suggests sharing things like user-generated content, infographics, videos, and interviews. Content that is going to encourage a conversation between you and your audience is key here. You can always experiment to see what works best for your brand because it’s going to be different for everyone.

Lex also agrees that user-generated content is powerful. Encourage your audience to actually be a part of your community by inviting them to post content that is relevant to your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through a branded hashtag on Instagram.

If you want to build an engaged community, you need to provide value through the content you create. Debi’s advice is to create content that helps your audience by answering their questions. Everything you share should be relevant to grab their attention.

Make sure you give them a reason to interact with you. As Kristi said, you can create a poll or ask questions to get feedback and to get a conversation flowing. It really is that simple! You just have to be willing to take that step to encourage engagement.

As Julia mentioned, live conversation is perfect for this. You can do that through your very own Twitter chat, live video, and more.

Q4: How will you know if your content has been well-received by your audience? What metrics are important to track?

When you’re creating content, one thing that’s important is making sure your audience actually liked it. But how can you tell if they enjoyed your content and received value from it? These tips will help you determine the success of your content, plus you’ll know exactly which metrics to track:

Kathleen said to ask yourself which metrics apply to your overall goals. Depending on your goals, you may want to track mentions, replies, social media shares, and downloads.

As Liliana said, it’s clear that your content was well-received when your audience takes some sort of action. Click-throughs, comments, and downloads are all metrics that are worth tracking.

Brandie pointed out that some common metrics include clicks, shares, and sales. It’s also worthwhile to monitor what your audience is saying. Are they talking about your content and if so, what are they saying about it? If your content got them talking in a good way, then that’s always a positive sign.

Keep in mind that everyone has different goals for their content and sometimes your goal can vary depending on the piece of content. Some common metrics are shares, conversions, and sales. When you see people converting on your content or making a purchase, that’s always a great sign that they received some amount of value. There’s nothing better than when your audience takes that next step with your brand.

Q5: What are key steps to take in order to generate leads from blog posts and social media?

One of the top goals people set for their content is lead generation, however many people just don’t know how to make it happen. So, here’s what you need to know to see results:

Don’t forget that call to action! If you want your audience to take that next step, you have to be clear about what that next step is. Hold their hand and lead them exactly where you want them to go. Don’t count on them to figure it out on their own.

Jason also knows the importance of an effective CTA. Make it clear what you want your audience to do next so they aren’t left wondering. You have to capture their attention before they click off your page for good.

Developing a connection with your audience is key in establishing trust. The reality is, people aren’t likely to buy your product or service after discovering you for the first time. You have to work to build a relationship with them and build trust before you can expect to generate leads consistently.

Engaging with your audience is a key part of generating leads. People are going to be more inclined to purchase from a brand that they have engaged and connected with. Chat with your audience and start building that KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor with them and you’re sure to see results.

Jeremy also agrees that engagement is important when it comes to generating leads. Make sure you’re having conversations with your audience, listening to what they have to say, and genuinely showing that you care about them and their needs. If they don’t take action right away, you can always follow up with them.

These are all essential steps that Lex suggested. She recommends listening to your audience and helping them in any way that you can, which then builds trust. You should also create CTAs and set goals for your content.

Q6: How does brand storytelling play a factor in community building and lead generation?

You likely hear people talking about the importance of “brand storytelling” all the time these days. You may even be wondering how it impacts community building and lead generation and how you can use your brand’s story to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

As Kathleen said, storytelling can bring a community together. That’s pretty powerful for anyone who is trying to grow their brand and develop trust with their audience.

Overall, storytelling makes your brand feel more human. It gives your brand personality, a meaning, and passion. Your brand’s story is ultimately what will draw people in and what will help them connect with you.

As Brittany said, humans connect through stories and people buy from other people. A potential customer is going to be more likely to purchase from you when they feel connected in some way and when they’ve started trusting you.

Your story adds personal flair and character to your brand, which is what your audience will find relatable. It’s what will draw them in and make them love what you’re creating.

When your story resonates with your target audience (and it should), it helps you to develop a deeper connection with them. That’s only the beginning of the customer journey.

If your brand’s story isn’t worth following, why would anyone want to stick around? Your brand story needs to be compelling and should appeal to your target audience.

Q7: Which tools do you rely on to help you create amazing content?

While you’re totally fine to just rely on pen and paper, we have a plethora of amazing tools at our fingertips today. These are tools that help make the content creation process even easier, which is always a plus. Check out these tools for yourself:

This is a great list of tools from Kathleen. Have you tried any of them? If not, you definitely should!

A keyboard and a brain full of ideas is a great place to start when it comes to content creation. Plus, it never hurts to have a furry friend to bounce ideas off of.

Brittany always keeps a notebook or her phone on hand to jot down ideas as she gets them. It’s so important to have a place to store those ideas that pop up when you least expect it.

This is how we keep Express Writers functioning!

Cassandra relies on BuzzSumo, Moz, Rival IQ, and industry communities to aid in her content creation.

Ray’s go-to tools include Google Drive, Google Docs, and Evernote. He also uses WordPress and Hootsuite.

If you need help with keyword research or content ideas, these three tools should definitely be in your arsenal.

Sabjan turns to BuzzSumo, Neil Patel, and our own Julia McCoy when he needs help with content creation.

Q8: What brands have built an incredible community?

And finally, we wrapped up the chat by asking everyone to tag a brand they felt has built an incredible community through their content. Here’s what some of them had to say:

We’re big fans of Buffer here at Express Writers!

Lexie is making us blush with her answer. Thanks so much! Besides our team, she also recommends Procter & Gamble and Jimmy Johns.

Lori is a fan of our friend, Sue B. Zimmerman!

The Tentacle team thinks Taco Bell has done a great job at building a strong community.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

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