It’s no secret that my love of teenybopper boy bands is a big part of my personality. And while I was never the girl at the rock show, I still had love in my heart for Blink-182.
I was driving in my car the other day and “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 was playing. You may remember that Blink-182 was in their prime during the Y2K boy band era, and that this music video actually mocks the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.
It actually won an MTV Video Music Award in the year 2000, beating out Destiny’s Child, the Foo Fighters, *NSYNC, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
But the song got me thinking about all the small things marketers and content creators have to worry about. It’s one of those fields where you really have to sweat the small stuff. (Work sucks, I know).
But this is because the small details are the difference makers. They determine if that big piece of content you spent forever on actually gets seen.
You could have the best, more informative email, but it’s pointless if nobody opens it.
You could spend hours and hours making an incredible video, but what if nobody watches it?
Or you could write the most helpful blog post that never gets read. What a shame that would be, not only for you who spent time on it, but for the person who is now missing out on the value you could have provided.
All the Small Things Content Creators Need to Optimize
Blog posts are so powerful and can be huge traffic sources for your website!
As you write your blog posts, you first need a title that is compelling. If your title doesn’t interest the reader and inspire them to click, your blog post will never get read.
A good rule of thumb is to always incorporate what’s in it for your audience. How will this blog post help them? Does it solve a problem? Is it something they can relate to?
A common format is listicles, but even those need a bit more information to be successful.
For example, something like “5 Best Travel Destinations” is decent, but too broad. Narrow this post so it calls out something specific that make resonate with your audience. Something like “5 Honeymoon Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank” or “5 Unique Cities to Explore on Your Next Girls Trip”. These are specific enough that it allows someone in your audience to clearly identify with them.
Once you compel someone to click, you also have to compel them to stick around. Write a powerful first paragraph that confirms your content is worth reading.
Your blog posts also need to be rich with relevant keywords. Incorporate these in subheadings and throughout the post, but don’t overdo it. Create a customized URL that features the keyword, instead of something like blogpost-november.html. The keywords are the cues Google needs to serve your post to your audience.
The goal of a blog post is to build your audience, right? In that case, your blog should also feature opt-in forms, at least on the sidebar. You also can offer a lead magnet or content upgrade, such as a free download, to capture an email address. Put a sign-up form at the end of the post, or even as a pop-up! You might think pop-ups seem spammy, but they work well if you offer something your audience will actually want.
Want to keep people on your site longer? Recommend related posts or pages for them to check out. “If you liked this, you’ll also like this” kinda thing. This is called interlinking and helps your audience move through the site, nurturing them along the way.
Content creators understand the importance of video! The first thing I’ll say about video is that your video’s audio quality is actually more important than video quality. Your audience will still watch if your lighting isn’t perfect, if your room is messy, or if you’re wearing sweats. But if your audio is bad, it makes the video unwatchable. To instantly elevate your videos, invest in a decent microphone. You can find some good ones on Amazon for less than $150. If you’re big into video, a great mic will be the gift that keeps on giving.
You’ll have the biggest chance of success with video if you don’t waste a second of your audience’s time. The worst is to click a video and the entire time your audience is thinking “get on with it already!”. Incorporate a strong hook, get straight to the point, and cut out the fluff. You can do this and still incorporate your personality through your expressions and overall delivery.
That’s all part of creating the video, but there are several housekeeping items you must complete to optimize it on YouTube. Like blog posts, your video also needs to have a detailed title and description that is rich with relevant keywords. Remember, YouTube is a search engine!
The most common, heartbreaking mistake I see on YouTube is when a video doesn’t have a custom thumbnail. Your thumbnail is an opportunity to attract a viewer. Rather than using a default thumbnail that’s just a still from the video, design something strategic. Make it informative and eye-catching, with bold fonts and a helpful or humanizing image. Uploading a video without customizing a thumbnail is a huge missed opportunity.
Also remember that if you share your videos outside of YouTube, such as on Twitter or Instagram, you should absolutely include captions. This makes your video accessible to the hearing impaired and is the considerate and inclusive thing to do. As content creators, this needs to be a priority.
The same goes for Instagram Stories. Keep in mind that many people watch Instagram Stories without sound. Use the captions sticker or add descriptive text overlays to make your story effective with or without sound.
While on the subject of Instagram Stories, enhance your engagement by looking for more opportunities to include engagement stickers. Can you add a questions sticker or relevant poll? In my book, the idea is to make social media a two-way conversation every chance you get! Also, don’t forget to include hashtags on your feed posts if you want to increase your reach, just make sure they aren’t too broad.
If you want more eyes on your Instagram content, you’ll need more followers, and much of that starts with having a bio that compels people to follow you. You’d think it would go without saying, but make sure you have a clear profile picture, whether it’s a photo or your brand’s logo. Spend time writing a bio that with endear your audience and inform them of exactly what content they can expect. You want to make them feel like they’re in the right place when they land on your profile, and that your content will help them in some way.
Include a link to your website or a lead magnet that will interest your audience. The worst thing you can do is include a LinkTree link with 17 different options. This is overwhelming. You’re better off directing them to your website’s homepage where they have a clear navigation, or to a simplified LinkTree.
Lastly, let’s cover email. If you think email is dead, you’re mistaken. It’s still one of the best ways to reach for content creators to reach their audience, and is where you can find your warmest audience. If someone has willingly subscribed to your email list, they are way more likely to convert than a passive social media follower.
Aside from writing emails that are packed with value, the main thing I want to remind you is not to overlook your subject line. The success of your email hinges on your subject line. If you rush it and write something that isn’t interesting, the recipient won’t even open the email.
A quick tip I’ve tried to write subject lines is to include the word ‘you’ or ‘your’. It forces you to speak directly to the subscriber, which likely means you’re communicating what’s it in for them. The subject line becomes audience-focused vs. brand-focused, which will increase the chances of your email being opened.
Small Changes, Big Differences
What are some of the other small things content creators should keep in mind to help content perform better? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating, but don’t overlook these little details. They truly can make or break your content.
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