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Swift Six: How to create and promote ‘hero’ content

By Nick Leech - January 14, 2015

Creating top-quality pieces of content, whether that’s an in-depth blog post, an infographic or a microsite, is an excellent way to attract links, visitors and even news coverage. In the latest Swift Six, I’ll be explaining how you can get ideas for hero content and how you can go about promoting it. Click the video to get started.

Hello and welcome to another 123-reg Swift Six. This week, I am going to be talking about how to research, create, and promote some hero content.

So what do I mean by hero content? Well every site, every blog will have posts that are more run-of-the-mill, or bread-and-butter and have some posts which are really, really great. So these are the posts that often hook people for the first time. And I’m going to be talking about how to research, create, and promote the really great bits of content.

The first thing you need to do is to understand what your customers are really interested in. So the best way to do that is to ask them and a good way to ask them in bulk, of course, is by using a poll. Find out what they are interested in that’s related to what you do. You can do this either by emailing them and asking them some questions or you could put the questions on a blog via a widget and ask people to choose a few options or you can even ask those people on social media – again, there are lots of plugins or forms you can use on social media to understand what they are really interested in.

The second thing to do is to understand what questions your audience are asking. Because if you know what questions they are asking, you will know what they are interested in. A really good tool for this is Quora. On Quora people ask questions about a topic and have experts answer them and those answers are voted up as the most useful or the most popular. Just search using a keyword that is relevant to your business and to your blog and find out what questions people are asking that are relevant for them and that should be able to inform you about the topic or the content for your hero content.

So the third thing to do is to brainstorm the ideas that you generated through number one and number two with your colleagues in order to come out with a top three list of the best ideas. So try building out these ideas into pieces of content – it doesn’t need to be complete but try giving it some kind of framework. So whether that’s an article about a topic, whether it’s an interview, some kind of Q&A, or even a list that covers a particular area, just try building out that content a little bit.

So the fourth thing to do is to build out influencers for the audience you are trying to reach. So if you know who the influencers are of your audience, then you’ll know whose advice they will be following and if you can impress these influencers then all the people who look to them for advice will follow that advice and visit your blog post. So you can identify influencers using a tool called Followerwonk. So just search online for Followerwonk and then once you are there search for a keyword using Followerwonk and it will tell you who the biggest influencers are on Twitter for your market and who carries the most followers. So identify who those influencers are that are going to be relevant to influence your audience.

Number five, contact these influencers and try to get some feedback on your ideas. Now I’m sure that they have busy lives and they’re probably being asked lots of questions but the fact that you are seeking their expert advice and they position themselves as an expert really panders to their ego. So make sure that you ask them for advice about your ideas and then take that advice on board even reference that influencer in the final piece and then hone your article, your interview, your Q&A in order to make it perfect.

And number six, once you’ve written your final bit of content, once you’ve got it perfect, offer it as an exclusive to a particular blog a particular website or publisher. If no one wants it as an exclusive, then publish it on your own website and follow up by directly contacting the influencers that you reached out to before to see if they like it, to see if they are impressed by it, and see if they want to share it.

Okay, that was the 123-reg Swift 6 on how to research, create, and promote some hero content. I’ll see you next time.

Further reading

You can check out Quora here.

Followerwonk can be found here.

You can learn more about how to come up with ideas and promote content in this post about big digital marketing on a small budget.

If you want to use social media marketing to increase the reach of your content in general, this webinar.