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11 tips for producing content your readers actually want to read



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Establish value in your content

When writing about tips for producing content, I think back to a time many years ago when I interviewed an Academy Award-winning screenplay writer. Paris Hilton was his neighbor and he lived in the heart of Hollywood. He had achieved extreme career success by creating screenplays that captivated audiences.

“How do you produce content that people actually want to watch,” I asked. “When you have a blank computer screen staring back at you, and you’re in the back of a noisy coffee shop, how do you put words to paper?”

The screenplay writer smiled and gave a pretty simple answer:

“Trust that you’re a valid audience. If you can please yourself, you have to trust that there are enough people out there who will be pleased as well.”

Even in business, this advice holds true. You have to trust that you are the expert in your industry to give valuable information that people want to read. Producing engaging content is a challenge for content writers, small business owners and anyone leveraging their blog to attract prospective

To help you create meaningful content, we asked marketing leaders and small business owners for their best content creation tips.

Related: 12 ways to improve your content marketing

11 tips for producing content for your target audience

responders to question in article

From leveraging Google to relying on data, here are several strategies that may help you produce valuable content for your website.

  1. Google is your best friend
  2. Search Pinterest to find new topic ideas
  3. Monitor how your content impacts conversions
  4. Build up your top performers
  5. Interview your target audience
  6. Use search listening tools
  7. Focus on customer pain points using “AIDA”
  8. Pick keywords aligning with a user search intent
  9. Be an industry resource
  10. Visit spaces where your customers ask questions
  11. Analyze content gaps and social media

Below, you’ll have an opportunity to read through advice from key business leaders and see why many of these tips for producing content are so successful.

1. Google is your best friend

All good content starts with some keyword research. But great content starts with “key question” research.

As you examine your target, focus on what questions they have about your product, service or category. A great tool to find out what those questions are is good ol’ Google.

Type in a keyword, scroll down the search results until you get to “People also searched for.” Here you will find great questions that people are turning to Google for answers.

You can be their answer. Go build great content that answers these questions and you will be well on your way to being an authority on topics you know that interests your target.

Eric Rutin, Easy Marketing Lessons

Related: How to do SEO keyword research to drive traffic to your website

2. Search Pinterest to find new topic ideas

A large swath of my audience is on Pinterest, so I utilize the auto-fill in the search tool in Pinterest to find more interesting long-tail keywords — [this works] for content that I may not have considered before utilizing more traditional keyword search platforms, such as Ahrefs.

Not only will this content perform well on Pinterest, but I know that there is an audience interested in this topic. And, I can increase the chance that they will click through to other interesting content on my website.

Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds

Related: The entrepreneurs’ guide to Pinterest marketing

3. Monitor how your content impacts conversions

Yes, you should be measuring content performance by looking at metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and more. But if you’re not monitoring which pieces of content are actually driving conversions, then you won’t know what content is meeting your audience’s needs.

To do this, start by enabling ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics or setting up a goal based on what you want your audience to do. Then, use the Assisted Conversions report to see which types of content are moving the needle.

Content is almost always more top-of-the-funnel than bottom. By using the Assisted Conversions report you can see which pieces are contributing throughout the user journey and scale from there.

Sylvia Kang, Mira

4. Build up your top performers

My best tip for producing content that readers will actually enjoy is to see what’s currently ranking and write something better. If long-form content (such as ultimate guides) is ranking for your target keyword, then create an ultimate guide –– but make it stand out.

Use what is already performing well as a baseline, then add another layer of value. This could be something like adding a free downloadable PDF guide to complement the blog post.

Sophia Orlando, Markitors

5. Interview your target audience

The best way to produce content that meets your audience’s needs is to interview your existing customers. Speak to them and find out the challenges they are facing. Discover the hot topic in their industry that everyone is talking about. Once you know what these topics are, you can produce content directly addressing your audience’s questions.

Daniel Lee, Strategyst

6. Use search listening tools

To produce content that meets your target audience’s needs, don’t just take your best guess. To get to grips with what your audience really wants to read, use search listening tools like Answer The Public.

Answer The Public listens to autocomplete data from search engines like Google, then generates a list of audience questions, prepositions and comparisons.

Just by running one or two words through the platform’s tool, you can access and draw from these insights to create content that meets your target audience’s needs. When I’m hitting writer’s block and struggling with what content to plan next, search listening tools always get me back on track and provide a boatload of potential content ideas.

Aaron Gray, NO-BS Marketplace

7. Focus on customer pain points using “AIDA”

Customers have multiple needs. Needs are categorized often as “must” and “nice to have” criteria. But ultimately, there is always one need that creates pain. This is the one need to tackle within your content.

How do you do this? With the proven AIDA model,  an acronym for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

First, get the attention of the customer by demonstrating you understand their needs and have a good solution.

Second, spark interest with details on your solution and show the user exactly how to solve their problem.

Third, create desire by showing the user how much easier their life is once they purchase your solution. Create the “to-be” state of the customer.

And last, get the user to act through a demo, free call, download or a purchase.

Stephan Wenger, B2B Marketing World

8. Pick keywords aligning with a user search intent

Before crafting your content, first categorize its ideal reader into one of three user search intent categories:

  • Informational searchers
  • Commercial searchers
  • Transactional searchers

Informational searchers are the most passive and broad — [they hunt] online across multiple page-one search engine results pages (SERPs) to better understand a topic.

Commercial searchers go next and [consist of users] searching for the best solution to their questions or problems — not just information.

Finally, transactional searchers are folks who go online specifically to buy something right now.

Once you’ve identified where your reader sits in these three categories, you can scaffold your target keywords accordingly — [aim] to capture their interest and meet their needs in your content. In doing so, you’ve identified the top, middle and bottom funnels. [This] helps ensure that users will find what they need when interacting with your content.

Morgan Taylor, Sourcery

9. Be an industry resource

We see the importance of producing quality content when building our marketing plan, so we focus on addressing our audience’s search intent. You can attract users to your website, but if you’re not answering their questions or filling their needs, you’ll find that they quickly navigate away from the page.

Find relevant keywords and add value to the conversation. Position your business as a resource in your industry.

Blake Murphey, American Pipeline Solutions

10. Visit spaces where your customers ask questions

[Find] the spaces where your ideal customers spend time. A great option is to join or browse Facebook groups that are relevant to your niche. What questions are the people in those groups asking? Are there any recurring topics?

Quora is another platform that can better help you get into the mind of your target audience.

Another place to find inspiration is to talk to your customer service team. What questions do they receive the most from customers or potential customers? Does there appear to be a disconnect anywhere between information available on the website and the questions they hear the most?

Sara Bodner, Conklin Media

11. Analyze content gaps and social media

Perform a content gap analysis. This helps you find topics and keywords that people are searching for or talking about — [especially when] there isn’t much existing content about it.

Doing this would give you ideas for content that meets the needs of your target audience [that isn’t] currently being addressed. Reading social media comments and questions, and seeing what’s trending on social media, also helps in generating content ideas that meet the needs of the target audience.

Ben Rollins, Axon Optics

Make content that connects with your readers

The tips for producing content above will better equip you at connecting with prospective customers.

A perfect piece of content is one that speaks to the needs of your customers.

If every reader can find value in what you’ve created, then you know you’re ready to hit the “publish” button and share with your stakeholders and followers.

Use these content creation tips as a guide when creating your next piece of content and see how it impacts your small business.

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published.

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Growing a Business

Let the Urgency of Your Customers’ Needs Guide Your Sales Strategy



When companies are creating profiles of possible target customers, there is a dimension they often overlook: the urgency of the need for the offering. This article provides a process for segmenting prospective customers in this fashion and creating a sales strategy.

Many business leaders believe that they fully understand their best target customers. They’ve developed clear profiles (a.k.a. personas) that are richly detailed with well-researched parameters, such as standard characteristics (e.g., age, education level, years at the company, role) or firmographic (e.g., annual revenues, number of employees, industry, geography, years in business). While such characteristics are important, they ignore another crucial characteristic: urgency of need.

A company that offers a software-as-a-service billing solution for small and mid-sized private dental practices may focus on classic demographics, such as the size of the practice (number of employees or number of dentists), the age of the practice (since older practices may more likely have outdated systems), or the amount of insurance billing the practice does each year.

These variables are useful in helping to produce a list of prospects, but they don’t determine which of these dental practices the sales team should call on first. If, however, the company added data that reflects which of these practices’ needs is most urgent — say, those that have advertised for billing and claims administration help more than twice in the past year (suggesting that they are struggling to keep up with billing) — salespeople would be able to prioritize their attention on these prospects.

The Four Segments

This needs-based approach entails segmenting potential customers into four segments:

  1. Urgent. The customer recognizes that it has an immediate need. (We just had another billing person quit!)
  2. Non-urgent. The customer recognizes the need, but it isn’t a high priority at this time. (We realize that our billing needs are changing and our current system will need to be revamped. We plan to start looking into this in the next year.)
  3. Currently met. The customer believes it already has an adequate solution to address the need at this time but recognizes it may not be a long-term solution. (We have an older billing system in place that still does the trick for now.)
  4. None. The customer simply has no need nor expects such need anytime soon. (Our small practice has a limited number of patients who pay out of pocket. Since all payments are made at the time of service, we simply don’t need a complex new billing system.)

This focus on the urgency of target customers’ needs may sound like common sense, but we have found in our work with B2B companies — from mid-sized firms to Fortune 50 giants in an array of industries such as financial services, enterprise information technology, utilities, industrial solutions, and health care technology — that they often fail to consider this dimension. Here is a process a firm can employ to apply this approach.

Identify new customers.

To identify prospects outside of your existing customer base, you can use available information. One is a source we mentioned: help-wanted ads that reflect a particular need.

But there are plenty of others. For instance, if a company sells inventory management solutions, a source of valuable data might be manufacturing industry merger-and-acquisition data, which could reveal companies with an urgent need to change or merge systems such as those for managing inventories. If a company sells quality-management solutions, a source of valuable data could be companies that are getting hammered for poor quality on social media.

Gather the necessary information.

Identifying your customers’ true urgency of needs requires looking beyond your typical demographic and firmographic profiling. This starts with an outreach initiative to talk to customers and prospects. The purpose is to ask questions to identify new target customer parameters that may be impacting the customer’s urgency of needs:

  • Frustrations. How urgent is the need to resolve these frustrations? Which frustration would best accelerate success if resolved?
  • Goals. Are your goals clear, consistent, reasonable, and measurable? Have your goals shifted recently?
  • Roadblocks. What keeps you from reaching your goals? (i.e., What keeps you up at night?) What is the magnitude of the impact of these roadblocks?
  • Environmental and situational factors. Are you experiencing any industry consolidation, organizational or executive management changes or instability, competitive changes, regulatory changes, and so on? What is the magnitude of the impact of these factors?
  • Technology factors. Are there new or changing technologies that will impact your ability to achieve your goals? Are you at risk due to technology end-of-life issues or incompatibility?

Assess your firm’s ability to serve lower-level segments.

Once a company has performed its needs-based segmentation effort, it should seek to answer the following questions about each of the four levels. The findings will dictate the sales and marketing strategy, level of investment and resource allocations.

Level 1. Urgent need

How quickly can we meet their need? How can we best serve them? Is the market opportunity large enough to focus only on these prospective customers? Given the customer’s urgency, how do we price our products to optimize margins without damaging relationships by appearing exploitive?

Level 2. Non-urgent need

Can we convince them that their need is more urgent than they currently believe? How do we effectively stay in touch with them so we remain top of mind when they perceive that their need has become urgent?

Level 3. Need currently met

Should we walk away from these prospects? If so, when and how do we touch base with them to see if their needs have changed? Or is there an opportunity to continue to work to convince them that their need is either more significant than they realize or could be much better addressed? If so, what’s the best approach to get them to reconsider their current situation and recognize their true need and its urgency?

Level 4. No need

Should we completely remove these contacts as any potential prospect? Is there some other need we may be able to address for them — perhaps with another product? Should we be in contact on a planned basis to see if their situation has changed? How do we best do that?

The ideal customers are those who clearly understand and recognize they have an urgent need for your offering. However, if that opportunity is not enough to meet the company’s sales volume target, it may be necessary to extend efforts beyond Level 1. Gaining the attention of these additional target customers, challenging their perceptions of their needs, and educating them on how your offering could benefit them will require resources. Consequently, a critical assessment is required to determine whether the opportunity outweighs the investment necessary to address customers in these other levels.

Test your new targets.

Before committing to a complete revamp of how your salespeople are prioritizing opportunities, select one or two experienced salespeople to help you test your new target customer parameters. Identify a few prospects that align to your revamped target profiles, and see how the selected salespeople are able to penetrate them.

Revamp your sales messaging and training.

Include prospective customers’ level of need in your sales messaging — the language that the sales team uses in its interactions with customers. Revamp your sales tools (materials such as brochures, technical papers, and customer testimonials used in the selling process) to include the urgency of need. And teach salespeople how to read and react to the prospective customer’s level of need and adapt their language appropriately.

By adding urgency of need to target customers’ profiles, companies can do more than differentiate their offerings more effectively. They can also identify new growth opportunities and successfully pivot away from slowing or tightening markets. They can accelerate the sales of new products. Last but not least, they can turn underachieving sales teams into strong performers.


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Growing a Business

11 Ways Tech Adoption Impacts your Small Biz Growth



Small businesses rely heavily on technology to drive development and innovation. Adopting the correct technological solutions can help to streamline processes, increase efficiency, improve client experiences, and create a competitive advantage in the market.

In this post, we will look at how technology contributes to the growth and success of small enterprises.

photo credit: Ali Pazani / Pexels

1. Streamlining Operations

Implementing small business technology solutions can automate and streamline various aspects of small business operations. This includes using project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management tools, and accounting software. Streamlining operations not only saves time and reduces manual errors but also allows small businesses to allocate resources more efficiently.

Tip: Regularly assess your business processes and identify areas that can be automated or improved with technology. This continuous evaluation ensures that your technology solutions remain aligned with your evolving business needs.

2. Enhancing Customer Engagement

Technology enables small businesses to engage and connect with their customers more effectively. Social media platforms, email marketing software, and customer service tools allow businesses to communicate and build relationships with their target audience. Customer relationship management systems help businesses track customer interactions and preferences, providing insights to deliver personalized experiences and improve customer satisfaction.

Tip: Leverage data from customer interactions to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers. Use automation tools to send timely and relevant messages to your customers, enhancing their engagement and loyalty.

3. Expanding Market Reach

The internet and digital marketing platforms provide small businesses with the opportunity to reach a broader audience beyond their local market. Creating a professional website, utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), and leveraging online advertising channels allow small businesses to attract and engage customers from different regions or even globally. E-commerce platforms enable businesses to sell products or services online, further expanding their market reach.

Tip: Continuously monitor and optimize your online presence to ensure your website is discoverable and user-friendly. Leverage analytics tools to track website traffic, visitor behavior, and conversion rates to make data-driven improvements.

Analyzing big data for decision making process

4. Improving Decision-Making with Data

Technology provides small businesses with access to valuable data and analytics, enabling informed decision-making. Through data analysis, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational performance. This data-driven approach allows small businesses to make strategic decisions, optimize processes, and identify growth opportunities more effectively.

Tip: Invest in data analytics tools and dashboards that can consolidate and visualize your business data. Regularly review and analyze the data to uncover patterns, identify bottlenecks, and make data-backed decisions to drive growth.

5. Facilitating Remote Work and Collaboration

Advancements in technology have made remote work and collaboration more feasible for small businesses. Cloud-based tools, project management software, and communication platforms enable teams to work together efficiently, regardless of geographical location. This flexibility opens up opportunities to access talent from anywhere, increase productivity, and reduce overhead costs.

Tip: Establish clear communication protocols and project management workflows to ensure effective collaboration among remote teams. Use video conferencing tools for virtual meetings and foster a culture of transparency and accountability to maintain productivity and engagement.

6. Embracing Emerging Technologies

Small businesses should stay informed about emerging technologies that have the potential to transform their industries. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things can offer new opportunities for growth and innovation. Being open to adopting and integrating these technologies into your business strategy can give you a competitive advantage.

7. Data Security and Privacy

Data security and privacy are critical considerations when using technology in small businesses. Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and secure data storage, to protect sensitive customer information and intellectual property. Regularly update software and educate employees on best practices for data security to minimize the risk of data breaches.

Work with CRM system

8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

A dedicated CRM system can help small businesses manage customer relationships more efficiently. It allows businesses to track customer interactions, store contact information, and monitor sales pipelines. Utilize CRM software to streamline sales and marketing processes, personalize customer interactions, and nurture long-term customer loyalty.

9. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Encourage continuous learning and skill development among employees to keep up with technological advancements. Provide access to online courses, training resources, and workshops to enhance digital literacy and proficiency. Embrace a culture of learning and innovation to ensure your small business remains adaptable and competitive in the digital age.

10. Scalable and Flexible Technology Solutions

Choose technology solutions that are scalable and flexible to accommodate your growing business needs. Consider cloud-based software and platforms that allow you to easily scale up or down as your business evolves. This scalability enables small businesses to adapt to changing demands and seize new opportunities without significant disruptions.

11. Regular Technology Assessments

Regularly assess your technology infrastructure to ensure it aligns with your business goals and remains up to date. Conduct technology audits to identify areas for improvement, eliminate outdated systems, and explore new technologies that can drive growth. Stay proactive in evaluating and optimizing your technology stack to maximize its impact on your small business.

Businessman using biz tech solutions


Technology serves as a catalyst for small business growth. By leveraging technology effectively and staying agile in an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses can unlock their full potential, adapt to changing customer expectations, and drive sustainable growth.

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Growing a Business

Nine Reasons Why Turning Down a Client Is the Best Option for Your Business



While your business may not be right for every client, every client may not be right for your business. To that end, what’s one sign you should turn down a client, and why?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. The Client Has Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes you’ll meet clients with unrealistic expectations — even when those expectations are incompatible with your products and services. They might demand services that you may not be able to deliver. Trying to keep such clients can often damage your relationship with them, encourage them to spread bad word-of-mouth, and hamper your reputation. Identifying such clients in time can prevent that.

Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

s2. They’re Unresponsive

The number one way to tell if a client isn’t right for your business is if they are unresponsive. For client-business relationships to work, mutual understanding, communication, and respect are essential. If a client keeps pushing you aside when you need to clarify something for a project you’re working on for them, it may be time to move on at the end of the assignment.

Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

3. They Complain During Every Step

An obvious sign that a client isn’t a good fit for your business is when they complain about your work every step of the way. I’ve encountered clients who complain because they think they will get a better price or free work. If they are truly unhappy, try to correct the mistake once or twice, and if that doesn’t work, give them a refund. Catering to toxic clients will not help you grow or succeed.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Meeting with a client

4. You’re Unable to Meet Their Needs

One should turn down a client whose expectations are hard to meet. They may not be in the wrong in the situation, and they have the right to expect certain things since they will be paying for the solutions offered. However, you should assess whether it will be possible for you to keep up with those expectations considering your current scale of operations or resources available.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. They Exhibit a ‘Blame-Oriented’ Mindset

Watch for a “blame-oriented mindset” in your prospecting and sales conversations. Ask a question like, “What solutions or service providers have you tried before to solve this problem, and why didn’t they work?” Observe if the prospect takes any ownership for past failures or solely blames previous providers. Such an attitude is a clear sign of a lack of accountability and collaboration. Turn down such prospects!

Devesh Dwivedi, Higher Valuation

6. They Constantly Dismiss Your Advice

Picture this: a client who insists on guiding you through uncharted territory while you hold the compass of expertise. When faced with a client who consistently dismisses your professional advice and insists on going against best practices, it’s time to question the compatibility of your collaboration. Remember: You’re the expert for a reason, and your recommendations should be valued.

Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme

Talking with a big client
photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

7. They Aren’t Engaging in the Project

When a client consistently fails to provide the necessary resources, feedback or engagement required for a successful partnership, it’s time to hit pause. A one-sided relationship will leave you feeling like a solo artist in a duet. Seek clients who actively participate, collaborate and invest in the success of the projects you undertake together.

Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

8. There Is Value or Goal Misalignment

Turn down clients if their values or goals are not aligned with your business. This can lead to conflicts and dissatisfaction and even damage your reputation. Focus on clients who share similar values and goals to maintain your brand’s integrity and benefit from the work you do for them.

Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Funds

9. They’re Always Adding ‘One More Thing’

You can tell a client is not right for your business, especially if you’re a freelancer, if they keep adding “one more thing” to the project. For instance, if you’re a writer and a client asks you to edit some of their other work “as a friend,” it may be time to end the partnership. This situation will lead to you doing tons of work and extra assignments for free, which was not the arrangement. 

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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