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5 Ways to Initiate Conversation Through Content Marketing Strategy

content marketing conversationThis guest post is written by Ruth Zive.

So everyone knows that content is king, right?

NOT!

Recently I read that conversation, not content, is king, and that notion really resonates with me as a content marketing strategist.

Content, for the sake of creating content, is a futile exercise.  Content should engage, inspire and initiate dynamic conversation.  But some writers struggle with how to craft content with these goals in mind, so I have compiled my top 5 strategies for initiating conversation through a streamlined content marketing strategy.

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below:

1.     ASK QUESTIONS

 Dialogue is a two-way street.  Have you ever sat through a meal with a group of people and you’ve struggled to get a word in edgewise?  You don’t want your blog to mirror that type of experience.

Ask your readers questions.  Solicit their feedback.  And CARE about their responses.

Here are some easy and generalized questions that you can integrate into any content:

  • What do you think?
  • How have you experienced this?
  • Are there points that I’ve missed?
  • Do you disagree with my opinion?

Posing a question not only elicits a response, but it demonstrates a sense of authenticity – that you are interested in engaging the reader beyond the content.  It implies that you care about an ongoing relationship.

2.     BE PROVOCATIVE

 Admittedly, I have room to grow in this regard.  I’m a bit of a people-pleaser so my content tends to be fairly agreeable, but I know that controversial content is more likely to inspire conversation.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that you engage in political argument and advocate fringe policies and practices just for the sake of igniting debate.  However, just about every topic can push hot buttons to make the conversation a wee bit spicier.  For instance, I might suggest in this post that:

  • You consider the use of profanity for shock value
  • You leave goading comments on other people’s blogs (not mine J)
  • I’m sick and tired of the polite, love-fest that goes on between bloggers.  Write content that is REAL and stop worrying about what other people think.

Those points are a bit out of my comfort zone, but they are provocative concepts that I’ve considered (and even implemented in some cases).

What do you think?  Is controversy a risky content marketing strategy? (Note my thoughtful placement of the question!)

3.     GO BEYOND THE BLOG

Conversations initiated on your blog (or someone else’s) can continue on other platforms.  Extend the discussion beyond the blog, onto Twitter, Facebook or even LinkedIn.

By mixing up the medium, you will find other opinions and points of view and you can keep the conversation alive.

Dialogue on Twitter, for instance, tends to be faster, punchier and more pointed. Facebook is more social; LinkedIn is more professional.  Mix it up!

4.     DON’T BE SELF ABSORBED 

Chances are, unless you are JB or Lady Gaga, people don’t want to know about the minutiae of your life.  They don’t really care what you ate for breakfast or whether or not you had a good night’s sleep.

They want to know how you are going to help them.

Speak to your readers’ pain points; address their needs and interests; get to know your audience.

And eliminate too many “I/Me” references from your writing.

5.     CRAFT QUALITY CONTENT 

This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how much garbage content lurks behind every corner, on and offline.

Who wants to have a conversation with someone who can’t string together a meaningful sentence?

Take the time to write well.  Correct errors.  Proofread.  Solicit feedback from writers you trust.  And don’t push your content until it meets your highest standards.

So…it’s time to start the conversation?  What do you think about these strategies?  Do you have other tips and tricks that have worked for you?  Share them below in the comments section!

Ruth Zive is a freelance copywriter and content marketing strategist.  She is mom-to-five (plus pooch), special needs advocate, designer handbag enthusiast, Ashtanga yoga devotee and vegetarian chocoholic.

25 Comments on "5 Ways to Initiate Conversation Through Content Marketing Strategy"

  1. Jim Syyap says:

    I am practicing on being more provocative on social media. Not to be negative, but more like constructive criticism.

  2. VeehCirra says:

    I have never heard of the provocative tip. I like the idea of pushing hot topics. Will definitely try it and see how it goes.

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      Go for it! And come post the link on my site when your ‘hot topic’ is live!

  3. Mark@High Resolution Images says:

    I am not a writer but learning from here. I loved your provocative tip.

  4. FCU says:

    The article is so very helpful because of the tips enumerated. Yes that’s right asking questions is very important in formulating in an article. It’s one way to interact with your readers by getting their insights on the issue you are raising. Great job

  5. Daniel | Propaganda House says:

    Not post Ruth with some good tips.

    Regarding being provocative, I agree that too many people spend to much time trying to please everyone. At the same time, it only takes one really bad statement to turn some readers off permanently, hence I think you need to think very carefully about what you include. Probably the best guide is how strongly you feel about something. If you have a desire to express an opinion than it’s authentic, if you have to think about creating provocative content then it’s probably better left out.

    Cheers
    Dan

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      I didn’t mean to imply provocation for the SAKE of controversy. Rather, don’t hold back from sharing your authentic opinion because you are worried about the fallout. I sidestep too often because I’m nervous to take a stand here in the blogosphere, where we are so vulnerable to feedback, criticism and judgment. While you are right, I think tending to much to the opposite end of the spectrum is also a mistake.

  6. Thank you for the post!

    I agree with the point number 1 – ask questions. Through this, you could be able to improve your work. Knowledge cannot be monopolized by a single person that’s why you have to gather opinions from others so that there will be a flow of info between you and your readers.. Aside from this you can also learn from others. It will give you the idea or a topic for your new blog.

  7. Yuri @ profoundtigger says:

    i have to agree with this. People are talking too much about their lives when they’re writing. When i write, i try to be as more specific and informative as possible. I normally wouldn’t talk about myself unless i use it as an example. But i try not to go overboard, this gives my readers a good insight while they’re reading my text.

  8. Galaxy SIII Review says:

    Hi Bamidele,

    I like your 4 th point that reader’s don’t care that what they all need is to access the content what they are looking for, if we failed to provide solutions, they leave from homepage. But if they feel they are landing a good source, they spread a word about the blog, subscribe and re visit like what you have engaged with readers in this blog.

    Your every post is well researched which always spread a fragrance around the blog.

    Thanks to the post.

    • Bamidele says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      The post wasn’t written by me, actually; it was written by Ruth Zive, so all thanks goes to her!

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      Wow – I’m flattered that you’ve mistaken my writing for Oni’s!

  9. Asking questions definitely works. I don’t agree with profanity. I think as writers we have words as our tools. Surely we can think of more descriptive words if we want to shock our readers, rather than stooping to profanity. I’ve always thought that people who resort to profanity don’t have enough words to express themselves. After all, they use the same words to describe joy, pain, suffering, anger etc.

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      I have indeed used profanity in my blog posts (not always…once in a while). I write my blog much like I speak, and admittedly, a little f-bomb slips into my vernacular now and then. So do feel that it’s my authentic voice. Needless to say, I would never, ever use profanity in one of my client’s materials (unless they asked :-)).

      But I hear your point – I understand that it offends some people. I actually find myself irritated by those blogs that are overwhelmed with profanity and dirty language, JUST for the sake of shock value. But perhaps those folks actually talk that way as well.

      I try not to use that language gratuitously, and it’s only ever used to really drive home a feeling or description (never, ever used in a malicious spirit). It’s an interesting debate though and I really appreciate your point of view Anne.

  10. Adrienne says:

    Excellent post Ruth, excellent.

    Wow did you ever tell people how this is done. I love that you shared it’s about the conversations. Things online have all turned in the direction of being more social so if you can incorporate that into your posts then you have a winning site.

    People keep asking me how I’m able to get so many comments on my posts but it’s hard to tell them to just be you. Write your posts like you are helping a good friend. Answer their comments because you care. It really is that easy..

    Really love this post and will share away. Thanks so much for this one.

    ~Adrienne

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      You’re the master at authenticity and engagement Adrienne! In fact – people should visit your site for a lesson on how it’s done right!

  11. Sylviane Nuccio says:

    Hi Ruth, I really like your content. Everything you said makes sense.

    I do know that being a bit provocative calls for people feedback, but I kinda shy away a bit from it too. All in all being out of the ordinary will always bring forth replies and comments and I think it’s a good idea not to always be all so nice and agreeable when we may find a way to be otherwise and taste the waters.

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      Well said!

  12. cash4wealth says:

    Ruth your article is compelling and most controversial,its just one of a kind.Quite expository anyway,good job.

  13. Sanna Hellström says:

    Hi Bamidele,

    You so ROCK!!!! PR 4?????? Wonderful!!!!! SO good for you!

    I have mentioned you today in on e of my blogposts!

    All positive! hope it´s ok!

    Best to you from your Swedish “granny” Sanna 🙂

    • Bamidele says:

      Thanks Sanna!

      Thanks a ton for the mention in your blog post! Is there a link to check it out, so I can comment and spread the word?

      YoungPrePro’s been PR4 for almost a year now; I’m praying to get an increase in the next update (not that it matters that much, though) 🙂

      Thanks so much for the support and positivity! I really appreciate it 🙂

  14. Kenny Fabre says:

    Ruth,

    I think that conversation first starts with adding value, and giving personal input and opinion on certain issues. A blog in general is a like a community for discussion and honest conversation.

    great post again Ruth blogging is one of the best ways to build interaction and conversation.

    Kenny Fabre
    Internet Marketing Blog

    • Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

      I agree – blogging has created such wonderful opportunity for networking, engagement, conversation. Whereas before, marketing (and even internet marketing) was static and flat, social media has opened it right up so that it is accessible to everyone.

  15. Tech Buzz says:

    Some really interesting points you have written. Thanks for the share : D.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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