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Published By: Entrepeneur

What’s the point of a top-notch content strategy when your writing doesn’t appeal to your target audience? The answer is, there is no point. You can write status updates for eternity, and you can kneel before the Google gods. But without engaging, quality content, you’ll still struggle to win customers.

The best content strategy for entrepreneurs — the strategy that will actually help drive your business and attract more customers — is quite simple. It’s all about writing solid content that speaks directly to your customers’ needs. Entrepreneurs with the most successful content strategies will ensure that all content is relevant and engaging for their intended audience.

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Below are the top three ways to create content that wins customers and builds your business. From now on, before you hit publish, ask yourself — Does this piece of content meet all three of these criteria? If it does, you’re good to go. If not, rethink it.

1. Help your readers solve a specific challenge.

I call this “the problem-solving factor.” If your content has this, it’s golden. If it doesn’t, it needs serious work. Whenever people click on a link to your content, they’re expecting to find value. They could be looking for value in terms of entertainment or amusement, but most likely, they’re looking for value in terms of useful knowledge. Specifically, the type of knowledge that can help solve their business problems. Your content should aim to give potential customers the value they’re looking for, right off the bat — knowledge about how to solve challenges specific to their field of business.

Let’s say you’re a sales consultant. If most of your clients struggle to make successful prospecting phone calls, then you would be wise to write a series of blog posts or articles about how to prospect effectively by telephone. In doing so, you write content that attracts your ideal potential clients — those who are struggling with prospecting by telephone — and at the same time, you position yourself as an expert on your prospects’ biggest challenge.

If all of your content helps readers solve a challenge in this way, the benefits for you are two-fold. First, your content begins to establish you as an authority and thought leader in your area of expertise. And second, readers begin to trust your advice, making it exponentially more likely that they’ll eventually give you their business. Not bad, huh?

2. Write conversationally, not formally.

Customers want to read content that helps solve their problems. But no matter how helpful your content is, it will always fall flat if you use the wrong tone. Far too many entrepreneurs take on a formal, stuffy and even pretentious, tone when writing business content. Pretentious is the last thing you want your content to be. Not only will it make your content less engaging, but it will also alienate your customers. Ouch.

Related: Want to Develop a Memorable Blog? Here Are 3 Keys for Doing Just That.

If you write with a friendly, conversational tone, you’ll appeal to your customers as a knowledgeable peer with the expertise to help them. That’s exactly what good business content should do. Formality is one of the biggest pitfalls of business writing. In their attempts to sound professional, entrepreneurs frequently end up writing content that doesn’t connect with anyone at all.

Keep these five tips in mind to help you write conversationally:

  1. It’s OK to start a sentence with a conjunction such as but, so, and or yet.
  2. Prepositions like with, for, in and on can be used at the end of a sentence.
  3. You can use exclamation points! Just use them sparingly and wisely.
  4. It’s OK to use “I” in your writing, when it makes for a stronger story.
  5. Contractions such as I’m, don’t, can’t and doesn’t are fine additions to business content.

3. Provide your readers with actionable ideas.

It’s time to start creating actionable content for your customers. After all, it’s the only kind of content that reliably converts to actual business. Instead of offering vague ideas that could theoretically help your customers, give them specific calls-to-action throughout your content. This approach will dramatically improve your writing, and engage prospects on a deeper level.

Related: How to Boost Customer Loyalty Using Analytics and Actionable Insights

Tell your customers exactly what to do — right now — to begin to see results. First, determine what results your customers are most interested in achieving. Then create doable, actionable tips that your customers can easily implement today, tomorrow or next week. Content that compels readers to take specific actions is the most powerful business content out there. Why? Because once your readers begin to implement your ideas in their business — and see good results — they’ll be much more likely to reach out to you to do business.

No matter what industry you’re in, creating customer-winning content is central to a successful business strategy. Implement these three easy steps, and watch as your business content attracts more customers to your products and services.

Reader Resource.