Creating content is easy. There, we said it. Anyone can ‘compile research’ via a trusty 5 minute Google search only to regurgitate the same information into one neat little article for your blog or newsfeed. The only problem is no one’s going to read it! Creating good content – the kind of content that doesn’t just get read but gets shared and converted into customers – is a much trickier task. It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to producing content that people will actually respond to, and it’s true there’s no exact science to it, but if you’re willing to delve a little deeper in your research and follow some tried and tested advice you stand a better chance of creating content that will really be king.
Let’s start with the basics…
Living vs Backfill Content
All content is not cut from the same cloth – there is living content and there is backfill content; also known as the kind of content you want, and the kind that you definitely don’t.
The main difference between living and backfill content is who they’re trying to impress. When you produce living content you have the reader in mind, the individual, the potential customer – you’re writing a blog post or an article designed to engage, inform, and entertain a human being enough to impress them and draw them further into your website.
Backfill content is written to impress search engines. It is cheap, quick, and easy to produce, filled with keywords and key phrases, and designed to manipulate search engines into placing you at page 1 – be warned, if by some miracle it does get you there it won’t last for long!
Build Up Your Brand
Relying on backfill content to get you ranking can seem like its working, but with lazy, unreadable, keyword drenched content you’ll look unreliable and won’t to inspire any reader to click through to your site, let alone become valued customers.
Don’t think of content as a tool to get you to the top of the search engines, think of it as work you’re proud to have your company name on. It’s all about building faith, trust, and awareness of your brand so the fresher and higher quality the better. This is the content that gets shared across social platforms, reaches the widest demographics, and turns casual site visitors into paying customers who have faith in your services and will recommend your brand.
Remember, you wouldn’t eat at a restaurant covered in dirt and grime, and you wouldn’t trust a website stuffed with backfill content.
Be Keyword Crafty
Here’s where it gets trickier – we’ve established that cramming your content full of keywords is a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that keywords aren’t a crucial element of SEO!
Keyword research is the second most important factor of creating good content for SEO (the most important is creating good content in general!). You need to know what your customers are searching for so you can give them the answer; bringing the customers to you. There are a variety of tools designed to help you establish exactly what keywords and search terms people are using to find your goods and services, your job is to incorporate them into your content subtly, sporadically and, crucially, naturally.
Keyword placement has evolved from a science to an art; where it used to be common and successful practice to overload your content with specific keywords and phrases in precise orders for search engine success, today’s algorithms are smarter and they feed off quality content. A well written piece of content that incorporates the searchers language is the best way to achieve success.
Know Your Audience
Writing styles fluctuate and change over time but there’s one piece of advice that’s always relevant: write what you know. If you know your audience inside out appealing to them will be that much easier, so before you start putting together content ideas, you need to delve into your market and find out as much as you can.
- Who are they?
- What do they need?
- Why do they need it?
- What motivates them to buy?
- What is their age group?
- What problems are they facing?
- What are they sharing?
Social media is your best friend when it comes to engaging with and getting to know your target market, so use it to your advantage to find out who ‘they’ really are.
If social media has taught us anything it’s that people want to know what is happening immediately, right now, and they want to let everyone else know too. This doesn’t just mean keeping on top of industry news and making sure you weigh in on the matter (though that is something you should be doing), it means if there’s a cultural event, a pop culture phenomenon, or a world shaking news story see if you can join the conversation.
Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, the Olympics, the Royal Baby, World Cup Fever and the General Election – what do they all have in common? They’re used to sell everything from gym memberships to home insurance and everything in between, with varying degrees of success. Don’t force relevance where there is none, but do try and keep up with the conversation.
Don’t forget to share content, videos, podcasts, and news stories that aren’t necessarily produced by you – a Twitter feed that’s nothing but self-promotion isn’t going to get you much attention.
Fresh, Relevant, Informative, Well Written…
Stick to these four principles, keep an eye on your social channels, and keep track of what your audience is searching for to make sure your content is king.