As an SEO, I talk a lot about developing great websites that earn top rankings, as opposed to manipulating search engine algorithms for temporary gains. There is a lot that goes into a good SEO campaign, one of the most important being your website’s content.
Yet, it seems that many sites are at a disadvantage when it comes to content development. Informational sites do wonders at pumping out pages and pages of articles, blog posts, tips, how-to’s, videos and tutorials. But, this is a drawback for e-commerce sites. Oh wait… I guess e-commerce sites can do that, too! Hmmmm…
Unfortunately, many SEOs are up against the mindset from e-commerce site owners that content is just an annoyance rather than a help. They want rankings but don’t want to create the content necessary to get them there. They don’t want to create articles, blog posts, tips, how-to’s, videos or tutorials. Why? Because all that takes time.
Why do all that when you can just hire an SEO to do whatever it is they do to get top search engine rankings?
But that is what we do. Or at least, it’s what we do when we’re given freedom and a budget to work with. Businesses don’t want to take time to do all of these things because they don’t have time and/or don’t know how to do it right. Fair enough. But it also takes time for the SEOs to do it – especially if you want them to do it right.
Develop a Strategy for Producing Great Content
Every good piece of content starts with a strategy. Or rather, it starts with an idea of a strategy. Some ideas are better than others, and each can serve a different purpose. Content strategy is more than just writing about what you know; it’s about identifying topics you can write about that also provide value to readers and drive traffic and customers to your site.
Strategy also includes how, when and where your content will be published. Blogs are great publishing platforms, but some content is better published elsewhere – maybe on your site, maybe on another site. Either way, you have to think strategically about each piece of content so that it’s published in the right place at the right time on the right platform.
Do Your Due Diligence as Part of Your Content Development
Before you take your idea and turn it into the written (or spoken) word, you might have to do some due diligence. If you’re writing about the 10 best ski resorts in the nation, you’re actually going to have to find out which ten are the best. Sure it’s subjective, but you can’t just pull ten resorts out of the, uh, snow and pronounce them the best. You’ll have to set criteria for rating and research each resort for those criteria.
Other pieces of content might require interviews, soliciting opinions or a companion video piece. These are all things to consider in the development stage. The better prepared you are, the better each piece of content will ultimately be.
Write, Proof and Publish Your Content
There is more to writing a blog post than just writing a blog post. Any good writer will tell you that all articles, blog posts, tips, how-to’s, videos and tutorials require some thought in order to convey the message properly for your company and your readers. Yes, things like sentence structure, paragraph usage, headings and even linear thought are important! Remember all that stuff you ignored in high school because you never thought you’d use it? Well, this is where it matters.
After writing your content, take some time away from it. Take a few hours (or even days, if possible) to let an article “rest.” This time allows you to come back to it with fresher eyes. You’ll often find, upon re-reading, that a point you were trying to make didn’t quite come across as you intended. Or a joke you thought was hilarious was really a clunker. A good proofreading can help you dramatically improve your article by adding additional thoughts that escaped you during the initial draft. Or, maybe just add in some better jokes.
Socialize Your Content Effectively
Socializing your content isn’t quite as easy as publishing a 140-character summary on twitter. In fact, good social media marketing begins long before your article is even written. That’s because you have to have a strong social media presence if you want any one article to socialize well.
Not every article should be socialized the same. Yes, you can use Twitter to broadcast every article, blog post, tip, how-to, video and tutorial you write, but that’s the beginning rather than the end of your social media efforts. Which takes us all the way back to strategy.
Good content starts and ends with a good content marketing strategy. Can anyone do it? Yes. Does the employee who already has a full-time job have the ability to do it? Possibly. But if you really want your content to succeed, you need to be sure your entire content strategy is designed for success, not designed as an afterthought.
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