One of the big themes of digital marketing in 2015 continues to be content. Every news site, tips site, and industry blog is talking about it. Content consistently makes the top lists of tactics for SEO moving into the future, and rightfully so.
Content allows you to distribute your message and show your knowledge, regardless of the industry you are in. Beyond attracting visitors to view your website, it also has the potential to bring in new links as people share and distribute your content through their own sites and social channels.
The strongest links you can get are from other high profile sites, or editorial sites. Sites like Medium, The Next Web, Fast Company, and even global news sites like USA Today provide the latest news and trends to their readers.
If your content is relevant to the reader base of those editorial sites and can get noticed by them, that editorial site may link to you. This link will provide immense value and can open your site up to new viewers and readers.
In a recent article on searchenginewatch.com, one writer states, “the easiest way to get editorial links is to create outstanding content that people will want to share with their readers.”
But how do you create outstanding content? You could write 100 articles and have only one actually gain any traction.
There are ways to increase this percentage and with a bit of testing and proper distribution, you can increase your chances of getting high quality links like those editorial links mentioned above.
A solid content strategy involves three basic steps; Topic selection, Resource Type selection, and Distribution.
Content Topic Selection
The most important part of writing content is selecting a topic. That sounds pretty obvious and straightforward, but with a misguided or irrelevant topic, no one will want to read what has been written.
To select a topic, start by thinking about what matters to the readers of your content. If you are serving a specific market, you can look into current trends or find out about recent news and updates pertinent to your readers. Write about insight into those trends and provide your own unique perspective on what is actually happening.
You can also figure out what your customers searching for. Are they looking for a solution to a problem? Or are they looking for a way to compare your product versus others in the market? Your content can provide these answers and, by being the author, you can control the message that is delivered.
Answer the following questions:
- What are the questions my customers are asking on a regular basis?
- What are problems my customers have that I can solve?
- What are recent trends in my industry?
- Are there problems in my industry that need to be discussed? And how can I help to fix them?
After you have a few highly relevant topics to write about, the next step is to figure out what form this content take. Most often the default will be a blog post, but for longer form pieces or more visual topics, different format, there are other options as well.
A blog post is best suited for shorter, less evergreen topics. Because of the turnover in your blog and articles getting pushed down over time, these pieces can be more timely with what is happening in the here and now. In addition, they won’t have to be as long. Most posts can be under 1,000 words and are used to quickly get the message out.
If you need more space for your content or the topic can remain relevant over a longer period of time, then a landing page may be more useful. Landing pages are also ideal if the content is closely related with one of your products or solutions. This is because it can be linked to from the product page and live within the main hierarchy of your site.
When a topic needs a visual explanation, an infographic is an excellent option. Infographics can be used to deliver the results of a survey or to describe how a product works, or any other topic really. Ultimately infographics allow for a lot of creativity and an added bonus is that infographics are 30 times more likely to be shared than a text article.
A white paper is typically used for technical content or for content that is downloaded and in longer form. White papers are useful because a form-fill is often placed in front of them so you can capture visitors’ email addresses and contact info as they download the file. White papers act as mini ebooks and are usually written over a longer period of time and sometimes feature chapters or subsections within the piece.
Finally, you’ll need to get your content out to your audience. How can anyone call your latest article outstanding if they never see it?
The easiest way to begin to distribute your content is to use your social channels. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and any other social network your brand is a part of. As the content is published it should be pushed out to your networks so your followers are notified and can start sharing it.
Twitter lends itself to news-related or trending topics, as does Facebook. For longer term content, Linkedin and other networks can be used.
In addition to social channels, another great way to distribute your content is through email. If you have an existing customer base with their contact information, or if you have been collecting names and email addresses for an email newsletter, you can include your latest content in scheduled emails.
With these guidelines you can begin to create compelling content that your customers and market will want to read and consume. Now all you’ll need to do is get out there and start writing! Problems need solving and your customers need answers. Just make sure you are the one providing these solutions and not your competitors.