People who work online are becoming ever more familiar with the concept that decent, well-written content secures decent and well-informed results for SEO and marketing. I’d claim though, that although we all know it – some of us still refuse to invest in excellent content and content strategy in the same way we’d invest in good developers, designers and marketers. Here are a few tips to help you polish your Content strategy and hopefully help you perfect it.
1) Choosing quality content over cheap content
You know when you come across a spelling mistake in your favourite novel and for a second you feel hugely excited that you spotted the mistake and the big-time publishing editor didn’t? That is the only occasion when a spelling mistake is good.
When you find content online that has been written poorly, or that has awful grammar throughout, it isn’t fun – it’s just annoying. If you’re going to invest time in content, be sure to do it properly. Find a writer who is confident with their writing style (freelance or in-house) and who is fluent in the language you want the content to be written in. It is tempting sometimes, to be swayed by cheap rates from abroad, which will get you 500 words for £3. But, usually, you’ll get what you pay for – and that might not be great for your business or your brand.
- Your content is the voice of your brand. If your content reads as messy and lazy – those traits will reflect back on you, your product or service you’re selling. Choose content that is engaging and interesting and the same goes. It’s hardly a tough decision.
- Your content effects your SEO. Well written, original content – not spun or copied, will give you much more noticeable and immediate results.
- Good content will keep your clients or customers coming back for more. Spark some debate, be controversial, be witty, do something. People like to read (believe it or not) and once you give someone something they like they’ll always come back looking for more.
I’m assuming now that you’re convinced about investing in quality content. I’m hoping so at the very least. However, that’s only a small (although very important) part of designing a great content strategy.
You need to be thinking about where you’re going to display all this amazing content and all these great articles. Of course, some of it will be displayed on your website and on your own company blog (if you don’t have a company blog, get one) – choose the strongest of your content for here as you will want to reap the biggest SEO benefits from them. As a super quick check list, make sure you’ve remembered the following:
- Use informative titles with key words and phrases.
- Include sub-titles and sub-headings with key words and phrases too.
- Ensure your content writer has included any outgoing links or keywords you asked for.
- Link to related businesses or products.
- Be sure to tag the content with relevant phrases before publishing.
- Share the content via your social media platforms after it goes live.
- If people comment, be sure to reply. It makes them feel valued. And special.
This should ensure you’re getting the most out of the content you’re publishing on your own sites, pages and blogs.
3) Embrace guest blogging
You’ll want to remember to guest blog too – and for this you’ll need some more of that awesome content we were talking about earlier. Guest blogging is one of the best ways of being seen and heard by new people and industries. Look for popular blogs or websites (that would be interested in your product or service) with big followings and loyal readers. Make sure the content is something they’ll want to read. There’s little point sending an article about cheap flight deals to “I have a fear of flying magazine” – they’ll just hate you.
(I don’t know if “I have a fear of flying magazine” exists. If they do – Hi. Give me your views on this. Which articles would you like to be sent?)
Guest blogging is a great way of getting added traffic to your site and extra links, so make your content enthusiastic and exciting and give the readers a reason to spend that extra five minutes online opening a new tab and checking you out. Generally, you should be aiming to guest blog for someone once a week (if you can do more, then go for it). Find variation and cast your nets wide.
But what if you’re too busy to guest blog that often?
Ok, then this is not the end of the world. Maybe you’re not actually lazy, maybe you’re just busy. If this is the case, there is nothing stopping you from getting someone to guest blog for you instead.
Every time a guest blogger writes for you on your site, they’ll most likely be linking to it from their own site (and social media feeds) so you can win this way too. Pick your guest bloggers wisely. Choose them for their level of knowledge, their enthusiasm for the industry and their public profile. Think of it this way: If you get David Beckham to blog on your Football website it will without a doubt draw in more of a readership than Dave the local 5-a-side referee from your village. Sure, that was an extreme example but you get the idea.
4) Timing is everything
Timing is and always will be important. Don’t publish your content at stupid hours of the morning when no one will read it. Don’t publish it on a bank holiday when people have got other things planned. Don’t publish it on a Monday morning when people are getting through a weekend back-log of emails. Just use common sense.
If you are on Twitter, use a tool to find out what time is optimal for you to tweet. Here is a post on Mashable with a few tools that allow you to do this.
Here is a funny photograph (for your enjoyment) to illustrate how good perfect timing can be.
In addition to having quality content, you need to have content that feels and sounds like it’s coming from your brand. Make sure your content writer is aware of what kind of tone to take when writing and what kind of style to take also. These need to be consistent and in-line with what you’re offering in terms of a product or service.
If you are producing content about medicine or legal advice for example – people will expect a formal, informative style. If you’re telling people about different options for stag and hen parties, feel free to introduce some humour and banter. It’s all about know what is appropriate and what isn’t.
6) Concentrate on your social media content too
Most companies and brands are using social media as a marketing tool now, so you should be too. Anything you publish or release on here is also classed as content so make sure you pay attention to this too! Keep your Twitter and Facebook accounts (and others) active and engaging and keep the content just as good here as you would on your main blog.
Twitter and Facebook should be a taster or teaser to the main blog and should give people an idea of what to expect, so keep that in mind. When retweeting people – be selective and the same goes for sharing links. Try and retweet things you know your followers will be interested in, otherwise you might find people ignoring your feed or just blocking it.
Of course, all of this requires a lot of effort on your part and it seems that more and more companies are realising perhaps they need to create a dedicated role for content management. If your budget isn’t that big though and you can’t get someone else on board, these tips are hopefully actionable and simple enough for you to start doing it yourself. As with anything, the effort and energy you put in will be directly correlated to the results you see. Content is an incredible tool which when harnessed and managed properly can work wonders.