Let’s face it, for most of us creating authentic, quality content is hard. It takes attention, time, and, well, trying. But if you can’t make the work go away, you can at least systemitize and tame it so it doesn’t feel that way.
To start with the basics, content marketing is about creating informational, educational and entertaining posts on your blog and social channels. It’s not about hawking products or self-promotion; on the contrary you want to attract and build rapport with your audience by sharing something of value.
Since you’re creating (or commissioning) the content you get to optimize the text with the keywords you want to rank for (SEO), to attract more organic traffic and rank higher on Google’s and Bing’s search results pages (SERPS). Here are a few tips that help us tame the workflow and make the chore a routine.
Know Your Audience and Your Voice
Who are you writing for? What’s their typical level of expertise in your industry? What platforms are they using? Decide your tone of voice — authorative, friendly, humourous, geeky — and create a style guide to keep you on track, something that’s essential if you will have other people writing with you. Know your audience, meet them halfway, and always include an appropriate call to action.
Mind Your Keywords
Back in the day, loading your content up with keywords might have been effective. Although this is no longer the case, keywords are still important to determine whether or not your content is relevant to what the user is searching. Today, Google and Bing’s algorithms are all about the quality and authority of a page — the depth of the content, links to outside resources, and how many pages link back to you. Search engine ‘bots’ regularly crawl every public page of the Internet, and rank whether it will offer value to people who want to know more about the content. Page titles and keywords should also be used in the meta data about a page, which the searcher sees and tempts them to click.
Be Kind to Bots and They’ll be Kind to You!
H1 tags tell search engines’ bots which content on the page is most important. Yet, we often see content where the title and the section heads all are tagged H1. It’s the equivalent of screaming “ALL THE SECTIONS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT” but instead of getting attention, all it does is
confuse the search algorithm which doesn’t know ‘who’s on first.’ Not good. Same goes with carefully crafting the meta tags, so when potential visitors have a good idea of the site content. They can determine if it’s relevant and valuable to them.
If bots like tags, people like consistency. Therefore it’s important to devise a regular publishing schedule (frequency, days, send time) that you can keep to, which will subtly train your audience to expect a message from you at those times. While quality is more important than quantity, consistency is just as important to building and retaining an audience.
To come up with a schedule take a look at what kind of content you’re publishing, or have subscribed to personally. The general rule is that if your content is bi-weekly or less frequent, it should be rich with information. For example, a monthly newsletter should hold a lot of value, but if you post nearly every day a simple tip or a light hearted meme might be fine.
Keep Your Shelves Stocked!
Create content ahead of time to use when you have writer’s block — we all get it — or just don’t have time period. You can keep a folder of these as a ‘break in case of emergency’ tool. Of course, once you use this safety stock, it must be replaced. So that following period, you will need to create content to post as well as a replacement for the safety stock you used.
What if you run dry and out of ideas? Last month we posted links to three free ‘title generators’ that can help you get un-stuck:
Need More Help?
Although writing your own content will capture your tone, values and knowledge better than anyone else can, if you don’t have the time or a team member who does, consider outsourcing content development. It can cost less than you think, and like eggs is cheaper by the dozen posts.
While we’ve found that even the best writers won’t score 100% on every submission, it’s a lot faster to put your ‘touch’ on a prepared draft than starting from scratch. Here are a few services we’ve used successfully:
- Upwork lets freelancers submit proposals to you if they are interested in your project, or you can find freelancers and invite them to apply.
- Fiverr is similar to Upwork but here the freelancer usually posts a flat offer, and you compare to see who best fits your needs and budget.
- Acadium connects businesses with digital marketing apprentices who work unpaid for 90 days in exchange for guidance and mentorship. Though many are just starting out, others bring a ton of related experience, and can be really helpful to a cash-strapped business.
From concept to to screen to customer, RCDM Studio helps businesses increase their revenue with world class digital media development and marketing services. Book a free consultation and let’s talk about how to improve your web traffic and sales.