Creating content is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a part of your online strategy. Fresh content achieves the following:
- Allows you to be seen as an authority in your industry.
- Creates trust in your brand.
- Creates brand awareness.
Content also allows you to be able to build your website into an authority site and ensure that fresh content is seen and indexed in Google for your chosen keywords. It is proven that the more content a website has, the more traffic it receives. This is self-evident as you are creating content for your brand, relating to your key-terms (i.e. target market buying queries) and therefore showing up in Google for more brand/industry associated keywords.
But what is good content? Is all content created equal and why do businesses struggle so much to create ‘outstanding content’? To aid in answering this, we recently created a free SEO whitepaper that covers how to create good content, which you can visit and download by clicking here.
Firstly, to create amazing content you need a great idea. For this, we have created 5 tried and tested themes on how to produce the idea for your next content marketing campaign, which also come with easy to follow, actionable tips on how you can start today to develop your content plan for the next 5 months (by following these guidelines).
NB: Stay tuned until the end of the post where we will give you a bonus content idea that is currently achieving massive results for clients and brands.
How do we go about creating outstanding content? To create outstanding content we must first develop the idea process. Content is created that at its most basic level fits 5 types of profiles; emotional, social currency, practical/adds value, seasonal/event and review based.
This type of content reflects an emotional attachment to what is being written about commonly when you and the reader share a mutual feeling about a subject that either you think is funny, sad, makes you angry or makes you cry.
Press articles are usually created with this in mind, with the headlines structured to appeal to these audiences. An emotional piece of content usually gets more engagement as people feel passionate about this form. The types of articles based around this form of content are usually; events, opinion based, controversial, charitable, humanity focused or empathetic.
Top Tip No. 1: Look for content ideas in the industry by researching forums, discussion boards, blogs and industry news sites to look for themes that people are talking about passionately.
For example, say we had a company that was in the sugar-free soft drinks industry. By searching in Google for “sugar-free drinks” + “forums” we are able to find forums where people are already talking passionately about this area, so we can read peoples comments and create an article on this subject niche.
Social currency is the process of creating content that adds value to another person (influencer’s piece of work).
By creating a piece of content that goes into more depth, challenges or adds value to another person’s piece of work, you are both reinforcing their content and also putting yourself on their radar as someone who adopts their work.
This strategy works really well when an influencer/industry source has already created a piece of content, to which you then research their ideas further and add value to the piece. It can also work by using information that the influencer has provided in one of their articles and proving their idea works by creating a case study. This form of content marketing works in all industries and is a great way to get content ideas and build industry relationships.
Top Tip No. 2: Read blogs within your industry and follow influencers (on Twitter) on your subject area to find out what content they regularly produce. The best way is to sign up to their newsletters so you get notified on when they create new content.
Practical & Adds Value
Content that adds value can be anything that is specific to an individual. Value is in the eye of the beholder and if their work or life has been enhanced in any way, shape or form then you have given value.
In this instance, we are focusing more on creating actionable content that people are able to follow which allows them to achieve a desired result. This content is most commonly found when businesses produce how-to guides, steps to solve problems, checklists, etc. This particular piece of content not only provides value for your reader but also builds brand trust. As these pieces of content can take a long time to build (some essential how-to guides are 5,000 – 10,000 words long), they have a higher perceived value. It is always the case to produce content that adds value, but content marketing ideas such as these should be an integral part of your business marketing strategy.
Top Tip No. 3: Do your research by reading forums, blogs and listening to your customer service/social media platforms. What is the one area that people need help with the most when using your product or service? Think about “how can I add value to my customers by helping them”, for example, a website that sells car radio equipment may create a how-to guide (or video) on how to install the unit in specific car models. Added value creates competitive advantage.
Seasonal & Event Based Content
Content that does particularly well in the majority of industries is usually based on seasonal events or trends. Seasonal content has an instant demand and people are far more receptive to content based around key seasons than at any other time. For example, if we created a piece of content around the best Christmas toys in March the engagement would be far less than an article placed around November/December. This is the same with events, where brands tend to create content around them to piggyback on the rising demand at that time.
Top Tip No. 4: Plan your content in line with your own company events or seasonality. If a member of your team has done something for charity, won an award or is planning to create a Christmas gift guide, make sure the press/industry websites know about it before and after.
In this day and age with the increase of online purchasing from a variety of new and established online websites, personal recommendation is the highest form of marketing. This could either be from a third party review site, a magazine you read or a friend/family member endorsing something you are thinking of purchasing. For these reasons, focusing on creating this type of content alone should be the highest priority in not just your online but also your off-line marketing strategy. These strategies are tried and tested and an evolution of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. A product review establishes trust, social proof that this works (or doesn’t as the case may be) and creates brand awareness amongst your peers. Product reviews can be from industry magazines, social platforms, newspapers and from websites that your target market read.
Top Tip No. 5: Source websites/blogs in your industry and approach them with an offer that you will send them your product or service for them to review. If you are struggling to find third-party blogs/websites to review your products, send an email to your previous customers and offer them an incentive (gift voucher/discount code) for them to review your products which you can then upload to your website and share on social.
Bonus Content: The Number 1 Content Marketing Strategy You Should Be Using Is…
Newsjacking is very popular in the online press world and refers to hijacking a story that has just broken in the press to promote your own brand message/credibility. The art in this approach is getting into the story early enough before many other people have featured it, as when a story breaks, the lifetime of it being relevant news is very short. Most stories die out in 3-5 days (some get over referenced in a matter of hours), so getting in early is critical.
Newsjacking doesn’t just involve covering the story though, it involves putting your brand at the centre. If a story just got released about the dangers of sugar in kids soft drinks, a non-sugar soft drink brand could create a story around this research and start to address this issue by offering free non-sugar soft drinks to the first 1,000 readers. Being quick is at the heart of this strategy to ride the momentum of the original breaking story. The worse thing to do is spend time planning and thinking, it involves action and therefore acting in the moment rather than preparing the campaign methodically. So, how do you go about starting your newsjacking campaign?
Quick How-To Guide on Newsjacking:
1. Set up alerts
You need to start monitoring the news at certain levels; industry, nationwide and blogs/websites. You can do this by setting up and signing onto news sites RSS feeds relating to the levels mentioned above. Another good way of keeping ahead of the story is to setup mentions on social (in particular twitter) for keywords that you associate your brand with. You can do this through many social media management tools such as Hootsuite, BuzzBundle, etc.
Also, you sign-up to Google alerts (which is an older strategy, but still used). Check out Blogging basics 101’s guide on how to setup alerts with your Google account here.
Lastly, you can frequently check Google to see if there has been a piece of news released recently that is related to your industry or on a subject you can newsjack. To do this you can do the following:
1. Google search industry keyword and set results to news (in our example sugar-free drinks).
2. Click ‘search tools’
, then ‘recent
‘ and change date to ‘past 24 hours’
3. Check through the results to see if any news has been mentioned for your key phrase.
4. In this instance, you could create an article based on why you agree with the sugar tax and offer readers the chance to try your brand of sugar free soft drinks by offering a free sample for the first 1,000 readers (use this as a hook when you contact the press).
5. Hint: If you scroll to the bottom you can create a Google alert (as we mentioned earlier in the post) and get any breaking news on the subject to your email account.
Are you struggling to create outstanding content? Do you need further clarification on our tips? Contact our Lead SEO Consultant, James Foote, email@example.com / 01793 238 697