Everybody’s at it. Blogging, writing articles, compiling white papers and creating infographics. My Twitter account updates every millisecond with another “5 tips to [insert business objective here]”.
With all of the Panda and Penguin malarkey over the last couple of years, SEOs have been evangelising over creating more and more content for any website. And they’re right, good content creates natural inbound links, drives people to your site and hopefully makes sure they keep coming back.
However, now everybody’s doing it, how can you gain a competitive edge? What makes your “10 steps to creating a great Facebook campaign” more relevant than any of the other 782 million search results?
(No joke, by the way…)
It may sound obvious, but make sure the content is relevant to your business. I’ve worked for various companies who jumped on the content bandwagon, targeting content to topics their customers were interested in, but not having the authority to be talking about the subject themselves.
No matter how much a company selling home insurance knows that its customers own houses, it doesn’t mean they should start up a blog about interior decorating. Although you can see the connection from an internal business point of view (and it must be more interesting than writing about insurance), you then move into a space where you’re not just competing with other insurance companies, but interior decorating sites, paint suppliers, soft furnishing companies etc. All of whom I’d probably rather go to for advice on which paint colour goes with my new taupe cushions than a company that specialises in claims management.
There are certain sectors which may not seem that exciting, and content ideas may seem a little dry. However, if you’re creating relevant, useful content that people actually need, no matter how seemingly dull, you will start to attract the customers that have a genuine need for your product or service, and are much more likely to convert.
This video is on how to fold a fitted sheet. It’s not the most exciting of subjects, but it’s been viewed almost 1.5 million times.
As we saw earlier, there are often millions of web pages out there with very similar content. The ones that really stand out, and work, are those that tell us something we didn’t know before. This can be tough, especially with the vast amount of information out there, but there is always something you can do to make your content different. (If there’s not, then maybe you should consider picking another subject).
Some ways you could consider making your content more individual are:
- If it’s a popular topic, add your opinion. If you’re an expert, your readers will be interested in knowing what you think.
- Add in examples from your own experience or data you’ve collected. This will be something only you have.
- Consider using different formats. If everybody’s writing a guide on your subject, could it also work as a video? Do you have any stats that could make an interesting infographic?
It’s not necessarily a case of finding a brand new subject to talk about, but just doing it in a more original way.
Often clients will say to me that they don’t want to share too much content publicly, in case a competitor sees it. Or they feel they’re giving away too much information, so that potential customers won’t actually need their service. I think one of the best sites that show how genuine sharing can really work is SEOMoz. They have a fantastic library of resources taking people step by step from the basics of SEO to the most recent research and findings.
I’ve used this free information for a while and been very grateful for it. It also meant that when I was in the market for a paid-for SEO tool, they were the first place I went.
If you can set your site up as the most authoritative in your market, it may not result in immediate conversions, but it will result in repeat visitors, loyal advocates, word of mouth marketing and eventual sales. If you write some genuinely interesting information for your target market, they will share it too – for free.
This blog was inspired by content overload. As competition increases and inbound marketing starts to take over from traditional digital methods, it’s only going to get more difficult. This blog isn’t finished! I’ll add to it next time…