Compelling Content in the New Age of Google Part II
In my last post, we discussed the footprints of compelling content to learn how to find examples of outstanding content in your industry. Additionally, the post discussed metrics that every content marketer should measure.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to develop compelling content in the new age of Google and provide an easy to remember checklist for content development after Penguin.
Developing Compelling Content
Having content that is pertinent and relevant to your audience is a key component of successful content. Amy Parmenter suggests asking yourself the question, “Who cares?” when developing compelling content. The importance of understanding your audience and the stories they want to read, share and engage with is clear but is often lost in the details.
Take the time to understand your audience and what they read online. Here are a few tips to help you stay up-to-date on what is pertinent and relevant to your core audience.
- Setup Google Alerts and follow industry blogs and news sites
- Conduct exercises in social listening and competitive research
- Poll your audience to find out what they want to read
- Brainstorm with staff members
- Utilize keyword research to find content opportunities
- Interview influential users in the industry
Over-delivering on your content in all areas, from images to depth of knowledge shared, is what engages audiences these days. ContentKeen.com suggests focusing on four areas:
- Value: Content with value can offer something different, goes above and beyond and is unique.
- Medium: Utilize the right medium that offers the most engagement – blog post, video, podcast, or other?
- Tone: Audiences differ and tone or voice should differ as well. What type of tone works best with your audience? Professional vs. casual or maybe controversial vs. non-biased.
- Reaction: Gauge your audience’s reaction, monitor results and revise as needed. Ask your audience for their input, showing them they have a voice too – and that you actually care to hear it.
In a Post-Penguin world, anchor text is a hot topic. Overuse of anchor text, as Arnie explained in a recent video, is something many website owners should be concerned with. Fellow VM-er Michael Schwartz wrote about the perils of oversaturated anchor text and provides us with insight that can be used in content marketing efforts.
- Use longtail anchor text or hyperlink a few words before and after your priority term
- “Click here” and generic types of anchor text are appropriate hyperlinks
- Link to a mix of internal pages, don’t overuse anchor text pointing to the same page
- Remember that linking is still valuable, but doing so in a natural way is of the utmost importance
Sure, a piece of content can be compelling without graphics or images – but who doesn’t like a few pretty pictures? Thick content with copy, images, headings, and links is Google friendly. Add graphics and images to content, but don’t forget to optimize. Utilize alt tags and natural keywords to identify this type of content for search engines.
Don’t forget to optimize your graphics for social media as well. Pinterest is a popular social channel and with a few tweaks, you can get maximum benefit out of your efforts. This can also translate into shares, social links and traffic back to your site. This Infographic discusses how to optimize images for Pinterest and is good advice for developing compelling image content as well.
Duplicate content and spun content is not at all Penguin friendly. In this sense, unique content is mandatory. Additionally important is the uniqueness to your audience as well – topic, take, voice, style, etc…Finding examples of unique content is easy but developing it is quite another. There must be the right element of taste and talent. An intangible quality, the level of taste and talent exuded in a content piece can often dictate its success. It might involve the colors that pair well together, a concept explained in a very unique way, or even the writers prose. Each of these elements when done without taste or talent can cause a content piece to flounder.
Think about ways to spice up your content to provide a unique take on a topic. Learn from experts to understand how they’ve been able to execute successful unique content. When you start to get frustrated remember: if at first you don’t succeed – try, try again. Test out some ideas and see what works. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Successful content will address a need or interest. Arnie discussed this in his content marketing and SEO post from a few weeks ago. He shared the top three reasons people go online is to learn, to have fun, and to socialize. Additionally, respondents to the Ruder Finn survey that gathered this information stated expressing themselves, advocating and doing business round out the top reasons consumers go online. Ask yourself how your content will address at the very minimum one of those needs or interests in some way.
Now you’re a publisher! Realize this and start to treat your content accordingly. Don’t forget each of the items we discussed in this post, that are important to creating compelling content in a post-Penguin world. Start to think like a publisher does: improve content processes, strive to foster a community around your content and get the word out.
Content After-Penguin Checklist
P: Pertinent and relevant
E: Engaging for your target audience
N: Natural use of anchor text
I: Interesting enough to engage users
N: Now you’re a publisher!
Are you ready to start developing content? With the above listed tips you’ve got a good start!