Regardless of whether you run a local brick-and-mortar shop or an online business that caters to people worldwide, content marketing should be the first place you get started in your overall marketing strategy. Why? The right content strategy can help you generate traffic to your website, grabbing the attention of prospective customers who are conducting search queries related to your business and helping you build trust and authority with your target audience.
With all that in mind, what makes for good content that achieves the above goals? How can you create content that’s informative, compelling, and designed to help you bring in more quality traffic? Let’s look at some best practices for good content to utilize in your content strategy
Aim to Inform & Advise Readers
The primary objective of great content is to be informative and actionable. After all, when you type something into Google’s search bar, you’re looking for answers or advice. Whenever you start planning a piece of content for your business, ask yourself the following;
- Does this help the reader better understand the topic they were searching for?
- Did I answer their main question (as well as any other relevant questions)?
- Did I provide them with a guide they can easily follow and apply?
- If I were to read this content, would this content satisfy my needs?
- Did I double-check to ensure that all the advice is accurate, current, and relevant?
You develop trust with customers when you provide the most informative and accurate pieces of content on a subject. As you continue to educate your readers and give them actionable advice, your site’s authority will grow. Your readers should be able to walk away with something new every time they visit your blog or social platforms.
Create Engaging Content
There’s nothing worse than finding a blog that looks interesting, only to be bored out of your mind by the time you reach the middle of the piece. The last thing you want to do when writing is to make things sound too clinical (except for highly technical content where exact terms and directions are a must). Instead, work on livening it up a bit. Could you switch up your tone? Could you add some more relatable phrases?
Even though your content might cater to industry experts, you should still write for the average reader who will be stumbling across your content. Keep things interesting, engaging, and, most importantly, simple! This will allow your content to reach and resonate with as many people as possible.
Properly Format Your Content
So far, we’ve talked about the quality of the content. The readability, engagement, and authority are all essential aspects of stellar content. However, there’s another major item we need to discuss: formatting.
Most professionals have seen the dreaded wall of text at least once in their lives. Poorly formatted content often has large paragraphs that seem to go on with no breaks, low-quality images, zero subheadings, and other issues that drive readers away rather than moving them fluidly through the piece.
Formatting is much easier than many may believe. When writing, focus on:
- Separating sections with subheadings to improve scannability.
- Using bullet points and numbers to break up text and provide readers with snippets of important information.
- Adding visuals intermittently to offer a bit of excitement to your content.
- Using shorter paragraphs and sentences.
Formatting plays a significant role in your work, and you will become more accustomed to it as you continue to create content.
Write for Humans (and Google too)
When most people talk about content, they address its SEO and ‘shareability’ of it. The most important thing to remember is that you’re creating content to appeal to your target audience first and Google second. As tempting as it may be to stuff your articles with keywords and optimize to the limit, all content should be written with your readers in mind. A balance of these two audiences will prove to be the best strategy for your content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your content to help it rank on search engines like Google. Whenever you type something into the search bar, Google automatically provides you with a list of content related to your search query (called search engine results pages or SERPs). Leveraging SEO best practices will help you work towards ranking at the top of that list when someone searches for a term found in your content.
What can you do to increase the chances that Google will find and suggest your content?
- Conduct keyword research and incorporate those keywords into your content (longtail keywords are better for websites with low domain scores needing to rank).
- Optimize your images’ alt-text as well as your metadata.
- Optimize your subheadings with your keywords as well.
- Internally link to other pages on your website.
- Make sure your content is appealing (both in content and in visuals), able to be read on mobile, and has no broken links or other issues. User experience is critical.
Additionally, if you create content that others want to share and link back to, you can improve your chances of receiving backlinks. This will serve to boost your domain score and your visibility on SERPs.
Compare Your Content to Your Competitors
One final question to ask yourself is, does my content offer something that no other content out there does? You don’t want to be a business that simply reads and regurgitates information already out there. Instead, look for ways to make your content more valuable and fresh than the other pieces online.
You could add infographics, use a specific tone or way of writing that’s more interesting than your competitors, or even pair your content with lead magnets or other helpful resources? Make an effort to stand out whenever possible! It will help you in the long term.
While content strategies can be difficult to develop, it doesn’t have to be. If you are strapped for time, try to make sure you’re implementing the fundamental proven strategies every time. For those who are uninterested in developing content themselves, there’s a solution. Using the right digital marketing partner, you can leave your content strategy in the hands of experienced industry experts while you tend to the other important aspects of your business that demand your full attention. Every option works well, but finding the one that works best for you and your business is the most important factor!