“Good content isn’t about good storytelling. It’s about telling a true story well.” – Ann Handley
Creating unique and interesting content day after day, week after week, year after year … well, it’s tedious! One social media marketer we know calls it “feeding the beast,” and that sounds about right — especially for a Raleigh marketing agency generating content for multiple clients.
That said, creating content can be fun. Plus, it really does make a difference in your SEO and lead generation efforts. Studies show content marketing increases engagement and leads and draws return visitors. In our analysis of our own SEO, we see a noticeable difference in rankings when we are consistently writing blog posts. With that in mind, how can you create great content on a continuous basis?
What is Great Content Anyway?
First, what is “great” content? “Great” is a vague word and can mean a variety of things. In this case, we mean useful and interesting. Great content is content your readers will actually read! It’s content they may want to share. This content will help them reach a decision about buying your product or service. Great content may produce a smile or provoke new thoughts.
Great content is:
- Consistent – Not all of your content will be home runs. But you can still win a baseball game by consistently hitting well and getting players to first or second base. Like that, consistent content is going to help you in the long run with your SEO and with your general marketing and sales.
- Useful – Google and other search engines are always striving to serve the best answer to someone’s question. Keep that in mind when writing your content. Create content that is helpful or useful to someone in each stage of the buyer’s journey. What if your customer has just now heard of your product or service? What if they are actually considering which company to buy from or work with? Create content for each stage that will address their questions.
- Mostly Longer – Many blog posts out there say all of your posts should be 1,200 words or more. Well sure, that’s nice. But not all your posts will need to be 1,200 words to fully answer someone’s question or explain something. Write what it needs to be. However, if you take a question and answer it fully and well, you’ll probably run a bit longer anyway, and studies are showing that longer content does better. As you plan out your content calendar, make sure you have a variety of post lengths, with longer entries occurring more frequently.
- Includes Strategic Keywords – Keyword stuffing is a no-no. Various website plugins can assist you to make sure your keywords are in the post the right number of times and distributed throughout. But before you even get there: what are your keywords? Again, go back to your buyer journey and consider what he or she is searching. Talk to your SEO team or check your analytics and other tools to see what keywords you can target that relate to your product/service. You want some with a higher search volume, but some with a lower volume so you have a better chance of ranking.
- Not Just Blog Posts – Blog posts are useful content, sure, but you can create videos, beautiful images, infographics, a printable handout for your sales team, and more. If you post such content to your website, make sure you’re including “alt” tags.
Tips and Tools to Create Great Content
Creating great content takes time — whether it’s for a blog, your YouTube channel, or social media. Here are some tips and tools for getting it done.
- Find someone who likes to do this work. If you hate dealing with social media or hate writing (or both), you’re going to dread the tasks and procrastinate. Find a team member or a Raleigh marketing agency to handle it for you. You’ll be happier, and the work will get done on time.
- Create a content calendar. Map out your content for the next month. You can use a spreadsheet for this, a Word document, or some third-party online tools. Your calendar can show the upcoming topic, due date, post date, potential headline. If it’s for social media, you can write the status update and indicate links, images, and hashtags. This also gives you a chance to copy/paste the whole thing into a spellchecker!
- Take photos. Whether you’re posting images with blog entries or photos to social media, you’ll need pictures. Yes, you can find free images online or pay for stock photos, and that’s fine. But we strongly recommend you have photos of your product or service or team as well. Intersperse those with stock images to give your website and social accounts that personalized look.
- Find some fun image tools. Snappa, Pablo, and Canva are some of the most popular. If you’re a Photoshop pro, you might not need them. The point is, you’ll need a way to edit images, add text, and put some neat graphics on there. If you have a graphic design team, they may be able to handle some of this work. But in general, the volume of social media and blog posting requires someone else to manage it.
- Be yourself. A lot of companies tell us their blog posts and social content should be “professional.” Absolutely! Everything should be spelled correctly. You should look like a credible company, one we’d want to hire. But sometimes, people take this too far over to the “stiff” and “buttoned-up” side of things. It’s OK to share a post of your team having fun. Those posts are going to get better engagement because people like to see real people. How you present yourself, of course, depends on the company brand, industry, and other factors. In some cases, the strategy will be to maintain a highly professional look at all times. But for many others, it’s perfectly OK and even encouraged to toss in a joke once in a while.
- Talk to your sales team for topic ideas. Finding useful topics for blog entries is easy: just ask your sales team what they hear from potential customers. What are their pain points? What are the FAQs they hear every single day? What would the sales team members want to point people toward on your website to help?
- Create content on discussion boards. People often ask Quora, Reddit, and other forums questions about your industry. For example, they might ask people which electric toothbrush to use. If you’re a dentist, answering that question may increase your credibility and visibility — and gives you the chance to reach potential patients in your area. Discussion boards can take time; we recommend you choose a person in your office who can speak on the company’s behalf. That person can choose an amount of time and even a day of the week to monitor and reply.
But wait, there’s more.
As Ann Handley’s quote above outlines, great content is about you — a true part of your company that resonates with others. This post focused on the nuts and bolts of generating fresh content day after day. But really, great content is going to come back to you, your story, your brand and how you share it with the world. If you’re not brainstorming about that before you do all the rest, you’re wasting your “breath” with content.
Do you have questions about how to create “great” content for your company? As your Department of Marketing, we create custom solutions and content. Contact us to find out more.