Many factors go into creating engaging web content. In addition to identifying your target audience, you’ll need to adopt a narrative voice that appeals to their sensibilities. Furthermore, coming up with topics that interest your desired readership can often be an uphill battle. Even after the aforementioned obligations have been fulfilled, you’ll actually need to write the content – and this is where a lot of people mess up. A decent topic and consistent voice can’t make up for a meandering, directionless piece of content. Anyone who’s had trouble keeping their company’s blog posts and articles on-point is sure to benefit from the following pointers.
Outline, Outline, Outline
Whether you’re composing a one-off blog post or series of feature articles, it’s imperative that you work off an outline. Although a handful of highly-skilled writers are able to work with vague internal outlines, this does not represent the majority of authors, bloggers and content creators. In many cases, it’s easy to tell when someone has foregone a proper outline, as the piece is plagued by meandering and a general lack of focus. Fortunately, creating a workable outline is neither difficult nor time-consuming, and having one will make writing the final product considerably easier. When creating an outline for a blog post or article, write down your main idea, break it down into sub-ideas and list the key pieces of information you wish to get across. This will help you stay focused throughout the writing process and keep your piece firmly rooted in your chosen topic. As Entepreneur explains, good content focuses on the target audience’s interests and addresses very specific questions.
Stay on Top of Edits
Even experienced writers can be lax when it comes to editing. To a point, this is understandable. After all, if you spend hours writing something, making significant edits can sometimes feel like you’re wasting work. Still, the fact that you poured a considerable amount of time and effort into writing something doesn’t mean the piece is perfect. If an article or blog post is packed to the brim with superfluous information that has no real bearing on the overall point of the piece, readers are not going to share your enthusiasm for your work. After finishing a piece of content, make sure to carefully read it over and get rid of any fluff, frequently-repeated information and info that doesn’t seamlessly tie into the general subject.
Maintain a Consistent Voice
Nobody enjoys reading web content – or any other type of content, for that matter – that has a wildly inconsistent tone. Fluctuating between “casual” and “all-business” within the same post will strike readers as jarring and leave them questioning your mastery of the written word. With this in mind, take care to maintain the same narrative voice throughout the entirety of each piece you write. This will help the content flow naturally, thus allowing readers to become comfortably immersed in your writing.
If your company wishes to thrive in today’s Internet landscape, there’s no way around creating content that keeps readers entertained. However, as anyone with a background in content creation can confirm, this is often easier said than done – particularly if writing isn’t your strong suit. Fortunately, with a healthy amount of planning, editing and tonal consistency, your web content will be ready for primetime.Read More
SEO is a significant part of your marketing efforts, but it only proves effective in the long run if the content you provide is engaging and relevant to your industry and your customers’ needs. However, if your business is like most businesses, you don’t have a full-time writing staff, or even if you do have someone in charge of content creation, it gets difficult to keep coming up with new ideas as often as you want to put new posts out there. After all, the more frequently you post, the more effective SEO strategy content is. Luckily, there are a few tips for developing new effective content on a frequent basis.
Identify a Need in the Market
You’re right that content is essential to SEO success. Marketing Profs Reports that 72 percent of marketing professionals think of relevant content creation as the most effective SEO tactic. However, you can’t just throw any topic at your audience and hope it will stick. The most effective content will not just highlight your products or services, but identify and provide tips for solving a need in the marketplace. Example of content addressing a need in different industries might include:
- “Tips” articles, for instance, tips for cleaning different rooms in a house for cleaning products and housecleaning services
- “How to” articles, such as “how to save money on your utility bill” for furnace and air conditioning repair services or energy efficient appliances businesses
- Industry news, such as innovations in phone technology for wireless phone provider services, and how this news will make things easier for your customers.
Make your product or services part of the solution, not the sole focus of the content. Occasional highlight posts for a new product or company announcement are okay, but if you don’t offer general advice and tips to your readers, they’ll have little incentive to keep returning to your site.
Examine Topics in Depth
According to Search Metrics, the average word count of the top ten search results has increased to 1285 words as of 2015, a quarter more words than the year before. Make your posts longer for better SEO results. Longer posts also allow you to explore a topic thoroughly – so thoroughly you’ll perhaps be best served by making it a two-, three- or even longer-part series. If you know you’re going to be talking about one topic for multiple posts, that’s fewer new ideas you have to come up with for content. Effective types of posts for multi-part series might include industry news and trends, and a recurring “how to” or “tips” series with different solutions.
Book Guest Writers
Invite industry experts to write guest blogs for your website. Not only does it lend your site more credence, it also gives your guest more opportunities for exposure. The more guests you book, the fewer topics you’ll have to come up with yourself.
Consider hiring a marketing firm, specifically one that offers content creation, if it becomes overwhelming to keep thinking of new content several times per week. For a small portion of your marketing budget, you’ll have not only original content, but SEO terms worked into the content. You can provide the SEO terms as part of your research or leave the research in the marketers’ hands. Either way, you’ll find it much less frustrating to come up with fresh, engaging content on a regular basis if you hire professionals to tackle the task.Read More
At this point, it’s widely accepted that every business website needs to feature a regularly-updated blog. Not only does this serve to keep visitors informed, it can help attract attention from popular search engines. However, taking the time to think of engaging topics and subsequently turn them into fully-formed blog posts is seldom easy. This is particularly true for individuals who don’t have a background in writing. If you’re caught up in the trials and tribulations of running a business, not having the time or inclination to blog on a regular basis is perfectly understandable. This is where guest bloggers come into play. In addition to helping expose your site to a larger audience, guest bloggers can breathe new energy into stale or seldom-updated company blogs. As Writers in Charge’s Bamidele points out, guest blogging can prove invaluable in bolstering your company’s online influence and giving your web content an air of authority.
If you’re interested in giving your visitors an in-depth look at the industry your business serves, reach out to journalists, bloggers and other individuals who make a living reporting on this particular industry. Posts written by these figures can provide prospective clients with an enhanced understanding of your industry and show them what sets your business apart from the competition. When working with industry insiders, encourage them to include assorted graphs, tables and other handy visuals in their posts. Since image-heavy content tends to get more attention than posts that are purely text-based, abundant visual aids will help get key points across to readers who aren’t proficient in the subject matter.
Internet celebrities often make great guest bloggers. Not only do they bring a fresh perspective to the material, their very involvement with your company can attract scores of potential clients. If there’s an online celebrity who has any degree of experience with your particular industry, get in touch with them through the appropriate channels and request that they create a guest blog. In some cases, you may be expected to pay a fee or engage in a quid pro quo arrangement – i.e., in return for composing a guest post, some individuals may expect you to promote their personal projects through your website or social media accounts. Upholding your end of the deal is well worth the exposure your site will receive.
Sometimes the perfect guest bloggers are right under your nose. If your company has a sizable staff, you automatically have a colorful cadre of guest bloggers at the ready. Each week, a new member of your team can contribute an informative post about their department, professional background or history with your company. If you have some particularly ambitious posts in mind, consider tasking multiple employees with working on the same blog.
Small business owners are forced to wear may hats – money manager, customer service rep and mediator chief among them. Adding “regular blogger” to that list stands to overwhelm entrepreneurs who are already stretched too thin. Enlisting the services of various guest bloggers is an effective way to give yourself a break while reinvigorating your company’s blog.Read More
Content is the cornerstone of every website. Whether you’re a business owner or marketer or you run your own blog, rely on frequent and informative compelling content to drive more visitors to your site. You may be wondering whether your content should be in article form or in video form – or a combination of both. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of both formats.
Why Choose Articles?
According to Comscore, Americans conduct 12 billion searches a month. Written content is the easiest way to work search engine optimized keywords relevant to your industry into your content. For example, if you blog about computer repair for a business in Atlanta, you might identify “Atlanta computer repair” as one of your keywords. Every time you write a piece of content, slip that keyword in. Don’t put it in more than two times maximum per post, though, as search engines will think it’s spam and readers will find your content clunky and unreadable.
Articles are faster and more affordable to produce than videos, especially if you outsource the task to professionals skilled in writing compelling content. You can post articles more frequently than videos, which is important because your blog or website should be updated daily with new content or at minimum three times a week to find an audience.
Why Choose Videos?
Although written content might make it easier to include SEO keywords, there are almost as many people searching exclusively for videos as there are people searching for content in general. Mushroom Networks reports that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google – and greater than Yahoo, Bing, AOL and Ask combined. Plus, YouTube videos also come up in Google searches, usually on the first page for the most relevant terms. In the description box, you can use SEO to your advantage and include keywords, although they won’t be hidden as well as they would be in written content.
Videos are more appealing to Internet users who don’t like reading. A well-made video is more likely to go viral than a piece of content. Conversely, a poorly-made video with bad production values and poor acting or hosting is likely to backfire and do your website more harm than good. If you’re going to make a video, choose a host or actor with clear delivery and a compelling personality and rely on quality cameras, not your camera phone.
Which Format Should You Use?
Consider the aim of your topic. A how-to video is more effective than a how-to article and easier to put together since you can show your audience what to do. On the other hand, a brief update on industry news is easier to put together in a short article. The more frequently you update, the more likely you are to rely on written content.
Unless you focus entirely on a YouTube channel, your website should always produce some written content. Video content can augment your content production efforts, but because it takes so much more time and effort to produce a quality video, you can put out written content in a more timely fashion. On the other hand, videos are so popular with Internet users that it’s worth producing some on occasion.Read More
Producing new content relevant to your industry on a regular basis provides your company website or store with greater opportunities for attracting web traffic. You might have read statistics about the age of bloggers and the people who read blogs; for example, according to Sysomos, 53.3 percent of bloggers are between 21 and 35 years old. Now you’re wondering whether or not you should cater to the majority of bloggers and blog readers as a whole, or if determining your company’s blog demographic is more complex than that.
Your Buyers vs. Blog Readers: Focusing on the Right Group
Even if the majority of bloggers are young adults, if your primary demographic is made up of seniors, for example, it’s pointless to focus so much on the online users most likely to read blogs. The first thing you need to do when developing a blog is to identify your average consumer. Take age group, gender, and location into consideration. These should be the targeted readers of your blog. Even if seniors make up a small portion of blog readers, for instance, your blog needs to zero in on the segment of seniors who do read blogs, even if it’s a smaller number than young adults. After all, this segment is more likely to buy what you’re selling, so they’re more likely to result in sales.
Where They Intersect
The demographic most likely to prove ideal for your company’s blog to target is that small segment where the online users most likely to read a blog and the online consumers most likely to buy your products or services intersect. Within your demographic, identify a segment of the population that reads blogs and uses social media. Research which social media platform is most popular with them and focus on that platform. Cater to the most active readers and social media users that fall within your targeted demographic, and they will help market for you via social media re-posting and shares.
Every Demographic Can Prove Helpful
While it’s important you focus on the demographic most likely to respond to your products or services, that doesn’t mean you can’t run content with crossover appeal. HubSpot reports that blogs are the fifth most trusted source for online information. Take advantage of this trust by making your company blog a source of information relevant to your industry.
For example, if you can draw in the grandparent crowd one post for a product that’s aimed at twenty-somethings, you might get a lot of social media shares from grandparents sharing your content with their family members who are closer to your targeted demographic. While you shouldn’t focus on the wrong demographic most of the time, if you have an idea for a piece of content that might stray somewhat from what interests your typical crowd of buyers, that’s all right, so long as you have a goal in mind for that post.
Everything you do to market your company comes back to more sales. Relevant, regularly updated blogs are only effective if they drive the right kind of traffic to your blog, and if those posts then lead to sales. It doesn’t matter if you get high traffic numbers if they’re from a segment of the population unlikely to buy your goods.Read More
Now that your business’s website is up and running, you’re a little surprised by the waning visitor statistics. However, considering how infrequently you post new content, this shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. Failing to offer a steady stream of articles, blog posts and videos won’t do you any favors in the visitor department. In addition, a general lack of updates will result in low search engine rankings. Fortunately, you can boost your visitor numbers and your Google ranking by producing top-notch web content on a consistent basis. However, in order to do this, you’ll need to enlist the services of a seasoned content development team.
In many respects, skilled writers are the heart of a content development team. Even if they’re not the ones who create topics and come up with ideas, they’re ultimately responsible for conducting research and fleshing things out. Ideally, any writer you hire should be well-versed in a number of topics and have experience writing for a wide range of clients. Furthermore, writers should be highly adaptable and be able to effortlessly adopt an assortment of tones, voices and styles. They should also be responsive to editorial feedback and express a willingness to revise their work whenever an editor instructs them to do so.
Like writers, editors often wear many hats. In addition to checking writers’ work for tone and consistency, editors frequently act as proofreaders and co-authors. Depending on the company, editors may also be responsible for coming up with topics and determining word count. In some cases, editors will be expected to collaborate with writers throughout the production process. Editors also take varied approaches to content revisions. Whereas some editors take it upon themselves to make any revisions they deem necessary, others have the original writers handle things on the revision front.
When it comes to web content, marketing is every bit as important as the production side of things. It doesn’t matter how good your content is; if people aren’t aware of it, it’s basically worthless. This is why no content team is complete without a marketing expert. This person will be able to effectively promote your web content through a variety of channels, including social media, online publications and websites that cater to your specific industry. A seasoned marketer will also know her way around search engine optimization (SEO), link building and keyword research. In light of all the work that goes into creating your company’s web content, it’s only fitting that your team’s efforts receive the recognition they deserve – and a good marketer will prove invaluable in this endeavor.
At some point, nearly every business has to deal with lackluster visitor stats – particularly when they’re just starting out. When looking for ways to drive people to your website, you can’t go wrong with informative, entertaining content. As Entrepreneur.com’s Chad Barr and Alan Weiss explain, content creation works best when it’s a team effort. To ensure that your blog posts and videos stand out in an increasingly competitive digital landscape, don’t hesitate to put together an experienced content development team.Read More
There’s no going back, people – search engine optimization is here to stay. For years, skeptics and detractors have claimed that SEO is in its last throes, its heyday long past. As it turns out, they were sorely mistaken. Not only is search engine optimization still going strong, nearly every business under the sun is currently utilizing some form of it. If you’re a latecomer to SEO, you’ll need to find a way to get a leg-up on the competition. Fortunately, there are a number of helpful tools – many of them free – designed to help you do just that.
Raven Tools is a fantastic all-in-one toolkit for companies who are relatively new to SEO marketing. Although taking full advantage of the software requires a membership fee, the prices are reasonable, and you’re guaranteed to see a return on your investment. Raven Tools performs too many functions to list, but its primary purpose is providing businesses with detailed reports on popular keywords and phrases, as well as SEO trends. Drawing data from numerous sources – Google AdWords, Google Analytics and Majestic SEO, to name a few – Raven Tools produces comprehensive reports to help guide your company’s SEO strategy. In light of its many perks, it’s no surprise that Raven Tools was named Top Ten Reviews’ Number One SEO Tool.
Keywords and phrases play an integral role in virtually any SEO marketing campaign. Since these terms and phrases are what ultimately get your site noticed by prominent search engines, it’s important to do your homework before deciding on suitable keywords. This is where tools like WordTracker come in. Displaying data for over 150 million popular search terms, WordTracker enables you to gauge the effectiveness of popular keywords before deciding whether or not to incorporate them into your web content. This convenient tool also shows you how many websites are competing for the same keywords, as well as how much you can expect to pay for those keywords in a search engine bidding war.
A popular WordTracker add-on, Link Builder takes SEO research a step further. This ingenious tool searches the Internet for beneficial link prospects. Filtering results by relevance, authority and popularity, Link Builder provides you with comprehensive lists of websites to purchase ad space on and suggests effective linking practices that won’t cost your business a penny. You can also program Link Builder to automatically remove images, postings and other links that have proven ineffective at drawing traffic to your website. So in addition to providing you with helpful strategies, Link Builder essentially does your cleanup work for you.
According to Entrepreneur’s Jason Demers, SEO has become the online marketing strategy of choice for businesses of every shape and size. As a rapidly increasing number of businesses come to realize that SEO is the way of the future, you can’t let your company be left in the dust. If you need help setting a viable SEO strategy into motion, simply enlist the aid of the previously discussed tools. Being late to the SEO party doesn’t mean your company can’t reap its rewards.Read More