Content Strategies: The Key to Relevant and Effective Content
by Caroline Moore
Home | Blog | Content Strategies: The Key to Relevant and Effective Content
Sure, you know that content is an important component of SEO and the general digital marketing industry as a whole, but do you understand how important it really is? Great content will encourage engagement from your readers, direct them to make a purchase and help build you and your company’s reputation as an industry thought leader. On the other hand, bad content will make you look like an amateur, won’t generate sales or steer traffic to your site.
To stay relevant and continue to rise in your rankings, you need regular content circulating the web – that’ s a no-brainer. But you should never reach the point of writing content for the sake of content. Nothing about that practice is beneficial. Nothing. And while, in certain situations, you might receive higher rankings, at first, if the content is not relevant, it won’t be successful in the long run.
The key to creating strong content, that will engage users and generate traffic for your site, is planning. You simply have to take the time to think of a strategy before blindly typing away on a word document. It pays off to create a content strategy before diving into writing articles and blog posts.
Content Marketing Institute defines content strategy as a way to “ help organizations provide the right content, to the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons.“
If you pitch the wrong content to the wrong audience you won’t see the results you want. Likewise, say you have a great article but you post it at the wrong time or for the wrong reason, you probably still won’t see the results you predicted. When you create a plan or content strategy you avoid making these time-consuming mistakes.
Ready to create your content strategy? First, you and your team need to ask yourself the following:
What is the company’s mission?
Who is our target audience?
What are our business goals?
What are the content objectives?
Once you have clear answers to these questions you can then focus your efforts on the most effective areas. For example, if you determine the goal of your content is to turn your company into an industry thought leader, it’s not beneficial to write content advertising your products. Instead, use your content to share expert tips and give advice. Aim to write content that will leave the reader with more knowledge than he/she had before.
As another example, let’s say your target audience is women between the ages of 30 and 50 and your business goal is to increase sales. It wouldn’t make sense to pitch your content to blogs whose main readers are teen girls and young women. Nor would it make sense to link your content on a social media platform, such as Instagram, if your target is mainly on Facebook.
Even if the content is strong and compelling, if the right audience doesn’t read it, it won’t generate traffic to your site or increase your company’s sales. Therefore making what would have been effective content useless to achieving your goal.
Putting the Best Content Out There
Okay after creating that awesome strategy it’s now time to crank out content. So, what makes great content so…great? Strong content that is interesting, accurate, engages readers, and commands action will have a positive influence on your site. Obviously, you want to put out strong content but if you’re unsure of how or where to start, remember these five tips below and you’ll be well on your way.
Originality is one of the most important factors you need to include in your content. Who wants to read the same type of articles over and over? Worse yet, a plagiarized post comes across as unethical. Even reworking older articles to generate a “new” one is obvious and comes across as lazy and unprofessional.
If you’re gong to create content, you have to be willing to put in the time it takes to create something original and thought provoking, otherwise, no one will want to engage with your site. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t hit on industry hot topics or important news/events, but you need to so do with originality.
When you’re offering advice, breaking news or you simply aim to become an expert in your field, the content you write has to be accurate. Without accuracy, you and your company lose credibility. No one will engage in conversation about your posts, let alone buy anything if you continuously post inaccurate information.
Always be sure you get any of your facts from credible sources and double-check your information. It’s better to take more time in the beginning stages of writing to ensure accuracy than to deal with looking unintelligent or lazy by posting inaccurate blogs. This also goes for grammar. Double and triple check your spelling and grammar as having blogs full of errors looks unprofessional and hurts your site’s credibility.
3. Provide answers or solutions
When a user types something into Google, they are usually looking for answers. After all, that is what a search engine does; provide possible solutions to the problem or question by suggesting related sites, images, links and videos.
This concept also works with content. People often read blogs because they want a solution to their problem. They want answers and they want them now. So, doesn’t it just make sense for your blog to utilize its content to provide solutions or answer questions?
4. Strong headlines
Strong headlines are a must. Sadly, it’s the only section of the post that the majority of people will read. So, it’s vital that headlines not only peak a reader’s interest but invites or excites the reader so much that they must read on. Be sure to construct a strong headline. Often times, it can make or break the success of your content.
5. Communicate clearly and concisely
Lastly, the point of content is to communicate effectively. For blogs and editorial posts, this is best done through clearly presented and concise information. Remove the fluff. Take out unnecessary sentences. Nix the longer or difficult words. As I mentioned before, a reader want answers and solutions quickly. Long paragraphs or lengthy sentences will only distract them from the important information.
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