It is without doubt the cornerstone of any marketing campaign, content. There are numerous benefits to creating content on your website, the most obvious and focused on being Google search engine rankings. Google’s algorithms can identify well written, non spammy content which can help you rank for terms you are writing about, and then subsequently boost your site’s overall authority.
An additional benefit of creating content is positioning yourself as an expert in your field. This method of ‘pre-framing’ increases someone’s perception of you before they have even met you. You will be trusted as someone that is knowledgable in your industry that could potentially help someone’s problems. It’s effectively a sales tactic, without having to be a salesman.
On a personal level, it’s also great practice articulating your experience into quality articles in layman terms. You wouldn’t be in business if you weren’t good at providing some kind of value, but conveying that understanding to potential customers is a real skill. Writing content not only increases your literary skills, but your face to face conversations and pitches will be that much stronger.
So why engagement over quality?
Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and now Instagram all strive for user interaction. Content is rated on how popular it is. How many likes, how many clicks, how long they looked, did they progress beyond the first page. All of these metrics are to measure engagement. The higher the engagement, the more these channels will distribute your content.
As an example, let’s take a Facebook post to a business page that gets no likes as a baseline. If a small amount of people like the post you are likely to have it seen by maybe twice as many people. If a small amount of people like and comment on the post you might see four times the reach. If you get likes, comments and shares the reach becomes exponential.
Other channels like Google assess how many clicks a search result gets, how long users stay on the site or if they came straight back to search results within a few seconds. So you can see that no matter how amazing your article might be in quality, if the user is not interested or engaged, the content will not be valued as high.
How to create engaging content
- Write for humans, NOT search engines
When you read an article that has abnormally written words obviously pitched at search engines, do you continue reading or share the content? Unlikely. This not only destroys your articles value, but your entire site’s credibility. You may be able to rank for some ‘long tail’ (longer search terms with more words) doing this, but you are adding very little value to your marketing.
- Optimise your site for mobile
A sure fire way to have mobile users bouncing straight back to the search results is having a non-friendly mobile site. Web developers, digital marketers and myself are constantly harping on about the benefits of having a mobile friendly site, and for good reason. It’s obvious that if you want users to engage with your content and over half of your audience is on a mobile device, get a mobile site.
- Make your articles visually appealing
Not many people want to read a novel online. Short form content in general across written and video form is very successful. You need user attention, but it’s extremely easy to lose it in the first few seconds. Use images, infographics, interesting layouts, highlight sections and even use video to enhance your story telling. Not only that, these can increase your visibility in Google image search and Youtube.
- Personalise your content as much as possible
If you can narrow down your audience as much as possible you are more likely to get that ‘this is for me’ reaction from readers. Identify your customers problems and provide answers for them. Be on their level. It’s not an opportunity to display your intellectual dominance on some obscure technical aspect of your industry. It’s an opportunity to say ‘hey i’ve been there, and here is the solution’. The more niche your article, the more effectively you can promote it through advertising on channels like Facebook who have amazing demographic targeting.
A content calendar is essential to any strategy. It not only keeps you consistent on delivery, but allows time to plan and write valuable content rather than a rushed and forced article that you ‘have to write’ every month. You can also gear content towards events or times of the year, and identify gaps in topics.
Modern marketing has changed to focus on engagement and value. Attention is all that matters. By ensuring you understand your customer and what they want to see you are half way to developing a killer content strategy that brings you site traffic, but more importantly customers.