It’s no secret that content has a soft spot in my dashed, slashed, and bleeding heart. After all, it’s what I live and breathe every day. I know that many people don’t see the importance of focusing on high-quality content, so it’s my goal to open their eyes and help them to understand that content really is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Wait, did I seriously just say that? Blasphemy! What about SEO? Social Media? Videos? Marketing? Who put this woman in here to spew this nonsense?!
Well, without content, the rest of those cease to exist. How could you possibly create a newsletter without content? Can you shoot a video without content? And how can you possibly optimize a page that doesn’t contain content?
You need a strong foundation in order to make the rest of your efforts succeed. Content needs to be the foundation, not the ornamentation. Serious problems arise when you’re so hyper-focused on your marketing, videos, and SEO that you think you don’t have time to devote to content.
What’s Content Got to Do With It?
The answer? Everything! Content is a part of each and every page of your website. What makes up your marketing campaigns? Content! What is in your videos? Content! What do you need in order to implement SEO strategies? You’ve guessed it: content!
But that’s the easy part, right? Once you write some articles, you can post them to the site, slap some good links in there, recycle them for a newsletter, spin out an video, and leave the rest to Google to hand out the good page rankings.
Oh, if only it were that easy.
Here are my top 13 content inspirations, tips, and tricks for you from the month of May.
- If you weren’t aware, Google rolled out a huge update in May, referred to as Panda 4.0. Like previous installments of Panda, this update targeted spam-heavy, low-quality, over-optimized content, while also rewarding those sites that go the extra mile and play by the rules. Basically, if the content on your site sucks, so will your ranking.
Content Can’t Be a Second-Rate Intention
- As Greg Satell—author of "Why Content Marketing Fails"—so perfectly states, "Excellence is about more than showing up." Killer content is content created not only with the reader in mind, but with a passion for the subject at hand. Without this passion, your words are empty and will hold no appeal. So get fired up about the content you write, or hire someone with this passion to write for you; otherwise, there is every chance that your content will continue to fail.
- I won't deny that defining your brand is important to the success of your business and your content. But I would argue that if your only content focus is your brand, then your content will never light a fire under the one person you want it to: your customer. His needs, his desires, and his stress points need to be addressed in every single thing you write. If you ignore your customer, your content will come off as arrogant and self-centered. Not good. Not good at all! So when writing, put your brand in the back seat!
- Our very own Cranky Grammarian, John Prager, wrote this gem on the use of Latin in your content. He argues—very persuasively, I might add—that Latin, even those oft-confused and confusing i.e. and e.g., have no place in the content on your site. Do you agree?
What’s Content Got to Do, Got to Do With It?
- Do you feel like you can't compete against the big guys? Then I highly suggest that you take three minutes out of your day to watch this video from Google's own Matt Cutts. In those brief minutes, he encourages users with small businesses to continue producing killer content. “Don’t stop trying to produce superior content, because over time, that’s one of the best ways to rank higher on the web.” Truer words were never spoken!
- I love, love the way the author of this article lays out the best way to whip your social media content into shape: participate, anticipate, and coordinate. These three guiding principles are crucial to the success of your content on social media and across the Internet!
- There is most definitely a right way and a wrong way to build a social media following for your company. This advice comes straight from the experts at Forbes: narrow your focus, don't oversell (mirroring #3, above), monitor your accounts, and be interactive. And most of all, get out there and DO IT! You will never know how helpful social media will be unless you get out there and start posting, so give it a try.
- New websites are just that: new! Because of their newness, they don't have a lot of content, haven't been linked to, and don't have authority. But you can change this! You can increase traffic and begin gaining traction with the search engines. This in-depth guide from Search Engine Journal can help you generate traffic and kick start the content building on your pretty new website.
- From the moment you open your laptop to the moment you snap it shut you are inundated with content. In fact, it's been estimated that over 300 blog posts are created every minute of every day. So how will you ensure that your content catches the eye of your audience? By building trust. Your readers need to trust that you are providing them with relevant information, rather than more spun, empty content. These five steps will help you focus in on your audience and speak to them in a way that will encourage them not only to read, but also to share your content.
- Not sure what "content marketing" is and why the heck I keep talking about it? Then this article outlining the four most important parts of content marketing is for you! It breaks down this marketing strategy and can help you get your plan in order. You'll be crafting clever content in no time flat!
Nothing Can Help If Your Content Is Broken
- Still trying to stuff your geo-specific keywords into all of your content? Then you better brace yourself for a drop in search engine rankings—and maybe even a major scandal! During one of our content audits, we found that a "professional writer" for an attorney made a mistake so egregious, so jaw-dropping, that you just have to see it to believe it.
- Sure, you know better than to respond to an email from a man in Africa that claims to have access to $5 million that your long-lost uncle left to you, but do you know an SEO scam when you see one? This article outlines the five SEO words that should raise red flags and have you running for the hills, should an SEO provider dare utter them.
- Speaking of scams, the link-building, link-sharing world has become so overrun with linking scams and link networks that Duane Forrester writes to quit the link-fixation habit once and for all. He maintains that obsessing over links is counterproductive and that the only way to persuade others to share and link to your content is—surprise!—to write awesome content! Can I get an amen?!
This month I've tried to round up every tool you need not only to understand the importance of the words you write, but finally to capture that elusive beast: killer content. If you need help snaring this monster, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'd love to help you make your content work for you, and not the other way around!