I get sick of overused phrases and clichés. As a sports fan, it makes my skin crawl to hear things like, “That’s why they play the game,” or “They can beat you in a variety of ways,” or “You have to take it one game at a time.”
So excuse me if I trot out one of the most tired clichés in all of content marketing – Content is king!
Most people would probably nod in agreement, if not roll their eyes at hearing it again. But, hey, a lot of people forgot it, and some still forget it.
That’s led to a lot of website content that is either boring, purposeless, or just misses the mark, or some combination of those.
Content marketing is all about driving (good) traffic and converting it. And while a lot of people have tried to scheme ways they think can beat the Google algorithms to drive traffic, if they’re not driving users to authentic, quality content, it’s all for naught.
(And seriously, why are we trying to outsmart people who write search algorithms for a living? Just create better website content and do other “best practices” things like ensure your website is easy to navigate. You’ll be off to a good start.)
So whether you’re writing new content or cleaning up thin, duplicate content, ask yourself these three questions.
1. Can I scan the page in less than 10 seconds?
I do this all the time. I land on a page and do a quick scroll to see if, a) I find the answer I need; or b) I find evidence that the page answers my question.
If the page meets neither a nor b, then I might click away.
Your users are probably behaving in the same way. This doesn’t mean you have to keep your page under a certain word count or that you can’t write long pages. But try to organize the page in a way that is conducive to quick scanning.
- Use bullet lists
- Use sub-headers to organize the page and break it into digestible chunks
- Break up long paragraphs
- Bold key phrases to draw the user’s attention
2. Is this better than what’s out there?
Speaking of worn-out phrases, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. Give users something they can’t find on other websites. This means reviewing the web pages that come up at and near the top of search results.
If you’re not creating content that is better than those pages, then you’re probably not going to see better results than they do. I don’t care where you placed your keywords.
Put yourself in your users’ shoes (another worn-out phrase). Are they worried? Are they eager? Are they curious? Are they bored?
What do they want to know about the topic? What will be most helpful? What information can you provide that others aren’t? How can you present the information so it is more organized? More fun? More engaging? Easier to understand?
If you understand the audience, it’ll be easier to beat competitors’ content that isn’t meeting their needs/wants or that is difficult to understand and digest.
3. Does anybody care?
What if nobody reads your content? What if it doesn’t convert?
It doesn’t necessarily mean that nobody cares. It might mean you could improve the execution. It might mean you need to distribute it on a different medium or at a different time of the week or day. It might mean a lot of things.
Or it could mean that nobody really cared.
That’s okay. It happens to everybody. Research the topic further. See what others are writing. See what is successful. Here are some tips:
- Use BuzzSumo to see what content is performing well on social media. While this is a free tool, you’re limited to a specific number of topic queries per day. The paid pro version, however, does not restrict your search capabilities; in fact it expands them significantly. You can set up content alerts by specific keyword mentions in headlines or article text. Pretty cool! The idea behind its use is to identify posts that rocked it in the social sphere (i.e., shares) and improve upon them.
- Use SEMrush (or another tool) to do some keyword research. Another great free tool (it’s one of our favorites), but users are also limited in the amount of information they see. Upgrade to a paid account, however, and you can search keywords to your heart’s content. You can also take a look at what your competitors are doing and how well it’s going for them.
- Search Google and check out the top results. Again, the goal here is to outdo your competitors and bring something fresh to the table. Really think about the headline, information, and organization that will make your page stand apart from the other results.
If you need help, call us: 888-521-3880.