Let’s Talk Content
Content is kind of this weird topic. It’s pretty clear that you need to have good content, though it is thoroughly difficult to define what “Good Content” is. It bears a lot of resemblance to Jello. There are tons of flavors of Jello; Strawberry, Watermelon, Cherry, Margarita, etc. and they are all very different experiences. Not everyone likes the same flavor, and that’s ok.
One of the definitions for content is: something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.
HubSpot posted an Article that contains 44 different formats of content that content providers use. It serves as a fantastic reference when struggling to come up with fresh ideas for your site/business. However, just because there are at least 44 different formats of content does not mean that you should do all of them. Try to use as many as you can that pertains to your business goals.
3 Deadly Sins of Content Creation
When a user first lands on your site, a lot of decisions are being made. Most of them pertain to what they might expect should they continue to explore. When a user lands on your home page or your blog (or some other content section) they should very quickly notice whether or not the content has changed or if it has stayed the same.
If nothing has changed in 2 days, 5 days, even a month; You have just trained your user that your site does not create content for them in these time frames.
Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays is a shining example of well-made, consistent content that hits all of the marks.
Lack of User Empathy
Websites tend to take the all or nothing approach with their marketing. Sometimes advertisements hit like a tidal wave, and other times it’s non existant. There is a happy medium for your site, you just need to find it.
A little bit of respect goes a long way with your users. Don’t clutter your content with needless crap. If you want people to read your blog post, let them read it. Don’t bombard them with 30 sponsored ads at the top of the page, and don’t block the content with a newsletter sign-up until they’ve read a couple of stories. Brad Frost performed a fantastic talk about this phenomena titled “Death to Bullshit”, and its well worth the view. If you have a hard time viewing your own content, your users are almost guaranteed to be having an even harder time.
Shouting into the Void
Make sure that you’ve done some basics, otherwise your content is just noise getting lost in space.
- SEO Optimization for your content (case by case).
- Make sure your target audience responds well to this type of content.
- Share what you make!
Those are my 3 Deadly Sins of Content Creation, now let’s talk about some steps that you can take to creating good content.
You Need to Figure Out what Works
Research is key to finding out what types of content you should be making. The phrase “Steal like an Artist” originated from somewhere, and it’s stuck around because it gets the point across.
Moz published a Whiteboard Friday titled “Why We Can’t Do Keyword Research Like Its 2010”, and brought forth the idea of ranking keywords not only by the normal metrics of volume and difficulty, but also by opportunity and value. One of the key points is that if you search for your own keyword and the top 10 results are videos, you might want to think about investing in video content to attempt to rank for that keyword.
Let’s Talk about Skyscrapers
The world’s first skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1884–1885. The “Father of the Skyscraper” stood 138 feet with a total of 10 stories. Sadly, the landmark structure did not last and was demolished in 1931, the same year the Empire State Building in New York was finished. William F. Lamb & Gregory Johnson, the architect of the Empire State Building did not to invent the skyscraper, they just had to do it better. As long as they made a better skyscraper people would marvel at their creation.
In marketing this is called The Skyscraper Technique.
Once you know what works it’s time to do it better, and bigger and more amazing than anyone has ever done before. When you create content for your site you need to make sure that it’s the best content in that area. If you can’t add more information, make it easier to digest. If you can’t figure out someone else’s tutorial, write a better one.
Timing is Guaranteed to Work 60% of the Time
If you find that your audience is more active on the weekend, post new content on Friday afternoons, or Saturday mornings. Cater to the largest chunk of your users, so that you have the greatest ability to reach them.
Now Get to Work
This part is mostly up to you, just go make something. After some wizardry, you might just have content. Yay!
Now you’ve got Content, Good Job.
Publish it & celebrate. You did it well.
It’s time to review what worked for you, and what didn’t. This part isn’t an exact science, and short of asking your users exactly what they like and don’t like, you’re going to make some assumptions. Take a look at your web page analytics and see what’s going on.
Are people viewing your content?
If not, try a different method or time. This is where you need to experiment and sometimes this phase seems to last for an eternity. Make stuff & publish it. Hopefully something sticks.
Users are skipping my home page and going right to my blog, how do I optimize my content to cater to these people more?
Make it easier for people to get to the most popular content, and cater to your power users.
Now publish more content. Wait. Review.
Repeat this until the end of time. Sometimes you will need to redesign or add features, and that’s ok.
Just do it.
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This article is also published on my personal website www.rekenna.com