The Twin Threat To Your Content Efforts.
VP of Content at Contently, Sam Slaughter, once said that the “rise in content marketing budgets [is due] to the fact that banner ads and SEO-driven content are less effective, especially as Google continues to tweak its algorithm in favour of stories with substance and share ability.” In other words – marketers who are genuinely interested in their prospects and produce content that is genuinely interesting to those same prospects will succeed where others fail.
Before we get into the how’s and why’s, let’s get one thing straight – content marketing is not a replacement for SEO. SEO will continue to form the foundations holding our online strategies together, and ensure that our content gets found by the people we wish to read it. We still need SEO basics to expose what we do that provides value in a way that engines can easily crawl, index, understand, and show off, in order to perform well in the search engine results pages (SERPs). – i.e strategic use of keywords, internal linking, image optimisation, mobile optimisation, well written snippets etc. We also need to a process for turning visitors from search into customers i.e. a funnel that works
The other thing we need to consider when formulating our SEO strategy is being interesting and interested (in our target audience – and also beyond to their influencer network). Ask yourself these three questions:
- What does our organisation create that helps solve searchers’ questions or problems?
- What is the unique value we provide that no one else does?
- Who’s going to help amplify our message, and why will they do it?”
It is imperative that the content we produce tells the prospect or customer something they don’t already know. We need this magic ingredient in our content (strategy) – the thing that makes things catch on. It could be authenticity, it could be empathy, and it could be curiosity. To paraphrase a quote from marketing expert Jay Abraham – “If you want to be the most interesting be the most interested.”
There are many legitimate strategies for creating popular content, but the most successful are built on the two foundations to strong relationships – being interested and interesting. This idea was captured to great effect way back in 1936 by Dale Carnegie in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ when he said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
What I am talking about here is more of an attitude to how we get to ‘get inside’ the minds and hearts of prospects and customers and write content for those prospects and customers to those around us?
The same applies to SEO i.e. how are you going to turn the expertise of a business into something that search engines can perceive? Maybe we have the answers to these questions, but we need to find some way to show it off. We don’t just need content that is good quality content that can be crawled and indexed. in order to capitalise on the growing importance of social networks and also search engines, as sources of traffic. If you want to spin a story so that it goes viral, you need to write to get people to share it, to like it.
You might find useful to ask the following questions of your content:
- What in your content is trying to be interesting, to catch someone’s attention, to get someone interested in me?
- What in your content is focused on the interests of your prospects/customers, being interested in them, connecting with them and helping them?