One of the biggest mistakes made in marketing is to produce and publish content for the sake of publishing content. You’re on a time crunch, you’re supposed to publish a blog every week, and now it’s Thursday night and you’re staring at a blank page. What you end up posting on Friday is probably not going to be your best work. You see, without a strategy, your content falls flat. It’s not going to be effective or resonate with your audience and it’s certainly not going to move the needle for you. Frequency and consistency are definitely factors to consider for your content, but producing quality content driven by a comprehensive strategy should be the priority.
What Happens When You Produce Content for Its Own Sake?
Content Quality and Depth Suffers
If you’re just trying to get new content up on your website, you’ll likely choose an easy topic that requires less research, support or expertise. Such a topic doesn’t actually say anything new or significant; there’s nothing learned or gained by it. We call this thin or “fluff” content. Unless thin content is your business (i.e., entertainment industry), then it’s not pulling any weight or doing you any favors. It’s also not setting your content apart from your competitors.
Your Google Rankings May Dip
“Sure, it might not be great, but it’s better than nothing, right?”
Thin or fluff content actually harms your website SEO in that it doesn’t differentiate your site or add authority to it. Since the Panda updates of 2011, Google takes the approach of elevating original, useful content over thin content that offers nothing to the reader. Google’s BERT update in October was another clue that Google is taking great care to match words related to a topic to better provide answers that are in line with the user intent. So, for a topic like “weddings,” Google will associate words like “bridal bouquet,” “ceremony officiant,” and “open-bar reception” to that topic. Your content, if it’s about weddings, will include key phrases and content about things like that to indicate relevant and useful information.
You May Lose Your Audience
If you gain an audience by posting quality content, you’ll lose them over time as the quality of your content declines. This can happen if you had a strategy at one point, but the implementation of it has diminished over time. It can be discouraging to see, but you can gain your audience back by realigning with your strategy!
Inversely, if you’ve always posted thin content and your audience is accustomed to that, there may be a learning curve of sorts. If you start implementing a strategy for your content and posting content with more depth, your audience will either adjust expectations or you lose some of them and gain new members in response to the quality content. In this case, your Impressions, Views or Users (Quantity Metrics) may decrease, but hopefully your Engagements, Conversions, and other Quality Metrics increase, and then you can work toward growth again.
How Can You Write Strategic, Quality Content Instead?
Craft Your Content Strategy
Before you start on your content, you need a content marketing plan. In this plan, you should establish goals that you use to guide your content topics and production. If it isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, then it gets axed. You should refer back to the strategy frequently to maintain this alignment.
Identify Your Audience and Write for Them
Connecting with the right people is vital for high-quality and successful content. You must identify your true audience (not necessarily who you think they are!), craft the right message, and get it in front of them at the right time in order to turn them into a customer. Personas can be a helpful tool in identifying and speaking to your target audience but beware of excluding people in your target audience just because they don’t have the qualities of your “majority” audience.
Plan Topics in Advance with a Content Calendar
You should absolutely be planning your topics out in advance to give writers time to research the topic and refine their work. Hastily written content is rarely top-quality, so if you and your writers are always in a time crunch, it may be time to pull back on frequency in order to focus on quality. A content calendar is a great resource to manage all of this in a way that other people on your team can reference and understand.
Conduct Research & Incorporate Sources
Your business blog, website, and social media platforms are not an op-ed. You shouldn’t just rant your opinion without sources to back it up. Do some research and see what’s already out there, refer to nonbiased experts whenever possible. Even use your own in-house experts to provide thought leadership and in-depth insights! Doing so gives your content weight and authority.
Consider SEO for Each Post
What is your post about? That should be clear from your page title, the content itself, and the images and links on the page. There should be no doubt or deception, no keyword stuffing. For saturated keywords, find ways to differentiate yourself. If you’re a horticulturist looking to start a blog, you don’t want to try competing for the keywords “gardening” because it’s already saturated and you won’t get much exposure there because of the competition. However, if you stick to seasonal gardening concerns specifically for South Carolina, you have much better chances to reach and engage with people in your area who are actively searching for information and expertise that you can give them! That level of specificity allows you to target your audience effectively – and actually reach them!
Ask for Help!
Content should never exist for its own sake; it should be smart, answer the needs of your customers and move your needle. If you want help with creating a content strategy, or with managing or creating your content, EnVeritas Group can help! Let us share our strategic content expertise with you so your content works hard for you today, and in the future. Contact us to learn more!