Your website is up, ready to go, and now you’re wondering how you can get people to stop by and stay a while. Words, phrases, and acronyms dance in your head; SEO, Internet Marketing, Content is King… but what do they all mean, and how can you make them work for you?
I’m sad to say it, but there is no one method to follow that till help you write amazing content to get your business noticed and ranked. I wish there was! Instead, there are some “best practice” style steps that you can take to ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward and doing everything you can to get your content noticed, shared, and remembered.
#1: Research, Plan, and Lock Onto Your Target
No matter what point you’re starting from (finished or unfinished site/blog) the first thing you need to do is plan. Imagine yourself as the general of an army; you wouldn’t charge into battle without a plan would you? Creating content is a battle of sorts, because your finished piece will be competing with content all over the web. Here are a few things you can do to give your content a fighting chance!
- Know your market. Research your competition, what are they doing that works? What are they doing that doesn’t? Next take a look at your customers, who are they (age, gender, income, etc)?
- Search for yourself. Using your main keyword(s), try to find yourself using a major search engine like Google. Where do you rank? Also pay attention to what content is ranking better then you for your keyword(s) and look at whether or not it is relevant to your business.
- Consider this: What are your customers searching for when they find you? If your target market is arriving at your business under terms that are not your keywords, ask yourself why that is and what you can do to make the most of it. (Hint, it involves some keyword and market research)
Take a look at some of these handy research tools; some are free and some require subscriptions or payments. It’s a mixed bag, but they’re all solid products and services.
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool
- Bing Keyword Research Tool
- Raven Tools Internet Marketing Tools
- Yahoo! Clues Beta
#2: Write for Humans
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something that is vital to the success of your writing efforts. Of course you’re writing for humans you say, because who else is going to read what you write? The short answer: robots. Search engines send out feelers every second of the day to see what’s new on the web, and these are what find your content and add it to the search engine’s database. You might be thinking, “Wait, so I should write for the robots too?” and the answer to that is yes and no.
What you should focus on first and foremost are the people that you want to read your content. These people will be who shares your content with friends/family, bookmark it for later, etc. The robots can do only so much for you, so you will need people to take you the rest of the way.
Now about what I just said about writing for the robots. I know I just got finished telling you that they’re not your top priority, but the fact is they are a priority none-the-less. You need to do a few things to make sure that if someone searches for your keyword they can find your content, and this is where the robots can do you a favor. Place your keyword in your content a few times, but make it look natural! Read your content out loud with your keyword in the text to make sure it reads well and flows smoothly. If it doesn’t, take your keyword out and see if it would fit better elsewhere in your writing.
Curious? Read More on These Blogs:
And Check Out This Video on YouTube:
#3: Stand Out and Make Yourself Useful
Earlier I mentioned the phrase “Content is King” and this is one of the core concepts of internet marketing. It means that content is one of the most important aspects of any good marketing strategy because your content is what your customers see and it is often how they find you. Think of your content as the first impression you might make on a potential customer. How can you make a good first impression?
- Write unique/original content. Not only do the search engines love unique and original content, your customers will love it too.
- Uniqueness isn’t just a percentage. Sure, your content might be 100% unique, but does it stand out from the crowd? Unique / original content makes an impact on the viewer; does yours?
- Make yourself useful! Your customers will want to read something that they can actually use, not just some content with your keyword in it a few times. How-to’s, reviews, or content that explains something about your business’ products or services are all great ways to pass along something useful to your readers.
To put it bluntly, useful content can take you far, and content that really doesn’t help your reader in some way is not going to be doing you any favors. Yes, it might help you in the short term with getting your keyword out there, but why go through the effort of writing three not-so-useful posts when one truly useful one will do? Work smarter, not harder!
See what top bloggers are saying:
- Darren Rowse on “Writing Good Content”
- Rick Sloboda on “Good Web Content Examples & What Makes Them Work”
#4: It’s All Relative
Good content that is going to get your business noticed and ranked has to be relevant to your business. I can hear the word “DUH!” loudly in my own mind when I read this, and I can imagine that a few of you hear it too. Why, if you have a business selling kitchen appliances, would you write about beach vacation destinations? What you should be writing about instead are products you sell, like toasters or mixers, or services you offer like appliance repair. It might seem odd to think that someone would write about something completely irrelevant to their business, but the more you look around, the more you’ll see it. So stick to what your business is all about, whether it is a product, a service, a leader in the company, etc and you’ll steer clear of all of that.
Relevant content will do things for you that irrelevant content simply cannot. And if the benefits weren’t encouragement enough, there are penalties to putting irrelevant content out these that go beyond simply not getting the traffic you desire. The lesson? Add relevance to unique, useful content and you’ve got pure gold on your hands.
For More Information, Check Out:
- Ted’s thoughts on “The Importance of Relevant Communications”
- The Atwoodz Admin on “Google Panda Update”
#5: K.I.S.S. More Often
And no, I don’t mean put a little more lip-locking into your day. In this case I’m referring to the K.I.S.S principle and rallying cry of creative people everywhere, “Keep It Simple Stupid!” Before anyone gets offended, it’s a general term, I’m by no means calling anyone stupid. Moving on!
- Resist temptation. Hold yourself back from trying to cram everything about your topic into one piece of content. Ever see the letters “tl;dr” anywhere? It stands for “too long, didn’t read” and means that the person only skimmed the content because it was too long.
- Break things up. Smaller chunks of content are preferred by readers and therefore more useful to them since they’re more likely to stay and read the whole thing. If your content is getting a little long-winded, consider making it into a series.
Keeping things simple not only saves you time, it can help increase your traffic, especially if you can take a single post and turn it into a series. That one idea can give you several pieces of content, now who’s working smarter? That’s right, you are!
- Think like a potential customer…
#6: Share the Love
When you’re putting together your content, don’t be afraid to link to other content outside of your site if it is relevant to what you’re writing. A few rules of thumb for considering outside content:
- Is it relevant?
- Does it add to your content / support your opinion?
- Does the creator mind others using their content?
Often other writers, photographers, etc do not mind if you reference their content or quote it briefly to help support your ideas. When including another person’s content in your work, make sure to keep it short and sweet and always let your readers know where you got it from. Sometimes just a name and a link to their article/image/video is enough for the original author, and when in doubt, ask! Most people will have a contact form on their websites or have some way to get in touch with them.
Make sure to let the original author know if you use their work, even if you just linked to their site. It’s polite, and it’s also an opportunity for free promotion of your content, because this original author might want to share your work since it include some of theirs. Kind of a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” situation, though it is not good manners to demand a link or some kind of promotion in return. Keep things friendly and relaxed and you might find that other authors will appreciate your attitude and help you out. And if they don’t that’s okay, don’t let it stop you from creating the best content you can.
Attribution: What is it and why should you care?
- Rob Cottingham on “Why Attribution is Important…”
#7: Keep Things Current
Regularly updated content is crucial to success if you are writing content in hopes of getting your business noticed and ranked. It looks good to the search engines and it looks good to people who visit your business site. Current content lets everyone know that you’re actively working with your business and your website and not just someone who created a site, wrote some content, and then left it sitting. Even if you are simply writing content for some of your static web pages you can always update it once a week, once a month, etc to make sure the information there is fresh and relevant to your business.
One of the easiest way to keep a flow of current content going is to have a blog, either as a part of your business website or separate from it. A blog can help you organize your content, and some platforms like WordPress can help you schedule your content, allow for multiple writers to work on your blog, and many other features that can help you stay at the top of your game.
Need More Tips? Check Out These Posts:
Or Visualize It!
And there you have it! Seven steps for crafting amazing content that is sure to help you get your business noticed and ranked! I honestly believe that if you follow these steps and take the information in this post to heart, you will be ready to write killer content that people can’t help but share.
Bookmark this post and come back whenever you need to review this information, and be sure to pass this post along to anyone you know who wants to write amazing content. Now get out there and get writing!
Have your own steps for writing killer content? Let us know and we’ll try to include them in one of our future posts on content writing.