We hear it all from everyone who has a bit of knowledge about websites, or SEO. Content is indispensable. Content is KING. And before you think I want to convince you of something else, no, that is true but content must be good and that is not as easy as it seems, in addition to building a constant content flow.
Because content is a huge concept, this item is extra long, you have been warned.
Where to start when it comes to content?
Before you start working on your content, it is important to have a good idea of a number of things.
Target group / Demographics
You have to have a good idea of who you are going to bring your content to. Very simply put, you must know who your target group / demographics are. This so that you have a good idea of how you can best communicate with them (formal / informal, in depth / low level).
Without that, in any case, in general, it is a shame to be concerned with writing content. Because it suits your target group / demographics, it reflects their direct interests and they are an extension of your products / services.
For example, you can go deeper into products or services of your website but which will you primarily focus on? This can be based on margins, on what is popular (which is not necessarily a bad thing), on the interests of your largest target group.
Using analytical tools such as Google Analytics you can get a picture of your target audience and demographics.
Cool you know with which target group you are going to communicate with. Now it is good for you to write what kind of writing style / tone or voice and even brand voice fits you. Because you write differently if your target group is youth or, for example, the elderly.
And then I mean even outside of choosing between informal and formal. You explain things very differently when it concerns one or the other target group.
But also look into interests, often in such a way you can determine whether someone is technically or not, what can then tell you whether or not your target group likes technically profound items.
Sometimes that is more difficult and then you just have to take that first step. You can also consider doing a pilot in which you A/B test with, for example, Google Optimize which content does better.
In addition, there is one important tip that I want to give you before we really start your content; make sure that the way you write is also flowing into your overall website / webshop.
If on your blog / news section you’re being informally and casual but on the rest of your website you’re being formal and focused on the conversion that gives a very weird contrast to your potential customers. That does not necessarily mean that it is not possible, if you also make a clear dividing line it can even work wonders.
Very good, you know who you are going to focus on when it comes to content and how you are going to bring it. Now we are ready to start thinking about your content and the message you want to convey in your content.
Although it sounds easy, getting the message that you want to convey in your content can not always be easy. Because when you write content, you often do that with an underlying goal, for example conversion (turnover). There is nothing wrong with that, but if you only promote a product as a sale (upsell) and that is done too thick, people will in many cases leave your content behind.
When bringing your message when it comes to such a goal, you have to bring your content in such a way that it is interesting for your visitors but you still refer subtly to your product / service.
Call To Actions (CTAs) come into play and they play an important role in making your message clearer and perhaps also your intent clearer. Good use of CTA’s in your informative content can certainly contribute to the conversion.
When writing content, you also have to take into account the fact that people would prefer to view / read things in well-distributed ‘chunks’ compared to a large / long patch. (Sadly that is not my strong suit)
Let’s debunk some myths out there in the SEO world;
There is no minimum length for a good piece of content. You often hear at least 300 words, preferably 700 words. Your content must be appropriate for what you want to tell in the message. That totally depends on what you want to tell, how you are going to tell it and to whom you are going to tell it.
There is such a thing as thin content. That comes into play at the moment that you have a page where there is virtually no concrete text that is related to the title and the general subject of the page.
Thin content you want to prevent, but do not write with the goal of an x amount of words. Then you write with the wrong intention. Write as it naturally comes, as you would like to tell your target audience. That is much more important than the final length of your content.
Use of media elements
When creating content, the power of media elements can not be denied. Where possible, make use of video, images, infographics, audio (where applicable), etc. All these aspects can help you to distribute content in the aforementioned ‘chunks’.
Compare it to a good book; a good book in the right places has, illustrations, a special explanation or another way in which the content is broken up.
It is important, however, to ensure that the use of media is as optimal as possible. With images; use suitable filenames, appropriate ALT and TITLE attributes and optimize the image in terms of resolution and file size for the web.
Do not go overboard here; if you end up using more media than you have text that supports it, things can go wrong.
Video can be an exception to that. The reason behind it is very simple; as people we prefer that we receive our answer / goal in the easiest way possible.
Just look at how search has changed as an example; in the past you often searched for something to do on Google, now you will be searching for a lot of cases on Youtube with a visual example of how something is done.
The power of video should certainly not be underestimated. If you as a party have the means to use this (of course there is more work involved (planning, recording, editing)) then it is definitely something that is recommended.
Share your content
If you have written content, you must ensure that you make the content public.
Social media can help enormously with that. Make sure you are represented on the channels where your target group / demographics can be found and ensure that you share the written item with a link back to your medium.
That way you can also see how much impact social media channels have on traffic etc.
But also think about being able to subscribe to your content with the help of a newsletter. This way you can keep the customer base that you develop on it periodically informed of developments through the content you write.
Re-sharing content delen
Re-sharing content later is not bad either, but it’s only advisable to see if your content is still current (up-to-date) or if you need to provide it with new information.
Old content are like building blocks
Despite the fact that content might be old, it may be that this content has been the foundation for building the rest of your platform / website. That will not be the case for all content, but everyone has these building blocks.
Joost van der Valk, from Yoast SEO ( https://yoast.com/ ), for example has included the option for cornerstone articles in his plugin used by millions of people worldwide.
In fact, he and I both mean the same when we talk about building blocks / cornerstore items. Without your ‘old’ content you were not where you are now.
It is therefore a good thing to regularly look at your old content to assess it on value and even more important to see how you can make it better or even current relevant.
The value of old content
Old content always has value, but there are different forms of value just like in the ground or mines. Not everything is actually a concrete building block, sometimes it is the smaller stones and sometimes very large boulders. That is also what makes estimating value so difficult sometimes, because you really have to look at it to realize what is possible.
Yoast made that process easier for WordPress users. This is because you can classify items that you consider in advance which form a foundation or that will otherwise be strong for you as Cornerstone articles. But to do that with retroactive effect may require something more than just checking it.
You have to assess that and take follow-up actions where necessary.
In addition, that is a specific solution for WordPress. Although WordPress has a very substantial market share (around 28%), it is of course not the only player on the web.
During my time at LanthopusX, I came up with a technique for reusing old content with the name Repour. Repour is a verb in English for pouring again. Something you can do with content. But you are probably wondering what REPOUR stands for;
Research, Evaluate, Project, Optimize, Update, Republish
These steps are necessary to get a good picture of the value of your ‘old’ content and to make it even better content. Content which certainly has an extra added value and will form an even stronger building block.
Let me explain the different steps of REPOUR;
Here you start with a good picture of your old content. But you also have to look at what is possible to strengthen your content. This can be the case, for example, due to current developments.
If you know what content there is and which has a good status with, for example, a current development.
Then it’s time to see how this content is doing now. Look at the length of the content, the writing style and actually all aspects that you take into account when writing your new content. Often you have sharper standards if you are longer involved in creating content for your platform / website then you had when you started out.
After evaluating, it is advisable to make an estimate of the actions necessary to improve your content. This so that you can make an estimate of the time and therefore the money that it costs. Is the improvement worth it? An important consideration that you have to make.
As briefly mentioned, there may be years between content. In those years there have been several (technical) developments in the field of SEO, SEA and possibly other areas. It is of course advisable to ensure that your old content meets the latest requirements.
This so that your content can best reach its goal.
If you can fully participate on the technical side content, then it’s time to update the content. This may mean that you have to rectify content, or sometimes even have to redact it, in order to make it reusable with the developments that have taken place.
You may also want to change the shape of your items in this section.
If you provide content with the necessary adjustments then it is highly recommended to put content in the spotlight again. A revision that goes out via your homepage or news section will attract attention rather than an adapted message which could be more difficult to reach.
Another option may be to refer to the new variant of your content in a new article that is relevant.
The most important thing whichever way you look at it is to get the attention of your target group / demography on the altered content.
Do not REPOUR to quick
Sometimes adding something to what already exists is more difficult than simply pouring more on it. Sometimes you have to let the new sink in first before you add more to the already existing.
With the speed in which developments can take place, content that you have recently made can already be outdated. It is always good to find a good balance when it comes to directly jumping in to current events in relation to the replenishment of old content.
There are no hard lines for that, but a good starting point could be to provide your old content with the new one only if it has proven itself to be measurable or has become a fact.
Evaluate your content
You have delivered your content and launched it into world. Awersome but our work is still not done.
To determine whether your content is doing well, you should periodically check what it does. That may mean that you are going to look in Google Analytics how much traffic has gone to a particular item, how long people have been on the specific page and whether they have made a conversion.
Why evaluate? Because you then know whether you doing well with everything you have determined in advance.
Repeat repeat repeat
If you are on the right track according to your evaluation then it is good to think about what is a feasible frequency in which you can and want to deliver such content items. Think about it carefully because you ultimately create an expectation pattern towards your visitors.
Think of it like this; if you place a new item every week for a longer period of time and that stagnates and lasts longer and even falls away. Then that is of course not logical for the visitor you triggered with your content.
Content creation help
Let’s be honest; not everyone’s strength is to be a content creator and there is nothing wrong with that. But not everyone can equally well tell the same thing about the same subject.
Personally, I believe that a good content strategy / content planning can be very useful. In many cases I could also help you with the content creation (as in writing).
But also for me, some subjects are simply not in my wheelhouse and they might be better with you as the author. If, for example, that is the case then we can, of course, take different paths to come up with a good plan of action for your content.
If I can help you in any way in terms of content, then I would like to hear that and I would like to think about your content with you!