January 21, 2015
Every content marketer on the planet knows that quality content is key for driving results. Although results can come in all shapes and sizes, it all boils down to content that is sharable, likeable, and organic. If your content isn’t clicking with your audience, you are missing one of the primary advantages of creating user-friendly content in 2015.
Defining 2015-Friendly Content
So, what exactly is 2015-friendly content? Now that another year is in full swing, it’s essential to understand what kind of content kicks off top-quality techniques.
In order to sufficiently engage your audience and encourage social sharing, your 2015-friendly content must meet one or more of the following engagement criteria:
- Answers questions
- Creates a connection
- Easy to understand
While these qualities are simple in theory, content marketers must align content with these characteristics just right. This is the early step for creating content that is sharable and likeable. Missing the mark during this phase can completely derail your content efforts.
Organic: An Element of Its Own
Even though sharable, likeable content needs to meet those list of qualities, there is another element that sets sharable content apart from your every day blog posts: an organic touch.
When we’re talking about organic content here, we aren’t exactly referring to organic content that naturally ranks well on Google. In this context, organic content is authentic content. It’s as real and high quality as you can get without interacting with another human face-to-face.
Let’s take a look at some examples of organic content, and how you can incorporate it into your 2015 content marketing strategy.
Conversational in Nature
Organic content makes you feel as if you are in conversation with a friend vs. reading a thread of text. It’s the kind of content that makes you forget that your eyes are glued to a computer screen. You feel like you could almost talk back. (And sometimes, you do!)
Have you ever read an article that was so well written that it felt like it was referring to you and your specific situation? I see you nodding over there. That is organic content at its finest.
What about the material that is so engrossing that hours pass by before you know it? Yet again, this is the feeling that you get when you read organic content.
Organic content is never forced. It flows effortlessly, as if you are in deep conversation with a friend.
Going Organic: Blog Comments
Luckily, organic content doesn’t have sky-high pricing like organic produce at the grocery store. You can implement organic content almost anywhere without any extra cost, and it doesn’t even have to be on your own website.
One of the best ways of creating organic content is by reading blog posts and leaving your thoughts. The catch here is that ‘nice post, visit my blog’ isn’t going to cut it. The idea with organic content is to provide value. Attempt to make a connection with the writer and add an angle that demonstrates that you actually read their piece.
One of the industry’s leading marketers did just that, and provided an interesting case study to correlate with his findings.
How One Marketer Earned $25,000 With Organic Content
Recently, a well-respected marketer wrote about how he generated $25,000 with 249 blog comments. His case study documented the results that he experienced after leaving valuable comments on blogs and articles.
His first 25 comments consisted of only one sentence or phrase. (Think back to the ‘nice post, visit my blog’ comment from earlier.) These comments only generated 82 visitors, or 3.2 visits per comments.
However, what happened next really shows the value of organic content. His remaining 224 comments that were between 4-17 sentences long and consisted of relevant feedback drove 3,891 visitors. Here’s an example:
As you can see, this organic form of content connected with his readers. With only 1-2 minutes of effort, this marketer was able to generate roughly 17 visitors per blog comment. When you think about it, that number really adds up if you keep at it.
Case Study Continued: Guest Posts vs. Comments
One interesting takeaway from this study was the traffic results from guest posts vs. blog comments. In total, this marketer discovered that thoughtful blog comments provided 7 times more leads than guest posts he did not comment on.
Are Blog Comments Worth $25,000?
Sometimes it’s difficult to put a price tag on content. In this situation, however, 249 comments generated 7 leads. These 7 leads earned him a whopping $25,000. Although you may or may not generate that kind of cash flow from a couple hundred blog comments, the proof is in the pudding: people respond to content that is organic, answers questions, and provides value.
Meeting The Needs of Your Audience
Content has always been about meeting the needs of your audience, and this has not changed for content marketers in 2015. However, understanding this statement and actually implementing it are two different things.
The question then becomes how do you know you are meeting your audience’s needs?
You can find the answer to this question using several techniques:
- Ask your audience what they want. It’s a straightforward tactic, but ask and you shall receive.
- Do a bit of digging. Social media and Q&A websites such as Quora are great sources for discovering what kind of content your audience is searching for.
- Pick up clues from competitors. Evaluate the content that your competitors are producing and sharing. Judging by social shares and blog commentary, you can get an idea of whether they are hitting the mark.
- Test the waters yourself. Although it’s not advised to use content marketing as a shot in the dark, it never hurts to do a bit of split testing. You can split test your content using different topic themes (how-tos, industry news, in-depth guides, and more). You can also split test by using content in different contexts such as video, blogs, infographics, and slideshows.
Staying in tune with your audience is one of the best ways to meet their needs. Your audience is always talking, asking questions, and reading what you have to say. Engage with your audience on a regular basis, and this will help you meet their needs in a timely manner.
Moving Forward: The Content of The Future
Now that you understand what organic content is and how it works, it is time to dive in and start creating shareable and likeable content of your very own. To get you started on the right foot, here’s how you can tie in that organic feel with your own web content.
Sharing random bits of information that is outdated, irrelevant, or too off topic can put a damper on your content marketing efforts. In 2015, your content should either be hot off the press, or simply timely and relevant. No one wants to read recycled content that doesn’t hold any value. Your audience doesn’t, either.
New connections can be established with your content either with your audience or competitors. If it sounds silly to connect to your competitors with your content, you are thinking about it all wrong. Creating these connections can help you establish authority. With authority comes thought leadership, which translates to likeable, shareable, and organic content.
Curating Content: 2015-Friendly, Organic, and Shareable
Now that you have learned the qualities that make organic content truly remarkable, there’s a secret weapon that can get you sharing organic content, pronto: curation.
Curating content is key for sharing quality content with your audience, while giving credit where it’s due. If you are not already curating content, this might make you reconsider: all of ‘content of the future’ qualities can be easily met by curating content.
To re-cap, curation advantages include:
- Becoming a thought leader
- Sharing timely and relevant content
- Establishing new connections
- Empowers your audience
- Can help create new experiences
Creating original content time and time again can be a challenge for even the best content marketers. With content curation, you can share content that is hot and trending at the click of a button.
Tips For Curating Like a True Thought Leader
Even though curating content is technically sharing top quality content around the web, it is a little more complicated than copy/paste. In order to curate content like a pro, follow these curation guidelines:
- Add extra value. It’s true that the content that you are distributing is already valuable and relevant on its own. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t add value of your own. Analyze the piece that you are sharing and brainstorm on how you can add additional value to the content.
- Add expert insight. One smart way of adding value to your curated content is by adding expert insight. Your audience wants to hear what you have to say, so take advantage and type out a few thought-provoking lines.
- Use your head. Even though curating content can be automated, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go about it. You can curate content at the click of a button with automation tools, but always use your best judgment. Does this piece provide value to your audience? Would you appreciate it if this piece was shared with you?
Top quality content is never automated. In the world of both content marketing and content curation, you can’t put a price on the human touch.
Taking Content to New Levels in 2015
Last year may have been the year of content, but 2015 is the year that takes it to another level. Content marketing is going organic, and passionate thought leaders are the driving force behind content that clicks with customers.
From $25,000 blog comments to empowering your audience, you hold the key to turning top-notch content into top-dollar sales.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia's blog.