January 21, 2015
Whether you’re new to the content creation game or have been at it for awhile, you’ve probably recognized a need for solid website content. With the proper approach, content can drive traffic and attention while increasing your brand’s online reach and overall potential.
However, after time passes and you’ve written a number of posts, it can start to get repetitive. Whether you struggle with coming up with actual ideas for content, or, are looking for ways to vary how that content looks, thinking outside the box can be a difficult endeavor. Luckily, you’re not alone; even the most experienced marketers struggle with content creation both for their blogs and their sites in general. Follow the tips listed below to mix it up while adding variety to your brand’s content marketing strategy.
The Importance of Unique Branded Content
Members of your target market are on the lookout for brands that actively engage their customers and potential customers. This means that relevant content can not only get you in front of those individuals most likely to do business with you, it can serve a purpose that’s deeper than a sales call. It can provide education while allowing customers to learn more about what your brand is all about.
Just in case you need a few statistics to back up the importance of content, and why you should be focusing on how that content looks, check out the following facts:
- ‘Sixty-one percent of consumers’ (http://www.customcontentcouncil.com/news/roper-finds-majority-consumers-value-custom-media) have more confidence in brands that produce regular content — this makes them more likely to do business with these brands.
- ‘Interesting content is one of the top three reasons’ (http://www.inboundwriter.com/content-marketing/infographic-the-anatomy-of-content-marketing-2/) people cite for following certain brands over others.
- Companies with blogs generate ‘sixty-seven percent more inbound leads’ (http://socialmediab2b.com/2012/03/b2b-social-media-leads-infographic/?utm_source=Webbiquity) than those without.
Customers aren’t looking to connect with brands that produce the same content over and over again. They’re looking for brands that provide educational and useful information that’s engaging and fresh. Thinking outside the box has never been more important.
Wondering how to add a little variety? Consider the options below.
1. Find a New Source
It doesn’t matter if you’ve subscribed to the same industry newsletters and followed the same online sites for years, sometimes a change is necessary. When you pull information from the same source to create content for your brand, over time, it will become stale. In this case, variety is key.
To look for new content sources, run a search. Talk to others inside of your industry and find out what they’re reading and what information they find useful. Look for sites that provide up-to-date information that is reliable. When you change where you’re getting information, your content will start to sound different, which could be a welcome change.
2. Check out the Competition
Taking information from your competitors is generally frowned upon. This does not, however, mean that you can’t follow their leads.
Think about your top five competitors – those in your market place that have seen success. While it may be difficult to explore how your brand compares, it can also be beneficial. Does their site contain content that’s different than yours? Are there features on their pages that stand out to you? Chances are, these features also stand out to your customers and potential customers.
It doesn’t have to rely on your speculation to be a successful endeavor, however. Tools like ‘CognitiveSEO’ (http://cognitiveseo.com/) exist that allow you to browse the sites of your competitors while search for their top ranking pages. See if there are similarities between multiple competitors for best results.
Once you’ve found top ranking pages, look for common themes. Is there something new you could bring to the conversation through your website? Are there keywords that tend to be more successful than others?
Comparing what you’re doing to what your competition – or giants in your industry who may not even be your competitors – can be positive. Look for site features that vary from your own, pages, social media behaviors and blogging and look for ways to incorporate some of those features into your own content strategy.
3. Rethink Your Keyword Strategy
If you are still using keywords that you found to be relevant last year, or even last month, your site might be dated and may be outranked by sites that put a consistent effort into keyword research. While this can be handled by a professional SEO firm, there are also steps you can take on your own to find out how to enhance your keyword strategy.
Start by visiting ‘Google’s Keyword Planner’ (https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner). While the tool is designed for creating PPC campaigns, it’s also useful for helping boost your site’s organic SEO potential. The planner allows users to search for keyword ideas based on specific industries and themes, to enter specific keywords to see how they perform and to upload keyword lists.
Options for increasing your site’s rankings include uploading the list of keywords you’re currently relying upon to see if they have dropped, and looking for new ideas. Once you put together a list of solid keyword ideas, look for ways to generate content on a regular basis around these specific keywords. Use them naturally whenever possible.
Remember, keyword research is not a once-and-done initiative, double check your keywords on a monthly basis and look for ways to enhance your content moving forward.
4. Vary Your Structure
You can only read so many pieces of content that look and sound the same. While it’s great that you’re taking the time to right paragraph after paragraph, post after post, your customers are probably looking for something new. Options to explore include:
- Video Posts. Videos allow you to share your personality and your voice in a natural, conversational method. This could enhance your customers’ perception of your brand and help in the relatability category.
- Testimonials. While online business has exploded, there’s still an element of distrust. It makes sense – how much trust can you put into a brand that you’ve never interacted with before, without talking to a single person? Testimonials help to overcome this obstacle. Consider creating a testimonials page that’s full of success stories. Be as transparent as possible and ask existing customers to contribute.
- Infographics. Infographics allow your brand to present complicated or difficult data in a format that is visually appealing and easy to digest. This easy-to-share format increases the chance content will go viral or at least reach members of your target market.
5. Ask Your Customers What They Want
Chances are, you have a social media presence. Whether you’ve focused on engaging members of your target market through these networks or not, now is the time to do so. Start discussions with followers, ask questions and host live chats – like TweetChats – to find out what interests them. Think back over questions you’ve encountered in the past and conversations you’ve held with customers. The options are endless. By focusing in on what your customers are actually looking for, you can ensure your content meets those needs.
How could you change your brand’s approach to content creation? Consider the options above and get started today.
Adrienne Erin is a blogger and Internet marketer for what she thinks is one of the best SEO companies out there. When she's not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.