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FEATURE: Quality Content Delivers Stellar Performance

by Kristi Kellogg, May 23, 2013

Audience: Internet marketing optimizers, content creators and social media strategists

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Takeaways:

  • Understand the importance of content and how you can harness its power
  • Get quick tips on creating different types of content
  • Focus in on best practices for blogging (a sure-fire way to drive traffic)

Among the stars of Internet marketing, one shining standout is quality content. Quality content casts its light onto everything: advertising, public relations, communications, brand voice, social media and websites.

Content done right has the power to inform, to entertain, to inspire or to incite. Content is the cornerstone of any marketing campaign and the difference between engaging, useful content and mediocre content can mean the difference between a conversion or a bounce.

The creation of quality content should be a first priority for any Internet marketer. In conducting research for its 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report released last month, Hubspot found that “marketers are committed to developing content-rich strategies and understand the critical role that content plays — in fact, 10 percent dedicate at least one full-time team member to developing content, and 9 percent have either a full-time SEO expert or blog lead.”

The report, based on data from more than 3,000 marketing and business professionals in 123 countries, found that creating quality content was a top priority among Internet marketing professionals with 18 percent of those surveyed identifying it as their number one goal.

What Is Quality Content?dreamstime_xs_26605136.jpg

Quality content is concerned, first and foremost, with the user who will be reading it.

Quality content:

  • is well written. It is free of spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes.
  • is direct. According to the Nielsen Norman Group , the average Internet user decides whether or not to leave a page within 10 seconds. That means your content needs to get to the point. In the quest to engage your user, remember his or her time is valuable and respect it by being straightforward.
  • is clear. It is not overly verbose. As a point of reference, consider newspapers: the average newspaper article is written at an eighth-grade reading level.
  • is focused on the consumer. All consumers want to know what's in it for them. That innate question — what’s in it for me? — should be at the forefront of your mind when creating content. Whether it’s an informative blog post, or a page about products or services, let your readers know up front how this information is going to benefit them. Your content should always carry an undercurrent that answers what is in it for the reader.

C.C. Chapman, founder of The Cleon Foundation and author of "Amazing Things Will Happen," advises Internet marketers to “create content that isn't all about pitching or landing the sale. It will share more about your company or solve a problem that they have. They'll begin to connect with you and then all the other great content you have that does include the hard sell will come into play and help convert them into a customer. Start with the soul and end with the sale. Not the other way around.” (2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report)

What Counts as Content?

Anything that speaks to your brand counts as content. It’s more than just web pages, press releases and blogs. A Facebook post is content. A LinkedIn summary is content. A tweet is content. Even photos and videos can be content.

  • Web Pages: There should be at least 250 words worth of content on each individual web page. That content should explain the purpose of the page and establish (or continue to establish) the brand voice.
  • Press Releases: Include 300 to 400 words. As with web pages and blog posts, optimize for keywords.
  • Tweets: This ever-popular microblogging platform necessitates careful crafting that maximizes the potential of your 140 characters. Include a Twitpic when you can. Link to other Twitter users with @ symbols when applicable, and always work in a hashtag (#) or two. Make sure to maintain your (albeit abbreviated) brand voice.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn and Other Social Media: Keep the tone conversational and strive to create posts that drive engagement. Use links, ask questions, post tips — share any type of quick hit that your users will like and share.
  • Videos and Photos: Rich media such as videos and photos also have written content that needs to be considered. The scripts of YouTube videos are searchable text on Google, as are images that include text. When you think about images and videos, remember the words being seen or said are just as important as the visuals.

Where Should You Start? A Close-up on Blogging

Blogging should be a top priority for businesses; it is extremely important. Blogging affords an opportunity to create pages and pages of content. The 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report found that 62 percent of marketers published a blog last year and that marketers who exceeded 15 blog posts per month averaged 1,200 new leads. 

From an SEO perspective, creating a blog provides an opportunity to target keywords, especially long-tail keywords. From a user perspective, it’s a chance to get useful information for free. Determine the long-tail keywords related to your service or product. What information does your customer base want? Give it to them in your blog.

Blogging Dos:

  • Maintain your brand’s voice, but know that in a blog post, you have license to be more playful or opinionated. A blog post can push the envelope in a way that your home page can’t.
  • Close with a call to action. Ask readers to share experiences related to each post in the comments, encourage them to ask questions, or suggest that they sign up for your newsletter to receive updates and more information.
  • Strategize just as you would with a standard web page. Distribute your keywords evenly, utilize headers, include Title, Description and Keyword tags.
  • Aim for 400 words or more.
  • Include an image. Posts with images have 50 percent more engagement than those without.

Once your blog post is live, promote it in your social media channels. You can have the most amazing article in the world, but if nobody reads it, you've failed. Cross-promote your content across all the platforms you can. As Tom Fishburne, Marketoon Studios, once said: “Technology can’t save boring content. But it can amplify remarkable content.”

TIP: Our free SEO Tutorial explains step-by-step how to create and optimize quality content.

 

 

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