A recent Ascend2 report reiterated what most people know these days: Quality Content is Critical for SEO." 57% of marketing professionals surveyed considered "quality content creation" the most important aspect of earning higher search engine rankings, and over one-quarter of marketing professionals worldwide said that lack of quality content was among the most challenging obstacles to achieving important SEO objectives.
Most clients we've worked with at Mythology - check that, ALL clients we've worked with - have had a difficult time producing the quantity and quality of content required for Google and Bing to show them some love, especially in a competitive niche.
Many trip over the basics:
- Non-existent content calendar, which leads to "Oh shizzle, what are we going to blog/tweet/post this week?" syndrome.
- Inconsistent follow-through, or the "why won't our subject matter experts turn in their assigned blog?" syndrome.
- Lack of re-usable core content strategy, or the "why didn't we think about blogging this presentation? or "why didn't someone post those event pictures" syndrome.
Others have succeeded in producing a consistent content flow, but are struggling to have that content stand out and earn the real interest of prospects and influencers. Without the third-party love, little content generates desired results in a crowded field of "so what?" content.
The truth is, there is a treasure trove of interesting personalities and potential thought leaders within many companies. They don't necessarily tend to raise their hands to add more work to their plate, but they're out there. There are also many interesting personalities among your customer base.
The key is that we all know we should be producing more and better content, but the paradigms and processes for achieving this goal are often broken. Therefore, good content isn't published, rankings aren't achieved, opportunities are lost.
What to do about the situation? Here are a few simple recommendations that have worked for us well at Mythology:
- Put someone on point and accountable for content publishing. That doesn't mean they have to write it, but they have to be responsible for making sure the right content is created and effectively published.
- Hire a professional. Yes, you can afford it. You can't afford not to have quality content published, so if you truly have a too-busy or too-shy group (or a group that simply can't write well), then you must hire a professional writer. Good ones are out there, such as Jo Lord from iwritewords.com (yes, that's a recommendation plug, Jo is great), but they need your clear guidance and direction. Preferably with more than three days lead time to develop a great piece of content.
- Interview, don't assign. One of the most effective methods for unclogging your content flow is to stop handing out blog assignments to people who have little or no interest or time in delivering it. However, that doesn't let your innovative thinkers off the hook. You still need to share those brilliant insights stuck inside their head. We've had great success building interview-style blogs. It's an ego-boost for the interviewee, it's helps them feel like they've contributed to the cause without feeling the guilt of missing their blog deadline, and it absolutely gets out the door faster. Many customers also find it a breath of fresh air to be interviewed not necessarily for a long case study or testimonial, but for their industry insights. Here's one of our most popular blogs derived from this interview strategy.
- Develop and re-use core content, Part 1. Yes, we know nobody reads long-winded white papers these days. Even highly visual ebooks can struggle to hold attention. But if a quality document is created for download, that's only the first part of its job. The real job that it exists to fill, we believe, is to feed your social media and blogging engine for weeks at a time. The most compelling and interesting quotes from the white paper or ebook are often the best tweets to share and can generate a healthy flow of clicks and interactions with target prospects. Hold your content accountable to provide a healthy string of engaging interactions.
- Develop and re-use core content, Part 2. Particularly in the B2B space, we're often surprise how hard engineers, sales managers and other smart folks work on their customer presentations. And then let them sit on their hard drives. A recent client developed a very compelling IT security presentation for a trade conference. Voila! Core content for a blog on the topic, and a great piece of content to share on Slideshare.net (which, by the way, is still one of the most best-kept secrets in reaching B2B decision-makers).
- Get visual with your content. The infographic craze has glutted many a Facebook or LinkedIn wall, and some absolutely add no value because they aren't designed well enough to facillitate better understanding of the actual information being shared. That being said, simple, powerfully created visual representation of an idea or information is still the most effective method for generating an extra millisecond of eye-catching interest so critical in today's crowded world of content. You don't need an in-house visual design guru (although it helps, and larger firms probably should have someone in that role...Trust us, it will pay off if used properly), but you can easily find a handful of trusted free-lancers ready to crank out your (well-designed) infographic or message panel.
There you have it. Content will continue to grow in strategic importance and in difficulty. The internet isn't going anywhere. But with a few simple adjustments, your organization can embrace content marketing and reap the benefits in SEO and increased sales.
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