As the timeless war between Google’s spam teams and black hat SEOs continues to rage with the former winning more and more battles – content marketing is one of the last bastions of effective SEO and search marketing.
Creating great content is a fantastic way of reaching new audiences, generating interest and converting that interest into sales. Here, we offer 100 different tips and examples of how content can help your website and online business thrive.
1. Never lift content from another source – Google knows when you’ve been on the rob.
2. We’ve all wanted a robot friend or servant at one time or another, but Spinbot is not your mate.
3. Likewise, don’t use Word’s Synonym tool to change existing content like a rubbish GCSE English student. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.
4. Don’t capitalise conjunctive words in titles. Par exemple my title up above.
5. Drop pseudo-French in content so people know you’re the mutt’s nuts.
6. But still use terms like mutt’s nuts (when the occasion calls for it) so readers know you’re down-to-Earth and approachable.
7. Make sure you use the right version of spellcheck when writing. Don’t fall into the trap of adhering to US English standards if you run a UK site specializing in products or services for the UK market.
8. Use language which appeals to your target audience. Don’t drop colloquialisms if your target audience is well-spoken.
9. But if the subject matter is light-hearted, have a laugh with your readers.
10. Don’t saturate all the mediums with the same content. If you have followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – they won’t want to see the same thing three times.
11. Use the content and social mediums to their fullest. Upload beautiful pictures on Instagram and invite discussion on Facebook.
12. Invite guest writers from your industry to blog on your site. If they are well-known it could generate new interest for your products/services.
13. Propose the idea of trading articles with the owner of a site in a related industry – everybody wins.
14. Break up text with pictures to create a more digestible body of copy – increasing chance of conversion.
Any excuse to post this picture.
15. Sub-headings and distinguishable sections can help naturally break up an article. Nice and digestible.
16. Use digestible lengths of text. Keep paragraphs to a maximum of five lines and sentences/clauses to a maximum of 24 words.
17. Incorporate clear calls to action when publishing content on site or social media – make the first step of the customer journey easier.
18. Lead, don’t follow. Create unique and interesting content rather than copying competitors.
19. Interact with the audience – create a rapport with your customers and potential customers.
20. Simple comment sections which allows for both members and guests to respond will increase the likelihood of feedback.
21. Ease off the sales pitch. Create copy which is helpful and interesting rather than a direct advertorial.
Leave the sales pitch to Barry Scott
22. Become an authority by offering industry or product relevant guides.
23. Create videos along with guides – so they’re easier to follow and understand.
24. Link to these guides when referencing the subject, increasing audience understanding.
25. Continually re-evaluate your website’s copy. If it could be better, make it better.
26. Revisit and edit/delete old content if new events render it incorrect or redundant.
27. Build a content calendar, so you don’t forget to produce timely content and miss opportunities.
28. Share content more than once. If you believe you have created a great piece of content which is still relevant a month later, share it again to reach new audiences.
29. A/B test for the best, attention-grabbing headlines.
30. Or implement a scientific approach to titling your blogs, articles and updates.
31. Talk to, and about, your customers and their relationship with your products/services. Good sales copy should include more occurrences of ‘you’ and ‘your’ than ‘us’ and ‘ours’ – helping customers feel valued and understand how you can help them.
32. Focus on customer benefits rather than product potential.
33. Link to authority sites – this has SEO benefits and aligns your brand with the qualities of these authoritative sources.
34. Don’t make people work for content. No scrolling galleries for text or survey requests – people just want to read/view/learn/enjoy.
35. Keep your memes up to date – success kid is now 8, it’s time to drop that meme to stay relevant.
A victim of his own success.
36. 4Chan can be scary, but if you’re brave enough it is a great place to find new memes and current trends to factor into content.
37. Promote your content – link to on site content from social media and other sources when you’re proud of your work.
38. Take credit for your work. Google and readers prefer a blog which is attributed to a person rather than ‘Admin’, ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ or a blank author bio.
39. Be seasonal. If its summer – write about lovely things people can do in summer.
40. Offer explanatory text alongside a video in case your readers are at work or somewhere that is not suitable to blast YouTube videos.
41. Always double check you work for mistakes and inconsistencies, like the Americanised spelling in #7.
42. It’s often easier to swap sub-editing and spell/grammar check responsibilities with another writer – other’s mistakes tend to stick out like a sore thumb.
43. Be consistent with formatting and style – people with an eye for detail will be deterred by inconsistencies.
44. Be wary of people offering you ‘great natural links’. Always thoroughly research the places where you’ll place your content. Links back to your site from dodgy and unrelated sites can negatively impact upon your rankings and make you look unprofessional and dopey.
45. Get advice direct from Google Webmaster to reduce the risk of falling foul of new search algorithms and Google penalties.
46. Create unique content for all landing, category and product pages. Google does not recognise and appreciate the poetic potential of repetition.
47. Don’t try and be Buzzfeed. This is aimed at you David Cameron.
48. Reply to criticism with grace and a genuine attempt to right the wrongs.
49. Public rows and heated exchanges reflect poorly upon your company. Never feed the trolls.
50. Invite interaction and sharing through competitions. This can help expose your brand to a much larger audience.
51. Check what competitors are doing – then do it better.
52. Make it easy to find other pieces of content. Simple navigation options and suggested reading can help visitors stay on your page for longer.
53. Link to other related articles and blogs you have created on your blog – offering a greater depth of pertinent information.
54. Create infographics with interesting/shocking stats.
55. Research any information shared on an infographic and state your sources.
56. Use only reliable sources when stating facts and figures – there’s a lot of nonsense floating around the internet and press.
57. Stats, facts, tables and graphs can also spice up traditional forms of copy.
Bonus Tip: Use values for the X Axis instead of a silhouetted man knee-deep in a river.
58. Long-tail titles can attract readers looking to solve specific problems.
59. An FAQ section with genuine customer questions is a very natural and helpful way to incorporate long tail search terms.
60. Never litter your content with keywords. This looks unnatural, will deter readers and has no SEO benefit.
61. Write for relevant sites and blogs – establish yourself as an important and learned part of the industry.
62. Interact with other brands on Twitter – it can lead to great conversations and viral exchanges.
63. Only put out a press release when something genuinely newsworthy has happened/is happening.
64. A branded link in the first paragraph of press release looks most natural.
65. Help a Reporter Out – sign up with this free service and potentially generate free genuine publicity.
66. Likewise, Journalism.co.uk Editorial Requests.
68. Report industry news in a timely fashion.
69. Put a face to the content – Guy Incognito has no friends and no influence.
70. Add simple social media buttons to your blogs, so it is easier for people to share your lovely content.
71. Use descriptive and clear meta data so visitors from Google know what they’re looking at.
72. Use feature images to draw people in. Aspirational images such as beautiful landscapes appeals to people’s wish to better themselves and their situation.
73. The images in Google Images’ ‘Labelled for Reuse’ section can be used in blogs – although the quality veers from very good to downright bizarre.
Thanks Google Image Search.
74. Jot down fantastic ideas you have for articles and blogs. Inspiration is like gold dust and should never be wasted.
75. Use people’s names when replying to them. It’s only polite.
76. Canva is the easy-to-use tool to create attractive text-on-image graphics.
77. Pixlr is the free (although limited) alternative to Photoshop – good enough to complete simple graphic manipulation and editing tasks.
78. Perform Gap Analysis – finding content and information gaps related to your industry and expertise and filling them accordingly.
79. Don’t force it or set unrealistic targets for content volume – this will only lead to a reduction in quality. Let the magic happen naturally.
80. Share topic ideas with other industry folk, a collective mind can help form a stronger angle or approach.
81. Encourage all members of the team to blog and write articles for your site – sharing their experiences and expertise. Although it may be advisable to get the company’s grammar geek to give the content a quick once-over before uploading.
82. Blog live – people love to be up-to-date nosey neighbours.
Be the first to report the Thunderbirds’ trip to Pizza Hut.
83. An excessive volume of images are best viewed in a gallery or format – removing the need for scrolling.
84. Be prepared to research – and link to the sources of research. And then research some more.
85. Get involved with Reddit Ask Me Anything if you have genuine expertise to share with the good people of the internet.
86. Industry-relevant Q&As are great ways to generate interest from a large portion of your audience.
87. Try not to brag. Don’t treat your readers like idiots, they can see the ploy behind your superlatives and exaggerated adjectives.
88. Make the content believable and relatable. As Public Enemy warned: Don’t Believe the Hype.
89. If you are unsure about an article you have written, save it as a draft and revisit it the next day. A clear mind will help you make a definitive decision about the content.
90. Rich Snippets make information easier to digest for readers and Google alike. You can see our Rich Snippet at the bottom of this article.
91. Simplify the explanations – as Einstein said: “If you can’t describe it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
92. Avoid all alliteration. Unless you’re writing cheap tabloid-style headlines.
93. Appeal to emotions which are not governed by rational thought: fear, greed, guilt, exclusivity, anger, salvation and flattery.
94. Use the inverted pyramid to draw in readers. Kick off with the most important/poignant part of the story and work towards the least important.
95. Chase authority sources for a unique quote. This can add authority to your piece and even create a unique angle.
96. Check Google’s News desk technical requirements. Adhering to these could see your content feature on Google News.
97. An article or blog should open in an existing or new tab – never in a new window.
98. Vary your written content – use news, opinion pieces, listicles and more.
99. Really long listicles are great.
100. So are the folks at Banc Media. So, if you’re struggling to get your content marketing up-and-running, give us a ring on 0845 459 0558 and we’ll see how we can help increase traffic to your website and improve conversion.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: lycanthropeheart, Doug Belshaw