One of the worst things that you can do in terms of content marketing involves writing exclusively with SEO in mind. Content created for SEO reads like it was written by a robot – thanks in large part to the fact that it was written for a robot (though Google calls the “spiders”). Above all else, you need to write with real human beings in mind first and foremost.
Having said that, SEO is still pretty important – especially if you want to increase visibility and raise brand awareness. But writing for SEO is never the answer. Instead, you need to make sure that you’re creating content alongside some fairly hard and firm SEO rules that already exist. These two ideas are similar but very, very different. Luckily, they’re also more straightforward than you might be imagining. You just need to keep a few key things in mind.
Your Ideas Cannot Exist in a Vacuum
One of the marketing and SEO issues that a lot of businesses run into. Has to do with the fact that they start with an idea for a piece of content and work their way back to their audience, instead of the other way around.
They spend hours crafting the perfect Infographic or slideshow and finally put it online, only to realize that it totally fails to make the impact they were looking for. This is because even though the thesis behind that piece mattered a lot to them. Their audience didn’t care – and they would have known that had they not tried to skip right to the finish line.
Creating relevant, thoughtful, valuable content needs to always begin with your audience. Meaning that your ideas for topics cannot exist in a vacuum. Before you sit down with a piece of presentation software like Visme (which I founded), make sure that your topic is as good as you think it is by doing keyword research. Take a look at some of the most popular topics for your industry. Pay attention to the real conversations people are having.
What types of questions are they asking? Types of problems are they having a hard time-solving? What do they care about? What bores them?
Then, once you have the answers to those questions based on keyword research and other avenues, come up with a list of topics and then get back to your flowchart creator and bring those ideas to life. But if you don’t start with your audience. You’ll find a decidedly hollow response to your efforts far more often than not.
Whenever Possible, Your Content Should Be Evergreen
One of the keys to success in terms of content marketing involves always having a blog. A white paper or an Infographic for every occasion. Part of this comes down to keyword research, as outlined above. If you start with your audience and you’re aware of the questions they’re asking. You’re always in a better position to answer it. This will require you to get very specific and timing is everything. But generally speaking, this is the way things are done.
To a certain extent.
Yes, it’s good to write a blog post on hot-button industry topics. That isn’t going to be relevant next week. You need to strike while the iron is hot, as it were. But equally (if not more) important is your ability to create content that will always be relevant, no matter how much time passes.
Case in point: video. If you spend huge amounts of time coming up with videos addressing hyper-relevant, time-specific topics and then put that content up on a service like Uscreen, you’re probably going to experience an initial burst of success. However, that engagement is going to taper off over time – before it disappears entirely, never to return.
Have you ever sat down and watched an old “Saturday Night Live” filled with old political jokes that only really made sense in January of 1991? You just sit there, scratching your head and thinking to yourself “I guess this was funny at some point… but I don’t think I really understand it today.” It’s a bit like that.
Instead, spend that energy coming up with educational and valuable videos. That will be as relevant in ten years as they are today. Do the same with your blogs, your presentations and other forms of content. For the best results, try to create a mixture of both – incredibly specific and timely content and their evergreen alternatives. If you’re able to strike that delicate balance, you’re in a better position to succeed over the long haul.
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland based digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.