Monthly Archives: February 2015

Write Content To Engage Not To Brand

Did you know that distributing great content has benefits even without links?

Have a look at this video

 

Content creation has been an important marketing tool, but one that very few people have mastered how to use effectively. Almost all marketers use content to promote their brand, with varying degrees of success. The main point of difference especially in this internet age is how engaging your content is, to the intended audience. The modern web user is smart and does not scroll the web aimlessly. Rather, users nowadays seek credible information and reliable solutions to real life problems. 

If you thought the modern web user was your only worry, you have not encountered Google’s Panda 4.1 algorithm that has changed the way digital marketers do business. Panda 4.1 shifts focus from SEO to content strategy. In other words, even search engines led by Google, are beginning to value quality content over promotional content filled with fluff and numerous sales pitches. 

Engaging Content versus Promotional Content

Before delving into why your focus should be on engaging content, it is important to outline the difference between engaging and promotional content as the line between the two can sometimes be thin. 

Engaging content is content that has value to readers. In other words, it provides accurate, reliable and updated information; and practical solutions to real-life problems. Promotional content on the other hand focuses only on pushing a certain product or service, or marketing a brand. You can tell promotional content by its focus on the advantages of a particular product, service or brand, without any attempt to provide useful information.

Where Is Your Content Focus? 

Using A Brand Or Content Focus

Some of the characteristics of engaging content include:

It is original

Engaging content is not copied from other sites on the web. Nobody likes to read what has been written over and over on the web. Google does not like it either, and this can be exemplified by the fall in ranks of various webistes following Google’s algorithm update. Engaging content may borrow ideas but it introduces a fresh and original perspective to a topic. 

It is thought provoking and actionable

Engaging content grabs the attention of the reader by crafting a headline and introduction that will get the reader hooked. Rather than dictate to readers what they should do, it leaves them to reflect on the information provided and how to apply it. In other words, engaging content provokes ideas in the mind of the reader on how best to use the information provided.  

It is accurate and updated

Another mark of engaging content is accuracy. Engaging content should be well researched and contain verifiable claims and statistics. It should also link to trusted websites with high quality content. Accuracy increases trust from readers, therefore increasing the authority of one’s site. In addition, engaging content is constantly updated to reflect the current state of affairs; and it is not just readers who appreciate updated content but Google as well. 

It contains answers 

One of the main reasons why people seek information is to better themselves and find answers to life’s pressing questions. You would be amazed by how many Google searches begin with interrogative words such as what, how, when, who and where; signifying just how much people are looking for answers. Engaging content needs to anticipate these problems and provide practical answers. 

It makes use of visuals

Engaging content is not just a boring factual report but stimulating as well. It makes use of visuals such as images and videos to drive points home and maintain the attention of the readers. 

Benefits of Engaging Content over Promotional Content

In the past, you could get away with poor quality or copied content on search engines by simply using the right keyword density. However, this has changed with Google’s algorithm update and the demand for useful content by the modern web user. Content strategy is not meant to hurt businesses. On the contrary, selfless content creation has been proven to have more benefits in the long term, over promotional content creation. Some of these benefits include:

Building a loyal audience 

Writing content that is of value to readers even when it means foregoing an opportunity to market your brand may not increase your traffic right away, but eventually, it will. Quality content will gradually build your readership base, increasing traffic and the odds of visitors returning to the site. Promotional content on the other hand might earn you instant traffic but none of it is likely to turn into loyal readers and customers, if all you are doing is pushing your brand down people’s throats. 

Increasing conversion rates

High traffic is not really beneficial to a business unless it has good conversion rates. Quality content will not only attract traffic but convert it to actual sales as well. People are more likely to buy from sites that have already provided helpful information, as a level of trust has already been established, than from sites full of annoying sales pitches pushing you to buy products without providing any valuable solutions. 

Improving search engine ranking

With Google’s Panda 4.1 update as well as new SEO metrics such as Trust Flow and Citation Flow, the search engine ranking system has changed. Preference in search engine rankings is now given to sites with high quality content that have already established trust with readers, and that have a good number of backlinks due to the quality of information provided. And do not be fooled, search engines have a way of detecting shoddy link building schemes. 

Increasing quality backlinks

Quality and original content will frequently be cited and referenced to by other sites on the web, increasing the number of back links. This will be helpful in your link building campaign and send more targeted traffic your way. 

Promotional content that is stuffed with keywords may look like an easy option to get instant traffic but in reality, it is a waste of time and money. Modern web users do not appreciate you constantly forcing your brand on them. They are looking to get quality content with practical solutions. Search engines are too, and they will reward your efforts to create quality content, and punish you for poor quality content. In this regard, you would be well advised to make engaging content your goal and reap the rewards from readers and search engines.