So you’ve read all the SEO and online marketing blogs and you know that building dodgy links that are spammer than that awful processed meat is not an option anymore. You know these days it’s all about creating “quality content” and you know social content sharing is pretty important too.
With the good old “Content is King” mantra ringing in your ear, you get down to business and start blogging away, pitching for guest blogs like your life depends on it, sending out press releases like they’re going out of fashion and quickly slapping together info graphics with any facts you can get your hands on (regardless of whether they apply to your industry)… but it’s just not working.
You can’t understand it; you’re doing everything that everyone else is doing so why aren’t you riding high on the wave of great rankings, increased traffic and, most importantly, increased profits? Well, you actually answered your own question there – you’re doing the same as everyone else!
Think about the best viral campaigns from the last 12 months or so. From Dollar Shave Club to Red Bull’s ambitious “Stratos” (you know, the space jump one!), the content that gets shared the most and that really makes an impression is pretty unique and original. It stands out from the crowd because it’s different and gets people talking – and (and this is the important bit!) sharing! In a world dominated by Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, no one can deny the power of the social share and while its effect on rankings and SEO is still up for debate, it’s obvious that social content sharing is an integral part of content marketing and online marketing in 2013.
OK, so now we know what constitutes great, successful content it’s time to look at why yours might be missing the mark and miss out on content sharing opportunities.
- Not original enough:
I know I discussed the ‘originality’ aspect of great content in the last paragraph so I’ll only briefly touch on it this time. With content marketing being somewhat the latest flash in the pan, people are being inundated with content on a daily basis at the moment so it’s no wonder things get ignored. To make sure you get noticed and get the attention you deserve you have to be original (and that means 100% original – not 20% original and 80% copy!) and you have to offer something different. If you can search the web and find a similar blog, article or info graphic within a few seconds, it’s highly unlikely yours will be original enough to get noticed.
- Doesn’t invoke a reaction:
The secret to content marketing success? Invoking a reaction. Whether it’s causing someone to laugh, cry, get angry or get excited, the best content invokes some sort of reaction or spurs someone into action – it then gets shared because people want other people to have the same experience… and the cycle repeats. Don’t be afraid to be controversial with your content and stir up some kind of debate with your blogs or articles – remember, you want to invoke a reaction and create that content sharing ripple effect!
- Doesn’t solve a problem:
Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the recent Brighton SEO conference but I have been reading up on what went down and one of the best lines I heard from the day that the best content solves someone’s problem. Whether it’s telling someone how to use hash tags effectively to showing someone how to write a great job application email, popular content provides the answer to someone’s question so it’s definitely worth researching your market to find out what questions people are asking. Remember; no two readers/customers are the same so don’t worry about your content being too basic/advanced for all your customers – it’s about providing different content for different customers!
In looking to get content shared, marketers and publishers should focus on content that will resonate and get people talking to their colleagues, friends and families.(Research on content sharing via Ad Age)
- Poorly executed:
OK, now this one’s a biggie. Content marketing is all well and good in theory but in reality it’s tough, demanding and time-consuming – cutting corners simply doesn’t work. Why? Because your customers/readers can tell when something is poorly executed and more often than not, it’s only great content that gets shared – people don’t really want to share a rubbishy video or an info graphic that has been slapped together in Paint. If you’re serious about content marketing, you need to make sure you invest time, effort and in some cases a lot of money into each piece of content to ensure the execution doesn’t let you down.
- Not targeted enough:
Whether it’s the type of content that gets created or the people who share it, the best content is targeted to a specific audience. Before you create any piece of content think about who you’re creating it for and why. Is it to solve a problem? Share news? Help them in the future? Similarly, content doesn’t just go viral overnight – it takes a lot of time and hard work after it’s been published by the creator to get it noticed. If you want to be successful, you need to roll your sleeves up and get involved – simply pressing ‘publish’ and crossing your fingers won’t work. Make sure you know who the key influencers are in your industry and send your content straight to them on things like Twitter and Google+ – remember, it’s all about getting your content in front of the right people!
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