Writing Content for Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound links to your web content have been referred to as the currency of the internet. Google has gotten too smart for sketchy keyword stuffing or article spinning practices, and major search engines know that people rely on the internet as a source for information they can trust. The more people who link to your website, the better your chances are of achieving and maintaining a high search ranking. How do you get there? You can write guest posts or harder yet, you can write smart, original work that people want to share and reference. Valuable content takes some serious time and research. While building a reputation as a source that people want to credit isn't easy, it's possible. Here are some thoroughly white-hat reasons that could be standing in the way of achieving a great ranking on Google:
1. It's Not Relevant
Only 3% of first-time visitors to a website are ready to make a purchase. Chances are, your first-time blog readers are probably just starting to gather information. Relevant content isn't necessarily ground-breaking and it shouldn't always be especially advanced. Let your readers dictate what you write through keyword research and discovering which topics do well among your social media followers, and make sure your ideas aren't tired. Getting started on major social media platforms still has relevance. On the other hand, telling readers to use Myspace as a platform for connecting with people isn't nearly as helpful as it was back in 2006.
2. It's Not Long Enough
Valuable content is better than just well-edited, intelligently written and correctly formatted. It enriches the reader, providing them with new thoughts, ideas or tricks to put into action. One easy way to work towards more value is asking yourself if you've taken the time to cover the topic in depth. Just because 600 words is typically recommended as a minimum length for blog posts by SEO experts doesn't mean you should make it a hard and fast rule for when to stop writing. Can you add more value to the content by explaining a little more, adding a few more sections or some real-life examples? Marketing software company Hubspot excels at earning inbound links because their content is in-depth, and their posts typically run between 1000-1200 words in length.
3. It Doesn't Stand Out
Your best chance for earning inbound links and attention, especially if you're covering an evergreen topic, is to present a different twist. This could mean tying together two wildly divergent ideas or making humorous analogies - for example, Why Great Content is Like Sandwiches - or it could mean issuing a well thought-out response to a popular news item. If you're not the first to cover an essential topic, like How to Use Hashtags on Twitter, what can you add that no one else has before? It could be a thoughtfully-curated list of examples or it might be a detailed, step-by-step guide with screen caps.
Unless you're writing a factsheet, you've got to establish a voice and a point of view. Even within the arena of marketing masterminds, there are some major points of difference. Seth Godin tends towards slightly abstract musings. Small business specialist Hollis Thomases of Inc.com has been known to stir up some controversy once or twice in the past. Your writing is an extension of your personal brand, and you need to define and run with that concept.
4. It's Not Attractive
While infographics and really great screen caps of examples from around the web are awesome bait for inbound links, think about the overall appeal of your content. Why should someone take the time to read your content on inbound marketing strategy as opposed to other search results written by your competitors? You can up the appeal of your work through a snazzy blog title or enabling social media shares that will be displayed with google search results.
5. It's Not Credible
Consider this: when people link to your content on their company or personal blog, they're basically saying that they trust you as a source. The believe you've done the research and are willing to essentially use you as a reference. Sketchy content doesn't earn inbound links, so establishing credibility is essential:
You need good, trustworthy data from awesome sources. Being among the first to analyze a fresh study intelligently can almost guarantee a flood of inbound links.
Is it professional? Even though some companies can get away with significantly more humorous content marketing and casual voice in their content, this doesn't mean they can start snarking on their competitors or sharing too much information.
Appearances also matter. Is your business website reputable enough that people "feel" like you're a source they can trust? Are you posting on a regular basis? Is your website navigation simple enough that another blogger can quickly read over bios to determine your credentials?
How do you define, produce and publish valuable content that earns inbound links?Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles