Content Marketing

Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

rsz content marketing Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

If you needed heart surgery, would you let a plumber operate? Me neither! Obviously, you’d want an experienced surgeon to do the job. You’d be wise to follow the same line of thinking when it comes to your content program. Let’s look at why it’s important to work with professional writers.

Your content is an important brand element

Companies spend millions – even billions – of dollars creating and protecting a strong brand. They set strict branding standards, and are vigilant about making sure folks abide by them. Yet these very same organizations don’t think twice about allowing just about anyone to write for them.

This is a problem.

However, businesses need to realize that the content they publish represents their brand, and that it has the potential to affect them — their image, authority, credibility, and sales — in a positive or negative fashion.

Given that, companies should be just as concerned about the content they develop as they are with other important branding elements. Because of its importance, they should establish some standards and work with professional writers to produce the best content possible.

Content that misses the markcontent that misses the mark Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

Now you might be thinking, sure, professional writers and journalists are great for newspapers and magazines, but do I really need them for my content program?

The answer is yes! In fact, I believe they are the secret to creating awesome content!

I speak from experience that straddles the worlds of content marketing and journalism. Prior to becoming a search marketing manager, I was trained as a journalist, and wrote for Hearst Media. But today in my digital marketing work, I regularly see content that could have been so much more impactful if a professional writer had been involved. How so?

There are many reasons. I often see companies that cover the same topics again and again. Or businesses that produce material that speaks to an isolated group, such as practitioners, rather than to a wider community that includes their customers and prospects. Or content that fails to cover the basics, is hard to follow, or lacks value. In each case, poor quality material – content that misses the mark — leads to a less than positive brand image.

When I encounter such content, I can’t help but wonder why the company even bothered, and if they realize how it reflects on their brand.

Understanding the value of professional writers in content marketing today

But professional writers can do a lot for your content efforts. Because of their training, they are able to cover a variety of interesting and relevant topics, support their stories with rich sources, and illustrate their subject in a way that excites the reader.

They also work to remove jargon from their material in order to convey your message to your target audience clearly and succinctly, help you reach the widest audience possible, and differentiate you from the competition.

As a result, the outstanding content they produce will enhance your organic search metrics and increase your inbound marketing leads.

Overall, trained writers will help your content efforts position your company as a true authority that is knowledgeable, completely professional, and worthy of consideration.

Journalism tips to improve your content program

Below are 4 tips from the world of professional journalism that will help your business get the most out of your content efforts:

1. Avoid “one-trick pony” writers:5 ws Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

Whether you develop your company’s content in-house or via contract or guest authors, you should strive to create material that covers a wide range of topics. Having a variety of content will help you improve reader engagement, and boost your company’s keyword authority, search visibility, and inbound leads. Given that, it’s important to work with writers who can discuss many subjects, not just one or two topics.

But often, companies find that their content efforts are limited by their writers’ range. For instance, a business in the digital marketing industry might have a writer who can develop content on social media engagement tactics or on-page optimization, but that’s about it. While these topics are perfect for their audience, what’s next? How will they develop additional material on other topics so they can continue demonstrating thought leadership and authority in the marketplace?

This is exactly the danger of working with a one-trick pony. You need writers who can offer you variety and depth. When you are ready to hire writers to develop your company blog or website, look for three things: experience articulating a variety of topics, a range of understanding (from basic 101 advice to high-end, technical processes), and the ability to research and discuss new topics.

A good way to assess the strength of a potential writer is to ask them to develop three short articles that cover different subjects. For example, you could have them write one article on a topic directly related to your company and its services, and the other two articles could be on current events and/or something completely niche, such as alternative forms of energy, or how to build a computer step-by-step.

By challenging potential writers in this way, you’ll not only be able to get a feel for their current knowledge base, but also have the chance to assess their ability to learn about new areas and expand their range.

2. Make sure your writers know what the five W’s arewarning unfit content Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

Before a great writer figures out how to introduce creativity and excitement. into a story, they make sure to cover the fundamental points first: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. And it’s important that your writers do the same. Addressing the 5 W’s and developing the content in an inverted pyramid format will help you capture online users’ attention. By immediately offering the most critical points of the story to the reader at the start – and funneling the rest down — you are able to satisfy their demand for information and answers, and position yourself in a way that supports their continued interest in your business website. Style and creativity are important for keeping your readers engaged and interested, but you need to work with writers who are able to provide an educated base for your readers to progress through. This will help ensure that they see your organization as credible and intelligent.

Producing a wealth of content that demonstrates your organization’s depth of knowledge will also help search engines view you as an authority. As search engines become more sophisticated in how they judge the quality of content, working with writers who offer substance and creativity will go a long way in making your company’s digital properties more attractive. As a result, search engines will pull content from them on a regular basis.

3. Leverage your writers’ talents to create the greatest reach

When you develop your content marketing strategy, make sure that the material you publish can reach and attract a large volume of online users. This will help your business continue to grow in recognition, search visibility and of course, sales.

To accomplish this, you need to tap into the full range of your writers’ talents. Strive to work with writers who understand how to create a mixture of hard news and evergreen content.

Hard news is anything that is current and only relative to the time period it was published within. For example, a piece published on Google celebrating Julius Richard Petri 161 birthday with a petri dish doodle on May 31, 2013 would be considered hard news.

Conversely, evergreen content is considered be timeless information that can be understood and utilized regardless of what is going on at the moment. An article on the top 7 SEO tasks to complete before thinking about hiring an SEO agency would fall into this category.

Working with writers who are able to produce an assortment of hard news and timeless content will benefit your business in two ways: it will help you capture immediate conversions in the short-term, and improve your search visibility in the future.

4. Create interest and differentiation with exclusive interviews

There is a reason that newspapers — and the media in general — promote interviews that are exclusive to their publication or outlet: it attracts significant attention that is exclusive to them!

And it is a very effective strategy.

But, if you were to quickly scan your competitors’ blogs, you would be hard-pressed to find any that offered their audience exclusive insight from a popular thought contributor or expert.

This is a mistake.

All too often, businesses develop content that is completely dissected and discussed in technical terms, rather than elaborated on and supported by actual experts and authorities.

Instead, you should strive to incorporate exclusive interviews into your content strategy. Have your writers be responsible for setting-up interviews with industry experts that pertain and relate to your company.

This approach will enable you to offer your audience something that they can only obtain from you, which will separate your brand from the competition.

In addition, not only does this tactic increase credible links to your site (since others will want to relay your exclusive content to their audiences and social followers), but also it positions your company as exceptional since you have such industry experts on hand.

Good writing is at the heart of a successful content program

Content marketing is very popular today because it pulls your audience in by providing value. Consequently, everyone is trying to generate more and more content. However, the quality is often lacking. Remember, good writing is at the heart of a successful content program. If you really want to leverage your content to improve your organic search metrics, establish your organization’s authority and credibility, and boost your inbound marketing leads, work with professional writers. They are the secret to creating awesome content! Just as you wouldn’t let a plumber perform heart surgery, why would you let just anyone write for your brand?

What do you do for your content program? Do you work with professional writers? What have you done to produce quality content? Do you have any tips you can pass along?

 Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content
Jason is a Director of Organic Search and Strategy with seven years of experience developing complex, wide-scale search and social strategies for Fortune 1000 brands including Duracell, Febreze, Papa Johns and others. He is also a published author on the concept of "Social SEO" and a frequent contributor to some of the industry's most popular search journals. Corrigan owns the trademark to "SEO Without Borders" and is currently developing a non-profit organization that will connect victims in third-world countries with qualified donors across the world using digital resources and organic search.
 Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

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8 thoughts on “Content Marketing: The Secret to Creating Awesome Content

  1. Jason,

    Thank you for sharing this very interesting post. Thank you for sharing some tips on how you can improve your content. I can actually use these tips in writing my own content.

    Regards,
    Charles

    1. Interviewing of industry experts, conducting creative polls which can help you derive unique & interesting insights are the some of the ways to create engaging content in almost all the niche.

  2. Content is the only way to success in SEO industry. So, providing good and relevant content is very necessary. The Tips which you have provided really helps us to create perfect content for our customer. Thanks for sharing wonderful article.

    Stephen

  3. Professional Writer is a great option but if we have journalists and she/he does not know about the particular field then how can we train him/her?

    1. Hi Alan,

      Great question and as I mention, there are a number of tests you can offer a potential writer that allow you to understand their strengths and their comfort level in handling a multitude of subjects. From making sure they understand what the Five W’s are in journalism to having them write up a number of brief evergreen and hard news stories will go a long way in understanding what type of writer you are working with.

  4. A well written content for any organization is definitely of great help to the business. It helps attracting more and more visitors/readers to that page. Apart from that a well written content helps creating interest of the reader on the page. A well written page also help reducing the bounce rate of the website ultimately helping in increasing the conversion rate of the business and thus increasing the ROI.

    Thanks Jason for compiling this article and attracting good readers to your page! :)

  5. Good points !!Thanks for sharing !!

    Content becomes more popular when we share valuable information and provide the searchers what they really looking for and in helping them in finding solutions. This helps the reader to visit our blog/website again and again !!

  6. Jason,
    Nice post.

    As a freelance content writer and content creator, I’ve been fortunate enough to have my byline appear in national print media publications. Much of this work was not performed for content marketing purposes, but simply assignment writing for editors of various publications. As an agency owner however, I have also written and edited plenty of content specifically for content marketing purposes.

    There is a difference. While excellent writers and storytellers, most j-school grads are not well versed in the subtleties of SEO copywriting . In some ways it is alien to them.

    Developing keyword rich, but engaging and highly readable content that pulls in the search engines, and delivers high value for real, live humans is vital. That kind of content is priceless for brand building, boosting consumer engagement, and positioning organizations in their markets.

    If you find an honest to goodness journalist that can do both, hang on to them with both hands!