When it comes to customer connection and engaging your audience, every brand is faced with one key question: Where does my content come from? Content comes in many forms, and it is the driving force behind generating leads and engagement online. Finding content on its own can be a challenge for any business leader: going beyond that and finding content that compels and converts can make any marketer scratch their head.
Isn’t it funny how the Internet is jam-packed with content, yet coming up with content on your own feels like a hike up a huge mountain? How do these companies crank out unbelievably engaging content week after week without skipping a beat? What do they have that you don’t?
Compelling Web Content is No Coincidence
Companies that consistently generate thought-provoking, actionable, and lead generating content actually do have a method to their madness. Coming up with compelling content over and over again is no coincidence; there is both an art and a science behind the strategy. Content creation takes a lot of time, expert insight, and a big dose of creativity. But what happens if you don’t have any of those skills? What happens if you do not have the time to dedicate to serious content development, but you really want to become one of those expert marketers with share-worthy content?
How You Can Look To Content Auditing and Curation to Rescue You
If you are serious about taking your content marketing to the next level, there are two strategies that can really move your content to a new power level, and help you build engaging relationships with your audience.
Expert content marketers gain power from content auditing and curation. Content auditing and content curation serve different purposes, but they both work to achieve the same result: generating the best possible content for your audience. Integrating both content auditing and content curation is crucial to succeeding in the competitive content marketing game.
Now that you are aware of two of the magic bullets behind creating compelling content week after week, it is time to share some secrets on how each system works and how you can use it to your advantage.
Creating Compelling Content: What is Content Curation?
Content curation is the act of finding and discovering content from other sources on the web, and building off of it to enhance your own online presence. Content curation does not involve physically generating any content, per say. It is geared toward helping your brand build its own online audience by using existing pieces from authoritative sources.
When you are curating content, the quality of your shared content is key. If you are marketing yourself as the go-to information hub for specialized content, the content you share with your audience must be top-notch. Since you are the expert on your subject, you should have a keen eye on what topics will grab the attention of your audience. You can understand what your audience is looking for by the amounts of shares, likes, and tweets that your curated content generates.
Curated content provides a method to consistently bring your audience new and relevant information without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel.
Finding The Content That Gets Your Audience Buzzing
You know what your audience wants out of your curated content.
Now comes the hard part of finding that content. Searching for your content would take days, and you are already short on time as it is. You can’t possibly follow all of your top sources every minute of the day, so how can you find those content gems on a moment’s notice?
Lucky for you, there are a few tools that will help you tackle your never-ending quest to finding the best content on the Internet. To make the task of content marketing more efficient, it makes sense to use powerful tools that wrangle the content you are looking for all into one place. Although content curation tools are convenient, there is still a bit of manual work to be done. The tools understand what you are searching for, but you still need human elements to cherry pick the absolute best results that yield from these curation tools.
Expert insight and industry knowledge is your best resource when it comes to selecting content for curating. Your audience looks to you as an expert and authority figure in your field, so use your best judgment when it comes to sharing content with your audience.
3 Content Curation Tools To Help You Get The Job Done
When you find a way to streamline your job, it makes you feel like you hit the jackpot. These content curation tools will feel like a big pay out as you quickly and easily discover compelling content that your audience is bound to love.
If you really want to know what questions your audience is asking, Quora can provide helpful insight for educating your own customer base. Quora is a community based question-and-answer platform that hosts thousands of questions from everyday people on a variety of topics. There are questions on nearly every topic and industry imaginable, and you are likely to find a spark of information while sifting through the Q&As.
Quora takes a little more manual work than some of the following automated tools, but is a powerful source for locating those burning questions that are coming straight from the minds of your audience. You are sure to find a blog post idea or two, or find new topics to discuss with your audience on social media.
Another aspect that makes Quora so awesome is that it takes the guesswork out of what your customers are asking about. As a marketer, sometimes you have to take your best stab at what kind of questions your customers are asking. With Quora, the questions — and answers — are right in front of you.
However you decide to use Quora, it is a must-have tool for content creation that costs nothing.
Another powerful tool for content curation is Scoop.it. If you are considering spending money for any kind of curation tool, Scoop.it is the tool where you should invest. Scoop.it’s dashboard is laid out in a magazine style that puts your niche’s most powerful content options right at your fingertips. You can ‘scoop’ your content by inputting a web address, or you can explore content by keyword. You also have the option of uploading your own documents, so others can scoop and share the best content that you have to offer.
With this content curation tool, almost every option available is a gem. Your biggest problem with Scoop.it will be too many excellent choices and not enough time to share them all. As a content marketer, that might not be too bad of a problem to have.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator very fun and useful tool to help create insightful blog topics when you are fresh out of ideas. The blog topic generator allows you to input keywords (nouns, specifically) that the tool spits out into pre-written blog titles. If the generator does not provide much inspiration, you can take your blog topic search a step further by downloading a spreadsheet offered by Hubspot with even more blog topic opportunities. The entire spreadsheet gives blog topic opportunities for an entire year.
Keep in mind that the context of each blog topic may or may not be relevant to your industry. The blog generator tool is not perfect, but it can inspire a lot of great ideas for blogging.
So, You Have Your Awesome Content Ready To Go: Now What?
Thanks to your tools of the trade for content curation, now you have a good bit of content to share and ideas building in the back of your head. Once you have all of your content in front of you, the next logical step is to create an editorial calendar to keep yourself on track.
Content editorial calendars are useful to organize your content, blog topics, and social sharing schedules. Instead of randomly selecting days and times to post your new content, using a content calendar will help give your strategy structure. Editorial calendars keep you focused, and they offer a platform where you can monitor and measure your results.
If you are serious about making your content marketing quest a success, it is a smart move to develop a template for your needs and stick to it. You will find your content marketing and development will run a lot smoother, and hopefully it will help keep fresh ideas flowing for your audience.
As those ideas to continue to flow, you will build up quite a content base overtime. Your collection of content will continue to grow, and eventually there will come a time where this content will need reviewed for performance purposes; this is known as a content audit.
Building Your Content Powerhouse: The Audit Edition
The word audit in itself can create some cringe-worthy reactions. It sounds scary, eh? Auditing can be a daunting and unexciting task, but it is all a matter of perspective. To get the most out of your content efforts, performing audits is the best way to ensure that your content is performing to the best of its abilities. You spent a lot of time creating your content, and you want to make sure that it is serving its purpose; this is why performing a content audit is so essential.
What Exactly Is Content Auditing?
Content auditing is the process of reviewing all of your existing content and discovering the content that is providing results, the content that is falling short, and what can be done to enhance your current content. Think of content auditing as finding holes that exist within your content. These ‘holes’ can consist of several red flags, such as content that is too short, keyword density issues, and bad or missing meta descriptions. You are looking at the content itself, but you are also reviewing the supporting elements of your content that exist within technical and non-technical search engine optimization aspects. Technical SEO relates to broken links, sitemaps, robots.txt files, and more. In this case, we are going to focus on the non-technical aspects of SEO, such as meta tags and alt tags. This particular audit is content focused, so for now technical SEO will be left out of the equation.
How To Perform A Content Audit
Content audits can be tricky. While there are tools available that will help you complete a content audit on your own, this is one of those realms where you should tread carefully if you are not familiar with the concept of content marketing and non-technical SEO. You will not necessarily do any harm by attempting your own content audit if you are inexperienced, but you likely will not find all of the holes we talked about earlier. With that said, this is generally how you can perform your own content audit using SEMRush, Yoast for WordPress, and your own expert eye.
SEMRush For Content Auditing
SEMRush is one of the most powerful platforms available for keyword research and content auditing. If one of your content auditing goals is discovering what elements of content that your current strategy is missing, you can start with keyword research at SEMRush (or another research tool) to get your juices flowing. SEMRush’s keyword research analysis is highly accurate, and can help reveal new keywords to develop even better content.
In addition to top-notch keyword research capabilities, SEMRush also offers a content auditing tool to help you take control of your existing content. SEMRush is useful for finding duplicate content issues that can harm your website’s ranking, missing image alt tags and targeted keywords, bad heading tags, and more. You can also export reports into Excel spreadsheets to help organize your optimization efforts.
SEMRush is a paid tool, but it is another smart investment to add to your curation toolbox.
The Wonders of WordPress Content Auditing
WordPress is a widely popular content management system that allows users to easily upload and post content with the click of a button. For this particular content auditing overview, we are using WordPress because it is so widely used and easy to understand.
WordPress has a built-in content auditing system that guides you through each piece of content (page or blog) that you develop along the way. The plugin is Yoast, and you can install it for free on your platform. There are premium options of Yoast, but for your content audit, the free version of the plug-in will work just fine.
WordPress Content Rundown: Post vs. Page
As far as text-based content is concerned, there are two forms that can be audited using the Yoast plug-in: pages and posts. A page on WordPress refers to an actual subpage of your website. Pages are used to display product and service information, as well as some evergreen content and contact information. When you publish a page, it is added into the hierarchy of your existing subpages and will nest under a parent page, or you can allow the page to stand on its own. A post on WordPress refers to a blog post. When you publish a post, it is inserted into the blog feed of your website.
Yoast is integrated on both pages and posts on WordPress. Regardless if you are doing a content or blog audit, you will have Yoast to help guide you through the process.
The big difference between the pages and posts dashboard is the ability to add tags and categories. Blog posts can be categorized into different topics, and tags are used to describe your posts on a deeper level. You can add keywords as tags, or break your tags down into smaller pieces that relate to your main blog topic. During your audit, be sure that your blog posts are all assigned to relevant categories and tags.
When you are inside of the dashboard of a page or blog post, you will find options to fill in non-technical SEO aspects such as meta tags, SEO title and target keyword. Depending on how your data is filled out, Yoast will alert you if your content is good, fair, or poor. You will see your primary score that is indicated by a green, orange, yellow, or red light.
From there, you can click the page analysis tab to review Yoast’s recommendations to make your content better. For example, if Yoast says your content is too short, take this opportunity to increase your word count with additional valuable content for your readers. Google favors long content, so adding relevant information to your blog can add value and SEO power.
Aside from content audits, Yoast serves as a constant reminder to publish content of a certain length that is well optimized. If you over optimize a keyword, Yoast will alert you and suggest you try a new keyword in its place. This gives you the opportunity to resort to the SEMRush keyword research tool, and start another content marketing strategy with a brand new keyword.
3 Questions Through The Eyes Of An Expert
As I mentioned earlier, these tools are valuable for helping you craft a thorough website audit. However, there is no comparison to having a person who is knowledgeable in SEO and content development conduct the content audit for you. There are certain elements to content auditing that require a keen eye, and understanding the information your auditing tools give you is a big part of the game.
In order to have an in-depth understanding of content auditing, studying the elements of a manual content audit can help you gain insight. The following are some tips to help you look at your own content through the eyes of an expert.
- What Is My Content Saying? Take a close look at your content. What message are you conveying to your readers? The best content content is relevant and educational to your audience. Content auditing requires reading between the lines and using a critical eye against your own written work. [pullquote]Be honest with yourself: are you providing value with your content?[/pullquote] If the answer is no, this is the time to turn things around. You do not necessarily need to re-write your fluff pieces, but see what elements you can add to give your pieces extra value. If your content is not serving your readers, then it is not serving its purpose.
- What Are The Missing Pieces? When you are conducting an audit that involves the content of your entire website and not just your blog, closely analyze your pages for any missing pieces. There are certain pages that should exist on nearly every product and service based website, such as a Contact Us page. If it looks like all of your pages are in order, brainstorm for additional ideas that can add value to your website. You can add a free downloads page that includes an in-depth guide to your products and services, or add a videos page for audiences who might prefer watching your content instead of reading it. There is almost always an opportunity to add more value, and your content audit can help you discover where you need it the most.
- How Can I Make It Better? Once you are able to see what content is working and what content is not, you can strategize accordingly for the future. Your strong pieces of content leave clues for future planning. Take your strongest pieces and build on them; repurpose that content and maximize its potential.
It is clear that there are many layers of content marketing, with content curation and auditing serving their own essential purposes. To get the most mileage out of your content, use both curation and auditing to create compelling content and build an engaged audience. The better you understand your content and how it is performing, the better you will be able to efficiently strategize and create the best content for your audience.