Tag Archives: Content Strategy

Can you use content curation as a viable content marketing tool?

curation for content marketingIn my previous blog post, 10 ways to write highly engaging content, I briefly touched upon the topic of content curation – collecting useful information from all over the Internet and compiling it into a single link.

Can content curation become a viable content marketing tool for your business? Or will you be sending traffic to your competitors?

Many content marketers believe that if you curate lots of content you are mostly sending traffic away from your website rather than drawing traffic to your own website by creating high-quality genuine content.

Although the importance of high-quality genuine content can never be understated, there are some instances when you can use content curation to boost your content marketing. For example, you can use content curation when

  • You don’t have enough time to create your own, high-quality, genuine content
  • Someone else has explained better what you have always wanted to explain to your visitors
  • You want to present as many viewpoints as possible pertaining to a topic or subject
  • You want to create a repository of opinions for solutions pertaining to a particular topic
  • You want to introduce authority into a topic

See for example this Content Marketing Institute blog post – What does engaging content mean?. As you can see, instead of presenting her own views on what is engaging content through the entire blog post, the author has collected opinions of various content marketing and content writing experts on what engaging content means.

This blog post titled How to add value with content curation rightly says that there is a huge quantity of content on the Internet with limited shelf life. By the time people find useful information it is outdated or they no longer need it.

Since you must be in the thick of your subject matter, you may have access to many resources that your visitors may not have. So, there is a greater chance of you coming across great, useful information. Instead of simply consuming that bit of information, you can mention it on your website along with the original link, the way I’m doing with this blog post on content curation.

This further explains that content curation doesn’t just mean collecting lots of links and creating a big list of useful links. You can also use just one link and then quickly create a small blog post with your own input, again, the way I’m doing with this particular blog post on content curation. In fact, I often do that. When I cannot come up with a good idea for a blog post, I simply search on the web for some ideas, and when I find an interesting link, I write a few words about that link and sometimes, it turns into a complete blog post.

Another benefit of linking to outside links is it is appreciated by the original publishers. If they like your response, they promote your link among their own followers. This helps your content marketing.

The never changing fundamentals of content marketing

the-fundamentals-of-content-marketingThe content marketing fundamentals never change, whether you started using content marketing for your business back in 2004 or you are playing with it in 2017. These fundamentals are

As you can see, these are the fundamentals, no matter what technology you use, no matter what sort of content you publish, and no matter what audience you are trying to reach. Even when people were painting on the walls of their caves, they were using these content marketing fundamentals to convey their message and leave the glimpses of what was happening to them, for the future generations.

Let’s read a bit more about these fundamentals of content marketing

Publish relevant content

Every business niche has its own relevant content. When you come to my content marketing blog, you expect to read about content marketing, content writing and general related topics of how to promote your business through content marketing and content writing. This content is relevant to you if you want to use content writing as a marketing tool or if you want to hire someone who can help you use this tool. Sometimes I also write on search engine optimization but ultimately it is connected to content marketing.

The importance of relevance is always going to be there no matter what format of content you publish.

Publish content that provides solutions and solves people’s problems

We are all looking for solutions. People come to your blog because they seek some advice or some bit of information that they can use to solve some problem that they have. If they repeatedly find solutions on your blog or website, if you are constantly solving people’s problems, your content marketing is going to succeed. You need to give them a reason to access your content repeatedly. You need them to crave for your content and share your content. This only happens when they find your content useful.

Publish content that is engaging

This is a redundant point but I’m going to cover it anyway because it is one of the most important aspects of content publishing and content marketing and almost every, in fact, every content marketing expert talks about “engaging content”.

By engaging content, we mean content that stimulates people and encourages them to actively consume your content, participate in the ongoing conversations around your content, and even contact you to share their own opinions about your content. This way, you have engaged them. You have created interesting content to get them interested.

It is just like speaking in front of a live audience. You provoke them. You ask questions. You ask counter questions. You debate them. You create controversies. You create adulation. The moot point is, engaging content gets your readers or your audience involved, whether in a positive sense or in a negative sense depends on the relevance of the topic. When you engage them, they remember you and whether they like you or not, they come back to your website or blog.

Publish content that is shareable – people not just feel like sharing your content, but it is also easier for them to share it

Sharing means endorsement. When people share your content with each other it means they like it and find it useful. This helps search engines. Although algorithms are very advanced these days, it matters how people think of your content. So when your content is shared it means it is appreciated. It solves the proverbial problems.

Sharing should be easier. These days it means all the sharing buttons should be incorporated into the webpages and blog posts that you publish. Also, your content must be formatted in such a manner that it makes sense with least interference. This means, when people share your content, they shouldn’t need to modify the title and the description because in themselves they should be able to tell a lot about your webpage or blog post.

Publish your content regularly

The never changing fundamentals of content marketing mean when you are publishing content, you are building a broadcasting channel, and when you have a broadcasting channel, you need to broadcast on an ongoing basis. This is one side of the story. The other side is that in order to enjoy good search engine rankings due to content marketing and content writing, you need to feed the search engines with an unending supply of content – yes, as long as you operate your business on the Internet, you need to provide content to the search engines to be crawled, indexed and ranked.

This means you need to publish your content regularly. Now, regularity doesn’t mean you publish every day. Although publishing everyday might be very good for traffic and social engagement, for some businesses it doesn’t suit. So, define your own regularity. Maybe it’s okay to publish 3-4 blog posts or webpages  every week. Or maybe one blog post or webpage every week. Or maybe randomly. The important thing is you need to update your blog or website regularly, on an ongoing basis. It shouldn’t feel like an abandoned blog or a website.

Analyze your content and do the needed modifications

Beyond doubt, when you are publishing content on your blog or on your website, your ultimate aim is to draw traffic. This means you need to analyze your traffic and see what sort of traffic is being drawn by the content that you publish. Sometimes you end up drawing wrong traffic. Even tiny things can mean a sea change.

You can analyze your content by a web analytics tool like Google Analytics that tells you what sort of traffic your content is drawing. If most of the visitors landing on your website or blog are using wrong keywords, you are not publishing the right content. If your website or blog is attracting at least some amount of traffic that uses the right keywords, study those pages and blog posts and then generate similar content.

Or maybe your existing content is relevant but you are not using the right language? Analyze constantly so that you don’t end up with a ton of useless content.

Keep your existing content relevant and updated

Millions of webpages and blog posts are being published every hour and then these webpages and blog posts are being crawled, indexed and ranked by the search engines constantly. So, even if initially it was possible to find your content, with so much of newly generated, fresh content available, your content is pushed back and it becomes difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to find it.

Search engines want fresh content. Even your visitors need to have a compelling reason to visit the same URL gain.

You can keep your existing content relevant by updating the webpages and blog posts with newer information, better-researched data, and even with changed perspective. Even if one sentence is changed, mark that link changed and resubmit it to the search engines.

Use the right channels to promote your content in front of the right audience

Every channel, every broadcasting medium, has its own audience. Facebook users like particular content, Twitter users like different content, and LinkedIn users want to find content that can help them in their businesses, professions and careers. If you want to give beauty tips, better focus on Facebook and refrain from posting that sort of content on your LinkedIn timeline. If you want to rake up political or cultural controversy, fire off a few tweets.

It’s very important to choose the right platforms. Even the Google search engine is a channel.

These are the never changing fundamentals of content marketing. Just as the applicability of wisdom transcends time and cultures, so do the fundamentals of content marketing. Your content may change, how you distribute that content may change, the tastes and preferences of your audience may change, the format of your content may change, but these fundamentals never change.

5 ways to beat your competitors at SEO with content writing

beating-you-competition-with-SEO-content-writing

The biggest challenge that you may face from your competitors might be on the search engines. If you want to improve your search engine rankings, you need to beat your competitors at SEO. Although you can take various actions – for example read 10 tips on how to write SEO content for your website – the best way to beat your competitors is through SEO content writing.

Why search engines-based content writing enables you to beat even your toughest competitors?

The beauty of content writing is that it makes your presence on the Internet unique. Only you can write the way you write. No matter how hard your competitors try, they cannot be “You” – only you can be “You”. This is why even smaller companies on the Internet can pose big dangers to their bigger counterparts.

What is SEO content writing and how it helps you beat your competitors?

Being a content writer often hired by clients who want to improve their search engine rankings through content writing, I have written a lot on the topic. You can read this blog post that says SEO content writing actually improves your search engine rankings or you can read Does SEO content writing improve your search engine rankings?

Anyway, there are thousands of companies on the Internet that provide you “SEO content” to help you increase search engine traffic to your website and many of these companies can actually help you.

SEO content writing in isolation doesn’t help you improve your search engine rankings – many factors play an important part. But SEO content is definitely one of the most important building blocks. It’s like, if you don’t have content, what will the search engines crawl, index and then rank? Obviously you need content.

And what sort of content gets ranked well? Good content. Well-written content. Content that is appreciated by people. Content that gets recommended. Content that people link to.

So, having good, relevant, topical, well-written and well-formatted content is a must. Everything comes after that.

Briefly, these are the 5 ways to beat your competitors at SEO with content writing:

  1. Create unique content
  2. Solve problems better than your competitors do
  3. Create content around less competitive keywords and phrases
  4. Rewrite content published by your competitors in a better manner
  5. Keep your existing content up-to-date

Now let’s go through these points one by one, in detail

1. Create unique content

Unique content automatically gives you an edge, because being unique, only you have it, or very few people have it. How does this help your SEO? On the same topic, the search engines like Google want to present different perspectives to their users so that they may find content they are not aware of, but may be useful to them. So well-written unique content is often ranked higher by search engines.

2. Solve problems better than your competitors do

This is a brute-force way of legitimately beating your competitors with better SEO content. If you solve problems better than your competitors, even if you don’t rank well, initially, compared to them, more people will visit, share, and recommend your links, eventually giving you an SEO edge over your competitors.

3. Create content around less competitive keywords and phrases

You don’t have to write content around keywords your competitors are already ranking well for. There might be many keyword variations your competitors might have ignored, or somehow couldn’t have achieved better rankings for. You can try different spellings. You can try different phrases for the same expressions. You can try bigger phrases. You can try local variations your competitors might have ignored.

Find out the keywords and phrases your competitors haven’t been able to rank well and then create good-quality content around them. This will definitely give you good search engine rankings for these less competitive keywords and search terms.

4. Rewrite content published by your competitors in a better manner

This basically is the same as point 2 but here what I mean is, you can also create the general content similar to what your competitors are creating, just in a better manner. You have the talent. You have your own unique way of writing. You can even have the same titles if you are daring enough while completely rewriting the webpages or the blog posts. Turn smaller subheadings from your competitor’s website into complete webpages of your own. You can even create multiple webpages out of a single webpage, or combine multiple pages into a single webpage or blog post.

5. Keep your existing content up-to-date

Google likes to present its search results fresh out of the oven. If your content becomes stale, if it grows old, Google begins to ignore it in favor of newer webpages and blog posts.

Make updating your existing content an integral part of your SEO content writing strategy. Whatever webpages and blog posts that your have created, are your business assets. Keep track of them. Monitor them individually. Don’t just forget about them once your have created them. Revisit them to check whether there is some reason to update them or revise them. Even if you feel like changing a few sentences, changes them and the resubmit the link to Google.

Beating your competitors with SEO content writing might not be easy, and it may even prove to be a challenge, but if you want to take them up on this challenge, with strategy and hard-working, nothing should stop you.

What is owned media and why you should have your own broadcasting platform?

owned-media-and-your-own-broadcasting-platform“Owned media” and “broadcasting platform” – I know, these sound fancy words, but actually they are not. Owned media means the content that you create and publish on your own website, blog and under your social media profiles like YouTube and Instagram, and broadcasting platform is the presence that you create due to your content.

For example, let’s say you create a blog where you give advice to people about how to use your product or service. For example, on this content writing blog, I’m constantly talking about content writing and content marketing and content publishing. For me, the blog posts that I am constantly publishing is “owned media” – I own this content. When people come to read my blog posts on this blog, it becomes a broadcasting platform. I use this platform to broadcast my thoughts.

Up till now brands have been using third-party media and third-party broadcasting platforms to reach out to their customers and clients. For example, if you advertise on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and even Google’s AdWords, you’re using third-party broadcasting platforms. These companies have created broadcasting platforms through their own content and have built up an audience and now they are charging you to expose your brand in front of their audience.

Whether this works or not is another issue because for some it works and for some it doesn’t, but when you consider the amount of money and effort that you save by owning your own content and building your own broadcasting platform you suddenly realise what you have been missing by simply focusing on the third-party content and the third-party broadcasting platforms.

But let’s not talk about big businesses that have enough money to advertise on TV and newspapers. What about a small business? Does it make sense for the small business to own its own content and build its own broadcasting platform?

Again, no matter how fancy these terms sound, they are very simple. If you have a presence on YouTube, you have your own broadcasting platform. If you have a presence on Instagram, you have your own broadcasting platform. Wherever you have got an audience for yourself, wherever people go to check out your updates, is your broadcasting platform.

So, choose a platform and start creating your own content. The content that you own. It will be cheaper. It will be more effective. The results will be far-reaching.

This HubSpot blog post explains in detail is why even advertising agencies should stop investing in advertising and instead, should start investing in their own content, in owned media.

Listen to the audio version of this blog post

 

When should you spend money on a content writer?

when-should-you-pay-a-content-writerOr when you shouldn’t. It depends on what you want. The problem with people’s attitude is that since content writing is mostly writing, they think it should either be free but it should be available at a very low cost. So low that one doesn’t even feel it. So, the moment it comes to paying a content writer, people start wondering, why should I pay for a content writer?

Everybody can write, right? You write emails. You write Facebook posts. You post updates on Twitter and LinkedIn. So how difficult would it be to quickly write a blog post or a webpage or an article?

Mostly two types of people hire me for their content writing needs and eagerly pay me:

  1. Those who are not comfortable writing business-critical copy and content. Although they have basic writing skills they’re not confident that their writing skills will be able to get them business. They want impeccable writing. They want a writing style that engages their visitors. Most of them want the writing to be casual, but error-free.
  2. Those who are, although, comfortable writing business-critical copy and content, cannot do it consistently over a long time. They want someone who can create great content on an ongoing basis. They are looking for a content writer they can rely on. Once they have assigned topics, they want to be rest assured that content will be delivered on time and according to their guidelines.

You should spend money on a content writer if you really want to use your content as an asset. You value your content. You recognize its importance. You know that your content can take your business places. You realise that quality content writing improves your conversion rate and if search engine rankings matter to you, it improves your search engine rankings.

There is a gentleman in Itarsi, a very small industrial town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. His business doesn’t have a website. He uses my services for his official correspondence. Though, you can write in Hindi, he cannot write in English. So he jots down whatever he wants to say on a paper, and clicks a photo with his camera and then sends the image to me on WhatsApp and within a few minutes, I send him back a professionally written communication in English. So yes, although he doesn’t have a website, he pays for my content writing services because he values what I deliver.