Should you keep your best content on your site or send it away?
Have a Glance
Recently, I've had some very enjoyable discussions with other search engine optimization specialists (SEOs) about where to place promotional content.
vary and are dependent on the goals of the webmaster. Some webmasters openly ask for guest bloggers since they need content and don’t have a writing staff.
It's no secret that if your business wants to be relevant in today's market, it needs to have a blog. Featuring a blog on your website is one of the most cost-effective inbound marketing strategies you can invest in.
However, you can't simply throw a bunch of random articles on your website and call it a blog. (In fact, Google's algorithm works against sites that do this.) You need to create and feature quality, original content that helps your brand stand out from the competition and get found.
This article is going to cover what exactly makes quality content, why you should even bother with a blog, and the keys to writing successful blog posts. So without wasting any time, let's jump in!
What is Quality Content?
In the inbound marketing world, we often say, "content is king," but really, quality content is king.
Quality content is evergreen; it stands the test of time and keeps people coming back for more.
Of course, what is considered quality may be subjective to you and your audience -- but there are some general guidelines that every blog should follow and we are going to cover all of them.<
Understanding What Makes Your Audience Tick
The first step to creating great content is to learn as much as you can about your buyer persona(s). This is true for all of your inbound marketing efforts.
There's a reason that some companies struggle to attract new customers while others can't keep up with demand. The best companies know exactly who they are marketing to and speak directly to them.
Do your research before ever writing a blog post so you don't waste time on something that no in your audiences cares to read.
What are your personas' biggest problems and their biggest desires? Create content that taps into those areas. That's what will resonate with them and where they are most likely to spend their money.
Speaking the Same Language
So, how does your persona talk? What words do they use? What's their tone of voice?
People prefer content that is relatable. Use a writing style that matches the way your persona speaks within their industry and to their colleagues.
Speaking to your audience using words and a tone of voice that they are familiar with is more likely to elicit the desired response than one that is completely foreign.
Once you have an audience, ask for feedback. Let them tell you what they want and don't want to hear from you. Aside from the few outspoken individuals, most people won't ever give feedback unless you ask them to.
Provide Real Value
Once you've figured out who your audience is and what they want, you have to follow-through and provide valuable content.
The best way to differentiate yourself from competitors is to provide the best value!
The three most effective ways to provide value are to:
Create unique and original content
Make content actionable
Be a resource
If you want your content to be valuable, it needs to be original. You want to create content that stands out from the crowd and adds to the conversation, instead of repeating old news.
Even when you are writing about something that has been covered extensively, try to find a way to put your own unique spin on it. (Giving your personas something they've time and time again is no way to build a dedicated audience.)
Let your personality shine in your writing! People relate to people, so remind your readers that there is a real person behind every word.
When someone lands on your blog, they are looking to solve a problem or learn more about something. Oftentimes they are looking for a solution that they can implement immediately. Where many blogs fail is in creating content that isn't actionable right away.
Give them something they can do as soon as they are done reading. You don't have to provide life-changing advice in every post, simply sharing a resource or providing step-by-step instructions is enough to keep the journey going.
When you do this you are building trust with your readers. They will remember that time they found your blog and discovered something useful that benefited them that same day. Then the next time they want more information, your name and site will be the first to come to mind.
People will keep coming back to your blog as their resource.
The good news is, you don't have to have all the answers to be a great resource. If you can't solve a problem, you need to at least point people in the right direction.
It might sound counter-intuitive to send readers away from your website, but as long as you are helping them you are providing value.
As long as you are helping people out, one way or another, they will remember you.
Write Content That's Easy to Read
Content that isn't easy to read simply doesn't get read.
People have way too many things online competing for their attention and aren't patient enough to read articles that look like they were copied from a science textbook.
Here are some simple rules for readability:
Keep sentences and paragraphs short
Size 16 font is the standard because it is easy to read on any device
Break up content with formatting (bolding, headers, and sub-headers) to make the page easy to navigate and digest
Lists (such as this one) are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and are great for information that doesn't require an entire paragraph for each item
Images and videos are also great visual aids
Look at this page for example. There's a lot of information to take in. However, you can randomly scroll up or down and know exactly where you've landed because of the use of sub-headers and clever formatting throughout.
You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to find the information they are looking for when they get to your page. While some people want to read every word, most people prefer to skip around.
The most valuable content in the world does nothing if no one reads it.
What Are the Keys to Amazing Blog Posts?
As stated before, providing value and readability are essential for excellent blog posts. Those two factors are mandatory.
However, there's a lot more you can do to be at the top of your game:
Create eye-catching titles. Create titles for your posts that get the reader's attention and make it very clear what the content is about. Whenever possible, include a benefit for the reader. (i.e Increase Conversions With This FREE Tool)
Accurate information. Do your homework and make sure your content is up-to-date with the latest information. Readers won't come back if you steer them in the wrong direction. Also, provide sources where you feel necessary.
SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which basically means that your content is optimized to perform well in search engines such as Google. Including relevant keywords, structuring content for readability as mentioned, and adding visual aids all enhance SEO. The more people you can reach with your content, the bigger impact you will make.
Relevance. Keep the subject matter and the timing of your content relevant to your target audience. Producing content just for the sake of producing content is a waste of time.
Link to other pages on your site. You want to keep people on your website and expose them to as much of your content as possible. The easiest way to do this is to provide links to similar articles or pages found elsewhere on your website.
Call to action (CTA). You want to have a call to action in every post. This might be asking the reader to comment, sign up for a newsletter, purchase a product, or anything else you want. The point is that you already have their attention so you want to take advantage of that opportunity to interact with them further.
Regular updates. Active blogs keep readers engaged and perform better in search engine rankings. You should be posting at least once a week, but many businesses opt to post 2-3 times per week and some even post every day. Decide what is best for you and your audience, but be sure to stay consistent with whatever you decide.
on't worry about getting all of these things perfected right away. It's normal to feel overwhelmed at first. (You should bookmark this page for future reference!)
Right now you should just focus on the basics. The absolute most important things are that you are providing value and that the content is easy to read. Once you've got those two things figured out you can come back to this article and start implementing the other details.
Others who are just starting out want to write guest posts or columns for sites other than their own as a way to boost their reputation and increase inbound link counts.
Some newbie professionals ask more seasoned SEOs to participate in roundup posts as a way to build credibility for their sites. There are many reasons people ask for content or ask to place content.
Many of my colleagues are of the opinion that if you're going to create great content, you should keep it on your own site. While I can definitely see that point, I really do like the idea of having my content placed on other sites because it increases my potential for traffic, leads and clients.
Pros and cons
If you're struggling to decide where to place your content, you really have no choice other than to look to see where your traffic is coming from and try to make a decision.
If you're like me and get most of it through referrals, I'd pursue that. If most of the traffic is coming from organic search, I'd keep it on my site in most cases.
Here are some pros and cons of placing your content elsewhere.
You improve your chances of new business by reaching a different audience.
You gain more authority as an expert in various online communities.
You can be featured in other sites' roundups and newsletters, broadening your reach.
You increase your chances of online survival if anything happens to your own website.
You're first driving traffic to someone else's site with your content.
Your reputation can depend upon the reputation of the hosting site.
Your content could be removed at any time.
The hosting site could shut down.
Here are some pros and cons of keeping your content on your own site.
You're driving traffic to your own site without a middleman.
You are completely in control of the content.
If you do any link building for the content, those links help your site and not someone else's.
You are building your site's authority.
If you are penalized in any way, you have a decreased chance of still getting traffic.
If your site doesn't rank well and have decent traffic, you may not see much return on investment (ROI) from your content.
You may not reach as diverse an audience as you wish due to your site's demographics.
You may be losing the opportunity to attract links if your site is not a popular one.
Content types and where they go
Let's look at three different types of common content and explore where they should be housed and why.
Evergreen content that will be updated. I'd keep this on my own site unless I got no traffic whatsoever. It's much easier to be in control of updates. Evergreen content can also attract some really good links, so I'd opt for having those links pointed to my own site. For example, if I had a site that sold ceiling fans and had a how-to guide on choosing and installing ceiling fans that contained step-by-step instructions and videos, I'd never want that to go on anyone else's site. instead of my own.
One-off pieces. If you can find a really relevant place for a one-off piece, I'd place it on that site and not my own. For example, if I were to write an article about the best free WordPress plug-ins to use, I'd see if I could put that on a site that is about WordPress or web design rather than on my site, which is only about link building.
Lists of resources. I'd keep the main list on my own site and try to contribute pieces of that list, or possibly a slightly different list, to other sites. If this is on your own site, it's also much easier to update. For example, if I had a list of the best content creation tools, I'd keep that on my own site and maybe create lists such as "Top 10 free content creation tools of 2018 " on another site.
Don't forget social platforms!
Social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Medium can generate a lot of good traffic. You can use Twitter to tweet out tips and news, participate in Facebook groups or use Facebook posts. These platforms are great for traffic and getting feedback in the way of comments on your content.
Content is not just articles. You can do infographics, podcasts, transcripts of podcasts, case studies, survey results, slide decks and more. Mix it up; all content is great for bringing some qualified traffic, and that is the most important thing of all.