SEO strategists can spend days researching keywords and optimizing website copy, but when the content is bland and dull, it can turn out to be a waste. Getting the attention of your audience is more than putting keywords on a landing page, it’s telling them a story that teaches them something or makes them want to learn more. As such, content is one of the best assets when it comes to standing out in a crowd and engaging with audiences on a deeper level. When done right, an effective content strategy can achieve those things and have the added SEO value of boosting your rankings in the search engines.
Content comes in many forms and is consumed by audiences in a variety of ways, including product pages, blog posts, articles, lists, guides, videos, infographics, slideshows, or directories. Whether you’re coming up with the content on your own or you hire a digital agency (like us!) to do so, it should always relate to your business’s goals.
The most important thing to think about is the purpose of your content. Are you creating it to get links? To educate potential customers? Is this purely for user engagement? No matter what topic or type of content you decide on, it should be relevant to the keywords you want to target. Next, think about whether or not there’s a need for this type of content. You don’t want to add a resource that mimics content that’s readily available. But, if you have a different take on a similar topic and can create a resource your audience will find more informative than the original piece, develop content around that.
There are several “topic buckets” that can help you brainstorm content ideas, like SEO rankings, sales and connections, and brand awareness.
If the topic you want to write about around doesn’t land in any of these buckets, you may want to reconsider the idea. Generally speaking, cornerstone content and pieces on brand awareness are always a good idea, no matter what industry you’re in or which goal you’re trying to achieve.
Developing Cornerstone Content
Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the pages featuring strong copy, articles with relevant information and keywords, and links that rank highest in the search engines. This type of content works best when it is long and informative, covering a large amount of information about a topic from various sources.
Perhaps the best thing about cornerstone content is that it can remain relevant and continue to drive traffic to your site forever. No matter what the content is, it should be well-written and updated as needed. It is also vital to optimize long-form content with competitive keywords so that it has the opportunity to be pulled for a featured snippet.
Many times you or your clients want to rank for a highly competitive search term. Cornerstone content could help you to do so. If there are multiple pages or blog posts on your website with similar content, you’ll need to tell the search engines which one is the most important. One way of doing that is to consolidate that information into one page. For example, one of our clients, Everase, creates high-quality Dry Erase Solutions, including chalkboard and whiteboards, framed whiteboards, corkboards, erasable wallcoverings, and more. To help drive relevant traffic to their website, we created a piece of cornerstone content about college scholarships. “College Scholarships – The Definitive Guide for Students” gives a variety of information regarding scholarships for students. This long-form piece is centered around strong keywords and covers the entire process of how to apply for college-level scholarships:
Each section has outgoing links and relevant, competitive keywords. Instead of creating ten posts or pages on the website, we created a unified, robust resource that covers multiple topics within one post. While Everase does not provide scholarships for students, their mission and brand statement relates to this topic.
Creating Brand Awareness Content
Another type of useful content for your website is that which creates brand awareness. This type of content helps potential customers get to know your brand, product, or company. Generally, these posts are more personal, rather than fact-based or informative. There may not be much informational value, but brand awareness content serves as entertainment for your audience. When creating this type of material, be sure to focus on what matters in a story — adding value to your brand, not selling parts of your brand.
By revealing your brand’s authenticity and personality traits, there’s a better chance of making an emotional connection to new audiences. Some topics to keep in mind when brainstorming brand awareness content:
- Evergreen content: This type of content can be used at any time of the year and can be about a variety of topics. There is no right or wrong time you can post about this content online.
- Seasonally relevant posts: Attributing your brand to an upcoming holiday or seasonal event.
- Brand announcements: Moving offices, new hires, restructuring the business, etc.
- News stories: Covering anything from events to interviews and company successes.
Here’s a good example of brand awareness content that details a company outing. “SEOM Gets Their Paws Dirty” tells the story about a trip we took to a local animal shelter near our office. We were able to donate items to a local business, spend time with animals in need, and support the organization’s mission by volunteering. By having a post on our blog about this trip, we’re showing our audience that the company cares about the community and philanthropic ventures, in addition to the work that we do on a daily basis in digital marketing.
Not only is brand awareness content about the brand itself, but it’s about showcasing relevant social events, too. Showing your audience there’s a humanistic aspect to your brand can differentiate your brand from another. Plus, this type of content is fun and easy to put together!
A content strategy isn’t about creating content for the sake of creating content. Instead, a business should take inventory of the content they already have, understand the types of content that can benefit them from a strategic standpoint, and be mindful of new opportunities for content. When you do this, you are actively setting yourself apart from competitors, developing stories that resonate with your audience, and giving your company more opportunities to rank higher in the search engines.