Tricks of the marketing trade

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Five content creation principles to live by

Creating a successful content strategy is not easy. As more companies and people realise the value that can be delivered by effective content, competition becomes more and more fierce.

Using Ahrefs’ content explorer you can see the amount of new content being published is rising.

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At the same time, the amount of traffic delivered organically is at risk due to an increase in no-click searches from Google and changes within Facebooks News Feed that is incentivising paid spend.

Google 2019: Mobile browser click share graph.
 
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This paints a pretty bleak picture for content creators.

However, great value can still be delivered via content. You just need to nail two main components, the strategy and the execution of the content.

Here is a recent example in a competitive market of a blog content strategy that we’ve been working on since early 2017. We’ve had continuous improvements despite the bleak industry stats.

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From following some of the tips in this article, you can be on the way to similar results.

Make sure your content flows

When creating your content strategy, one of your main goals should be to make your blog a place that receives plenty of return users. Just like in the world of magazines, you want to make sure you get plenty of people coming back for more content.

Because of that, content flow is an incredibly important part of your strategy as it promotes engagement.

What is content flow?

Content flow is a principle which ensures that you have plenty of variation in the types of content that you create. For example, one week you may publish an interview, next, a data visualisation piece and the week after maybe some video content or company news.

By considering content flow you’ll be making sure that when a user visits your site they don’t just get a long list of long-form listicle articles. Because that’s boring!

Don’t silo yourself into one type of content

Love creating articles that target long-tail keyword research?

Of course you do! It’s a great way of driving ongoing traffic to your site.

But believe me, after the tenth article on the five best ways to do so something it gets tiresome.

When creating your content strategy you should be incorporating a mixture of commercial, informational, engaging and brand content to keep things fresh and entertaining for your audience.

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Creating content around your brand encourages loyalty and can push people from considering your product to purchasing it.

Engaging content makes sure you’re always on trend by writing about topical events in the industry and providing unique insights that can help you get links and awareness.

Informational content helps you get in front of your users when they have a question that is related to your offering.

Commercial content is what ultimately makes a sale and convinces a user your product/service is the right one for them.

Focusing on all these different areas means you’re also going to do a great job of filling the purchase funnel so you’re there in all the moments that matter.

For example...

One great example of a site using content types effectively is the Monzo blog. You’ll see a mix of commercial, informational, engaging and brand content which keeps you reading and coming back for more.

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Don’t focus on the search volume

Due to the increase in no-click searches mentioned at the start of the article, search volumes are becoming irrelevant when planning your content strategy.

Instead, use tools that show Clickstream data that gives you insights into the number of no-click searches for each individual query. Moz and Ahrefs both give these kinds of insights.

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If you were expecting to get loads of traffic from your article on the ‘academy award for best actor’, you’re in for a shock.

Publish at the right time

Timely content is incredibly important to ensure you’re creating content that is delivered right when it’s in the mind of your audience

You can do this in multiple way, one is by using monthly search volumes rather than averaged when doing your keyword research.

Once you’ve got that, you can plot on a chart when the peaks are throughout the year like below:

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Even better, categorise your keywords and look at how each vertical trends differently. Believe it or not, people are less interested in beach holidays in November.

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Another way to ensure you’re on top of trending topics is by using monitoring tools like Buzzsumo or Ahrefs Content Explorer to find reactive content opportunities.

 

Only publish the best you’ve got

Be wary of putting content on your site that doesn’t make it immediately obvious you are an expert in your field. If you’re creating content that is sub-par and not better than what is already available, you’d be better off not creating content at all.

When it comes to content strategy, I always live by the principle that it is better to publish less great content than it is to publish more ok content.

When you’re planning your article, consider what more you could do to make it better than the competition, some example things you could add are:

  • Interviews
  • Videos
  • Interactive elements
  • Insightful data
  • Polls

 

Wrapping up

There are many things you could be considering with your strategy to make it one that will provide value for your audience and value for you in return. But following the above five principles should set you in good stead for a successful content strategy.

If you have any questions or further things you like to consider when creating your strategy, feel free to comment below or tweet me @SamUnderwoodUK.

 

Sam Underwood, solutions manager at Zazzle Media.

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