"It's just not working. No one's sharing our content. Our social media activity is dead. Our SEO is clearly in the tank."
We see this situation come up a lot for our clients. When a website just isn't working, its common to blame the website itself, alongside its on-page SEO, for the problem. If results aren't happening, SEO and organic search are the most obvious first suspects, as most business owners know the importance of SEO for website hits.
In actuality, the "SEO problem" doesn't have to do with SEO at all; It has to do with content.
According to HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah, most businesses are looking at their SEO Problem in reverse:
“The problem most organizations have is not that they're losing some SEO value and traffic that their brilliant content should be generating, it's that they don't have any/enough brilliant content."
In other words, time spent obsessing over SEO itself is better spent creating quality content. Quality content markets itself, as is the nature of inbound marketing. You can spend all the time in the world SEO-ing the heck out of your mediocre content with poor results... or you can focus on the content itself, as Hubspot suggests in their recent SEO article.
Here's how you can fix your own "SEO problem" with solid content.
Defining Quality Content and Reaping the Benefits
In the content world, "quality" is synonymous with "useful."
Your content should always share quality information that is in some way compelling to your readers. It should answer a question in some way, whether it is an actual "How To" article or presents some intriguing information which answers a question your reader didn't even know they had (i.e. "Rumored Features of the iPhone 7").
The benefits of quality content are hard to pass up. Quality content:
- Immediately attracts attention of your targeted audience
- Invites prospects to continually view your content, allowing your inbound marketing strategy to work on them with time
- Establishes your brand as the go-to resource for information in your field
- Creates intimacy between your brand and your prospects, fostering a relationship over time which compels them to become your customers
- Boosts likelihood of customers becoming advocates for your brand, as they share your content and create new prospects for you (i.e. Word of Mouth)
3 Ways to Boost the Quality of Your Content
1. Understand what your business really has to offer.
This may seem like a no brainer, but many businesses fall short of truly understanding their value to their immediate community.
The better you are able to understand the role that your business plays in the lives of your prospects, the better you are able to develop content that markets your products and services to this audience.
Meeting with your team for an hour brainstorming session, as Hubspot suggests, is a great way to see if you're really understanding all the ins-and-outs that your business has to offer the community. Ask these key 4 questions:
- Who are we?
- What are our goals?
- Who are we in the minds of our core prospects and customers?
- What does our brand offer that no one else could possibly replicate?
Everyone on your team should deeply understand the answers to these questions, and use your developed perspective to fuel your content generation (and, for that matter, every action your team performs).
2. Understand what your customers want from you.
This seems like a challenge to many marketers, but in reality it is not as difficult as it may seem from the outset.
In our digital world, there are now many great ways of getting to know what our customers like and don't like. Social media is a great place to learn more about your targeted customers want, using social media listening to provide great insight into the lives of your prospects.
From there, ask yourself - what do we provide these prospects that no one else can? When you arrive upon those answers, you have articulated your sweet spot for content generation.
3. Play the long game.
Writing a single quality content item doesn't (usually) give instant SEO results. Writing consistent quality content items does.
Consistency helps develop your essential image as the definitive source for answers to questions that your prospects and customers have based on the products and services you offer.
Developing quality content on a maintained schedule, alongside consistently sharing and engaging with your community via social media, garners these results:
- Increased potential for onside activity (i.e. hits/leads)
- Increased likelihood for your brand and your content to show up in organic search (i.e. SEO)
- Increased inbound links via social media
Yes, content generation solves the "SEO Problem." And then some.
But... how do you start?
Developing a content generation strategy can seem overwhelming at first, but getting your strategy is actually far easier than many businesses think.
Use the information that you've generated during your marketing teams' brainstorming sessions to develop a solid list of content generation ideas that you can pull from.
From there, develop an attainable content generation plan that you can sustain with confidence - say, one to two blogs a week. Don't worry about length. (Next time you can consider the 400 words rule.) Instead, think about how you could write the best answer to the implied question of your content. Maybe graphic imagery or a how-to video would provide intense value, or maybe a top 10 list would suit your readers well.
Once you develop the content, share it on at least two social media websites. Thank those that share the information, and respond to any questions and comments that you get. Engage with your community. Use whatever information you do receive to inform your future content.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your process does not stop here! Consistency and diligent practice is everything. Create, share, test, experiment, and repeat as many times as needed to start gaining some traction in the online community. You will get better. Your readers will start to recognize you. You will learn what works and what doesn't work.
Earning your place as a top brand takes consistent use of search, social, and content generation in full. Doing your due diligence to these 3 areas will solve your "SEO Problem." We guarantee it.
Overwhelmed? Don't go at the process alone. We'll be happy to help set up your process for you, or provide you with the training you need to get the job done. Send us an email or give us a call with any questions you have. We'd love to help you!