For some, content marketing is a time-consuming task, so it’s an attractive option to try and find ways to cut corners and hope for the best. This is especially true with the recent introduction of AI; it’s made content creation appear to be easy. A few instructions and voila! You have a ready-made article good to post. But does this, or any other quick creation technique really pay off?
Don’t be fooled, as when we’re asked the question is AI really the best way to improve the quality of your content marketing? Our vote is a hard no (more about why later). In this post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to make positive changes to your site’s content, so you can start to climb those sought-after positions in the SERPs and drive more traffic to your website.
So, first of all, how can you identify that your content marketing isn’t up to scratch?
Identifying poor content
Essentially, if you’ve not taken the time to review how you write and distribute content in the last few years, there’s a good chance that you’re no longer hitting the high notes. The world has moved on since the bad old days of mass distribution. The content you create today is reflective of who you are as an individual or the brand you’re representing. Links may still be a primary goal, but that doesn’t mean that you can roll out second rate articles to achieve them.
If you’ve written your content without a second thought to keywords, this is another indicator that your existing content isn’t up to scratch. You’re missing out on targeting those search terms, which means missing out on traffic to your website.
If you’ve got content on your website that’s years and years old and hasn’t been updated or reviewed in forever, the information may no longer be correct. This could lead customers to lose trust in your brand.
Where your work ends up can be just as important as how well it’s written. While you always want to produce content that is of the highest possible standard, you also want to ensure that it’s featured on a site that will provide the exposure it deserves. So, if it’s relevant, find the best blogs, news sites and other platforms for your words to gain that extra exposure.
Improving the quality of your content
The quality of an article can be judged by many factors; but we like to focus on the standard of the writing, the level of understanding being demonstrated and the helpfulness of the content. Just because you’re the leading expert in a field, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can write in flowing prose. Equally, a fantastic wordsmith can craft a compelling argument in almost any area – given enough guidance. So, as long as you’re able to fulfil a couple of these qualities, you should already be on course to content marketing success – all, of course, would be the dream ticket.
So, what does this involve in real terms? Well, as Google is always keen to point out, writing for the user is paramount. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing to get search terminology into your content. You need to consider what questions users are asking related to your brand, and then take these queries, and answer them effectively. This is where keywords are still incredibly important, but the content itself needs to be user friendly.
Provide internal links to supporting content, citations to other content where necessary, build conversations and arguments and develop a unique, persuasive tone. It doesn’t need to be a dissertation, but your content should offer something that truly helps your readers. And, if you address all these things and post this high-quality content, Google will notice, meaning your content will make its way nicely up the SERPs.
Making your content stand out
Again, we return to the idea of individuality and playing to your strengths. A great writer should be able to spin a decent yarn, just like an expert can provide a completely new insight into their area of expertise – even if it is a path well-trodden. Find something that nobody else has spoken about or look at new ways of presenting ideas. Find out what content is ranking well for competitors and see how you could do one better.
There’s no need to head down the path of controversy, unless it’s something that you truly believe of course. Content marketing is about attracting attention but also building your reputation. Sensationalist writing or skewing of statistical data should be left to tabloid journalists; remember, you’re not trying to shift newspapers, you’re trying to attract an engaged and responsive audience. Of course, if you can turn them into customers or find another host for future content, then that’s a nice little bonus.
Each piece of content is essentially its own little hub, sometimes quite literally. Therefore, it has the opportunity to gain strength and rankings in its own right. And, just because an article may be a few years old, it doesn’t mean it’s redundant. Fact check and update as necessary every now and then, and link back to it or share the content at a later date, particularly if it becomes a talking point. Having a portfolio of good content to fall back on and reference is a useful tool, which is why it’s always worth investing time in developing quality work – not just filling a void.
Don’t fall into old traps
Content is, or at least should be an intrinsic part of any online marketing effort. On-site or off, putting words together in a logical formation has never been so valuable. In an online world dominated by social shares and industry notoriety, there’s no better way of achieving either.
However, content marketing isn’t just about cobbling together articles, copying and pasting a badly worded email and plaguing publication owners. Create work and share it with the community, if the rewards don’t come as quickly as you hope, keep looking to improve. The more you do, the better you’ll become, and the more opportunities (or leads) will become available to you.
Why we recommend avoiding AI (at least for now)
Artificial intelligence was initially thought to be a gift to those who want to produce well-written, optimised content, but don’t have the time, will, or skill to create it themselves. However, at least for the time being, it’s not all its cracked up to be. We’ve recently done some work to explore how Google reacts to AI-written content, and put bluntly, it doesn’t. We discovered that articles written by bots weren’t indexed by Google, meaning they weren’t visible to searchers. This means that even if you did take some time to partially edit an AI-written blog post, find images and upload to your site, you may as well not have as no one can find it unless they come to your site directly.
We’re confident that in the not-too-distant future, AI will take another leap and there may well be tools which can be used to churn out content that’s actually useful, but for now it’s still important for a real person to write your content, taking into consideration everything we’ve discussed in this post.
For more information, view the services we offer as a Content Marketing Agency.