Every copywriter worth their keyboard nowadays knows that content isn’t just content. There are constant pressures to research your audience, optimise for search engines and demonstrate your position as an expert.
Pretty easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to juggle so many ambitious tasks, but fear not – there’s an easy way to make sure you don’t drop the ball. Lean in, here comes the good stuff:
Expertise Vs Google pleasing
There are two main approaches to creating valuable content – you can choose to focus on thought leadership, or create keyword-led (SEO) content. That’s not to say you’re not allowed keywords in ‘expert’ content or your SEO copy can’t contain valuable insights. But I’d recommend choosing one as your priority and treating the other as a nice bonus. If you try to do too many things in the same 500 – 1000 words, you’re more likely to do a sub-par job with all.
Both approaches have their upsides. The recipe to success is making sure you have a good balance. Get it, like the topic of this blog…
Who’s the most knowledgeable of them all?
Though leadership content has a few main benefits. It positions you as experts in your field, which means more conversions in the long run, since people choose brands they trust. Insights are also great to include in your blog section because they engage audiences with useful content. This is where audience research feeds in – when producing thought leadership pieces, think about what your customers want to read, not just what you want to write about.
Plus, if your expert content is hitting all the right spots, it will keep readers coming back for more. And guess what? That makes a great Segway into newsletter sign-ups. It’s also the perfect way to give context to your offering and slip in a tactful plug of your product or service.
Selling holiday experiences? Write about the reasons to visit the country where you provide trips. Home décor retailer? Everyone loves interior design tips! You get the idea.
Last, but not least, thought leadership content shows Google you are good enough to E-A-T (don’t panic, more on that below).
Give the people what they want
So, where do you get inspiration for your thought leadership articles? The past.
Planning content is not reinventing the wheel. The secret is tapping into the data you’ve already got, and extracting insights on what works best. When we create content plans, we usually start by having a nose around Google Analytics to see which pieces have performed best in the last year.
If you have a Google Analytics account, with some basic training you should be able to do this yourself. (Guess who offers great Google Analytics training? Yeah, it’s us.) If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, get one. I’m not kidding – it’s super useful if you want to get places in digital.
Once you’ve reviewed your top-performing content, you’re ready to create a plan of action. Focus your efforts on the topic clusters and content formats your audience loves, and you’ve got the key to their hearts. Lists of trends, top tips and ‘How to’ guides are the perfect formats for thought leadership content which resonates with readers. When it comes to themes, we recommend mixing up seasonal and timely content ideas with more business-focused articles which shine a spotlight on your industry, product or service.
Give Google what it needs
Earlier I mentioned everyone’s favourite tech giant – Google, and the somewhat scary acronym EAT. It’s completely unrelated to food (unfortunately), but it’s guaranteed to sweeten the deal when it comes to Google’s evaluation of your copy. EAT stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust – the three key points on which Google rates content, particularly in sectors considered ‘high risk’, such as medical and legal, as well as all e-commerce sites (all monetary transactions are considered high-risk).
What are the benefits of EATing well?
Creating authoritative content which genuinely demonstrates your expertise in the field is a great way to position yourself as a trustworthy organisation not just to your customers, but to Google algorithms as well. And being on the algorithms’ good side has its perks. Think better organic ranking, greater brand awareness, and more eyes on pages.
Our data expert Chris gives a detailed account of the in’s and out’s of E-A-T in our upcoming issue of BARK, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to learn more!
I’m quite lucky to work alongside Google-whisperers and all-round keyword heroes, but if you are not quite so fortunate, you could always borrow ours. If you want to learn more about pleasing Google, check out our website to see what SEO services we’ve got to offer!
Keyword-led content is the magical feat of the writing we create to win over Google robots and save one money on paid advertising (don’t tell my team I said that!). There are two main types of keyword-led content: SEO-focused blogs and long-form content on landing pages.
Which one you choose depends on the theme of the keywords you want to target. If you’re talking about sofas, you can easily throw together an interior décor blog with useful advice. If you’re offering a particularly technical product or service, your keywords are better suited as added info (Q&A style) at the bottom of the page.
WHY does SEO work?
Where do we even start? For one thing, it taps into the questions people are asking. When you create keyword-led content, you’re letting the data speak for itself instead of trying to guess what people want to know. This might sound a lot like what I said about thought leadership, but it just goes to show – when it comes to content, it’s often about what the audience wants.
What’s more, since keywords are placed in web content to tell Google that a certain page should rank for a particular phrase, optimising your copy for search engines shows bots you mean business and helps Google determine the relevance of your page.
But we’re not done yet! Keyword-led content is a powerful tool in an online marketing toolkit. After all, SEO works better alongside other digital efforts instead of in isolation. If you’re creating a landing page, for example, you’d create keyword-rich content, use SEO tools to optimise the page, boost its ‘link juice’ by building quality links for your chosen keywords and then promote it with PPC ads focused on the same terms.
Added bonus: Organic SERP results are perfect for the sceptical audiences who don’t trust anything labelled ‘Ad’.
SEO in action
There are many tools available that you can use for content inspiration, including:
- Google suggested searchers – probably the easiest, most accessible way to see what people are searching for around your subject matter is spying on their Google searches – creepy but efficient!
- Google Keyword Planner is another useful tool, which can help inspire both organic content and Google Ads campaigns.
- Answer the public shows you a neat list of questions around your chosen topic – perfect if you want to optimise content for featured snippets and voice search. (The only caveat with this one is the limited number of free searches you can do per day).
We do a lot of keyword-led content for our clients – check out some examples below:
- Colour palettes to complement your brown leather sofa is an in-depth guide based around ‘brown leather sofa’ search terms.
- This bathroom lighting page has been optimised for search with ‘bathroom lighting’ – related queries we converted into a Q&A section at the bottom.
Be careful with the keywords. The more specific you are the better – broad terms like ‘bar lighting’ can attract the wrong traffic if you are selling lights for bars and you have people landing on your page looking for a bar of lights.
Not every paragraph has to sell. You can discuss trends if you don’t offer products or services fitting the trend. Remember, your authoritative content it’s not a sales piece, but a platform to demonstrate you’ve got your finger on the industry pulse.
Every content piece needs purpose. Before you start writing an article, make sure you’re clear on why you’re writing it – is it to drive more traffic to the website, as part of a campaign, or to position you as experts?
Want to get your team involved on the company blog? Perfect, get them to write about what they know! What to share a team update? Ask yourself why your audience cares, and frame the piece in a way that focuses on the information they’d be interested in.
Our roundup blogs (go read them if you haven’t), for example, are always showcasing our work, the new experts joining the team, our accreditations and the events we host.
- Is this blog thought leadership or keyword-led? If you were paying attention, you should know the answer.
Interested in our content writing services? Get in touch with one of our experts today!