In our discussion today, we are going to show you how to create readable content and demonstrate the crucial steps in the content creation process.  We’ll provide tips on how to get the most from every piece of content you produce and why it’s so essential for audience engagement.

Every day, millions of articles are published on blog posts throughout the globe; a magnitude dwarfed only by the content consumed through video, social media and email. Unlike any time in history, we can communicate on mass through a medium which guarantees instant delivery of thought.

The power of the written word has never been greater. Yet, incredible as it may seem the majority of content fails to invoke any audience engagement and all too often, the lack of readability is likely the cause.

In truth, successful content goes beyond just readability; crafting a masterful piece of content does not guarantee readership. So today, we are going to take a closer look at the content creation process and the crucial steps needed which determine your content strategies success.

We’ll analyse the benefits and drawbacks associated with the content marketing process. Finally, you’ll learn how to determine what your audience wants and why answering their needs is crucial to improving website search visibility and brand recognition.

So let’s get started.

The secret to better engagement.

The secret to better engagement starts with the content you create and how well you know your audience greatly determines its success.  Our journey begins with understanding the wants and needs of the audience we seek.

We’ve mapped out the essential steps which help you gain a better understanding of your target audience, and how to create content they’ll want to read and ended up with a content roadmap that looks like this;

As we step-through the above keynotes you’ll learn invaluable insights on;

  • Why topic and keyword research is crucial before writing commences
  • How customer personas help you identify discussion points more easily
  • How to hit the right note with your audience
  • Why readability is crucial for audience engagement and how it affects your success
  • How article frameworks can help you create better content in less time
  • Why publishing your article is only part of the process
  • Plus how to generate buzz and formulate alliances.

Next, we take a brief look at keyword research and why it’s essential.

Keyword research and audience targeting.

Keyword research is a fundamental yet crucial step which provides you with a better understanding of what your audience is seeking; these insights are the foundation you need to build your content strategy.

In fact, for those considering launching a new business, keyword research is an essential process in determining the market viability of your products or services and aids greatly in crafting website content which resonates with your target audience.

Keyword research is beneficial for those seeking to;

  • Understand their target audience
  • Determine target keywords for pay-per-click marketing campaigns
  • Optimise existing website content
  • Create content to resonate with audience needs

For those looking for a little more information on the subject, we recently revealed how we go about keyword research and competitor analysis. We identify the best-ranking keywords based on your website’s domain authority, keyword clicks and buyer intent to leverage marketing efforts and deliver measurable results quicker. For another take on the topic, Neil Patel wrote an excellent article you might like to read here.

Or alternatively check out the advanced keyword research tutorial below by Brian Dean, easy to understand, it provides insights will help you save time and avoid costly mistakes.

Topic research based on real metrics.

Topic research is similar in method to keyword research, but rather than focusing on keywords; it defines the questions and discussions happening amongst your target audience. Most importantly, your goal is to identify your target audience’s primary concerns surrounding the products or services you provide.

Gauge the amount of interest surrounding these topics and how they resonate with audiences through the social media buzz each article generates and the number of backlinks your competitor articles attract.

Topic Research enables you to better;

  • Isolate topics which generate the most organic traffic
  • Isolate topics with the most social influence
  • Analyse competitor content for word count and article backlinks to determine your ability to rank for each keyword
  • Generate ideas on what to write
  • Identify backlink sources and outreach opportunities
  • Create a marketing plan based on real metrics.

Tools like “Ahrefs Content Explorer” and “Ubersuggest’s Content Ideas” are invaluable in determining what it is your competitors are talking about and the social buzz surrounding the topic as well as backlink profiles and traffic volumes.

Audience targeting using customer personas.

So what are personas and what makes them a crucial part of targeting the right audience and how it impacts your content strategy?

Personas are fictional profiles intended to reflect your target customer, which you create to help better understand the audience whom you are trying to capture.

So what kind of information are we likely to include in the personas we create? Shown below are some fields often included in such profiles;

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Dependants
  • Region
  • Bio
  • What are their needs?
  • What influences their purchase decisions?
  • Their pain or concerns
  • The preferred channels

The more personas you create, the better, although as a guide 4-6 personas should be enough.

Personas help empower your content creation process because they enable you to better craft the right message and leverage audience engagement.

Identifying Your Ranking Opportunities.

A message parroted by the majority of industry leaders over the years has been to ‘create better content’, which begs the question, what is better content? There are endless discussions on writing conversationally to audience needs; however, truth be told exceptional writing skills alone will not guarantee your success in the SERPs.

So what does it take to outrank your competitors for high-difficulty keywords?

The answer lies in your ability to create content which asks and answers the right questions in a structured way while also targeting the numerous on and off-page factors to appease the search engines.

Being able to identify these on and off-page factors is a crucial component of your overall content marketing strategy.  Your understanding of how these factors influence search visibility will help you prioritise the order which keywords and topics you target over the short and long-term.

Crucial on and off-page factors you need to consider are;

  • Article word count
  • Readable content – quality over quantity
  • Your site’s health
  • Your competitor’s domain authority
  • Number of backlinks a competitors article
  • The domain authority of each backlink to competitors article
  • Does your content resonate with your audience
  • Collaborative alliances
  • Audience engagement.

You may ask when the chance of ranking for a particular term is poor, should we refrain from writing within this vertical? Not necessarily, although difficulty score may indicate it may be more beneficial to write about another topic in the short-term, there will always be exceptions to the rule.

If you believe the topic would be of immediate benefit for your audience then include it in your short-term content plan – that’s serving the needs of your audience.

We step through the process of how to understand your target audience and identify ranking opportunities.

Let’s now take a closer look at each one of these essential on and off-page factors.

1. Article word count

Content length is a subject which attracts much interest and discussion. Analysis of article length over the last decade has seen page word-count grow from just 300 to around 2,000 words and beyond.

So what is the optimum page-length?

The answer may seem a little subjective, but optimum page-length varies significantly based on the keyword or phrase targeted. A great way to quickly ascertain target length is through competitor analysis.

Here’s how we do it, and it works every time.

We assume you have completed both your keyword and topic research and decided on your articles focus and secondary keywords.  Armed with your target keywords, we suggest completing the following steps;

  1. Search for your focus keyword in Google and take note of each website appearing in the top 10 organic results in a separate tab.
  2. If you have not already done so, install Search Minion.
  3. For each website, click on the Search Minion icon and record each article’s word-count. The average of word-count on each page provides you with a ball-park insight into the word-count required. We need to look further and look for any anomalies.
  4. Pay particular attention to the top five results, if they consistently go beyond the average word-count, consider this a signal you will need to do the same. If any of the top five falls below the average word-count discount them, especially if the domain has an unusually high authority score. Pay special attention to any websites where the DA score is significantly lower than the competitors. A low DA score amongst high-authoritative websites shows that quality content outperforms sites with higher authority scores.

At this point, you will have an idea of the target word-count required for your article. Use target word-count as a guide rather than a limit. Quality is paramount.

2. Competitor analysis. What your competitors content reveals

As you look at each one of your competitors ranking pages, it’s an ideal time to analyse their page structure and styling. Check for the number of subheads, bullet points, tables, font types, callouts and images and note any reliable resources. The SEO Minion Chrome browser extension is a great tool which reveals page word-count, headings and subheads and their hierarchy, along with meta titles and descriptions.

As you scan competitor pages look closely at the questions and concerns raised, jot down any opportunities you have missed which you can expand and improve on.  You are looking for opportunities where you can answer the needs of your audience better than your competitors by adding a meaningful contribution to the conversation.

Another great way of determining the viability of your topic research is to look at the amount of organic traffic and social buzz earned through similar articles or landing pages written by your competitors using Ahrefs.

Tip: Your competitor’s top pages (Ahrefs) provide a gold-mine of resources which enable you to pinpoint for what terms pages rank.

If you’d like to know more about the different types of backlinks, take a look at our recent article here.

Next, we take a look at Domain Authority and Rating and how it impacts on your ability to rank for any given keyword or phrase.

3. Domain Authority & Domain Rating.

We use Domain Authority (Moz), and Domain Rating (Ahrefs) to quickly determine our chance of outranking competitors. As the Google algorithm focuses on content quality and how audiences interact with that content, it is possible to outrank your competitors even with a significantly lower website DA. A word of warning though results are not indicative and can be a little deceiving, so we also factor in the total number of domain and article backlinks to give us a clear indicator of our chances of ranking.

Is there another way of determining the above without Moz or Ahrefs, yes, there is, and it’s free, check out Ubersuggest’s Keyword Tool.  Ubersuggest provides you with a difficulty score in ranking for a particular term.

4. Internal links, backlinks, referring and linked domains.

Let’s talk about link types and why they are essential.

Although there are numerous ways of linking and acquiring backlinks – all links boil down to just four link types, they are;

  1. Internal links: links from one page to another on the same domain.
  2. Backlinks: links from one or more pages on another domain to one or more pages on a target domain.
  3. Referring domains: the number of domains linking to a target domain.
  4. Linked domains: the number of links from a domain or page.

Every one of the above link types plays an essential role in increasing website competitiveness and search visibility. When it comes to ascertaining your ability to outrank a competitor’s article, you need to determine what types and the number of links your competitors’ article has pointing to it.

The reason why this is so important is the pages they link to both internally and externally combined with the article’s backlinks and the quality of the content massively impacts on their competitiveness for ranking for a given topic. The more quality backlinks an article has, the harder it will be to topple them from the primary search results.

A recent study revealed that over 75% of all content produced did not achieve one backlink; you can read the full Buzzsumo report here.

But, here’s the good news.

Your low authority domain can rank with the best.

Although high-authority domains rank more easily in the top results, what appears in the Featured Snippet results is a measure of content quality, audience engagement and the number of authoritative links pointing to it.

By creating and sharing quality content with reputable sources such as editorial websites and through social channels will aid in attracting natural backlinks and earn your way to the top of the search results.

Content which engages your audience.

You’ve come a long way to reach this point, you have completed your keyword and topic research, identified your competitors and content opportunities along with your ability to rank for those terms and mapped out a content strategy.

Now, before you rush into writing, there are copywriting, and readability strategies you should consider to ensure all that research you’ve done does not go to waste.

Before you get started, make sure that you are in a distraction-free environment.

It makes good sense that content which is engaging and easy to read dramatically increases the likelihood that;

  • Audiences read your entire article
  • Trust in your brand is built
  • Readers will consume more content in the future
  • Browsers become customers.

Your tone and article flow is crucial when writing. Likeability is the foundation which shapes relationships. How well you relate with your audience increases the likelihood of them returning to consume more of your content in the future.

Your introduction is the key to hooking your audience and funnelling them to delve deeper. The hook is a promise or statement which is uniquely you and intended to position you as an authority in your industry.

Storytelling is a proven way to engage audiences right from the outset. Everybody loves a story, and if you can suitably engage your audience with a relatable experience and show how you or one of your customers were able to overcome their problem with a particular product, service or strategy, it will pay significant dividends.

Show you understand their problems and pain and your audience will reciprocate by purchasing and consuming your products and services. Building audience trust requires hard work, vision and commitment to see your content strategy through.

Simple tips to boost audience engagement.

To give your article the best chance of success, be sure to consider the following when crafting your content;

  1. Be fluent, identify with your audience
  2. Be novel in your approach
  3. Personas help better define your target audience
  4. Know your audience’s interests, wants, desires and pain
  5. Ask the right questions and provide solutions
  6. Identify the social platforms they use and the publications they read
  7. Know the level of readability you want to achieve
  8. Keep sentence length short
  9. Limit the number of sentences to 3-4 per paragraph.
  10. Pay attention to styling, use subheads, bullet-points and callouts
  11. Don’t forget that all-important call-to-action.

In conclusion, how well you touch on the emotions of your reader reflects on the level of audience engagement you achieve.

What is readability?

In simple terms, readability reflects the ease your message is comprehended and understood – how you craft your message impacts legibility.

Readable content goes beyond being grammatically correct. Your articles worth is representative of the value audiences draw from its message.

What is a readability score?

Readability checkers use one or more formulas to gauge how well a document is perceived to be understood. By factoring in variables such as sentence and word length, word complexity, uniqueness, or it’s usage in everyday language, a readability score from 0-100 is attributed. This score is indicative of the level of education required by audiences to read and understand the message. Low readability scores indicate your message is less likely to be understood by a wider audience.

The best-known readability formulas are;

  • Flesch Reading Ease
  • Flesch-Kincaid
  • SMOG Index
  • Gunning Fog Index
  • Automated Readability Industry.

The above is by no means intended as an exhaustive list. There is a disparity in how each formula calculates its score when analysing the same piece of content. Some formulas are better suited for general usage, while others are better suited to medical or technical writing.

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with each of them to ascertain which method best suits your target audience.

Popular readability tools we found useful.

As mentioned previously we will be touching on the pros and cons of readability checkers, but before we do, here are the two most recognised;

After prolonged use of both the readability checkers and by factoring their pros and cons, I feel either will meet the needs of the majority of writers, for the budget-conscious though, Readable wins hands down starting at an affordable $5 per month.

What readability algorithms do not reveal.

Perhaps the easiest way to come to an understanding of what is required to write readable content is to remember this simple rule: keep your sentences and words short.

Blind compliance rule-setting though should be avoided, short sentences and words are a guide to readability but do not fall into the trap of diminishing the value of your message to an audience by making it over-simplistic.

Some areas in particular where readability and grammatical checkers fail is their inability to highlight or offer suggestions;

  • Whether or not your topic is of interest to your readers
  • Determine whether your argument is compelling
  • Determine content flow
  • How to improve your discussion
  • How to style your document
  • When to use bulleted or numbered points
  • When and how to better optimise headlines to improve readership
  • Sometimes suggestions can be wrong and irrelevant.

As readability scores are algorithmic calculations, a poorly written piece of content may meet the correct sentence and word length requisites.   Under these circumstances, it is possible; a poorly written article may achieve a higher readability score than content intended for a professional or technical level of understanding.

Some professions where low readability scores are more prevalent;

  • Lawyers
  • Educators
  • Programmers
  • Scientists
  • Engineers

If you are interested in knowing more, UX Matters wrote an interesting article citing reasons why to avoid readability checkers.

Perhaps with a sigh of relief, artificial intelligence won’t be changing how we communicate with our audiences for some time yet. When you think about communication do we really want AI to assume responsibility for all our customer interactions?

I genuinely hope not.

Thankfully, it seems that artificial intelligence still falls short when compared with the creative genius of the human brain.

So what makes a piece of content genuinely readable?

Why is readability crucial?

The benefits of readability go beyond that of audience engagement; readable content is easily consumed and by answering the needs of your audience helps build trust. Your audience’s perception of your brand likeability plays a significant role in their customer purchase decisions.

If you’re still wondering how readability factors into a customers purchase decision, consider the purpose of every piece of content you craft as a way to funnel your client to the ultimate goal. Every piece of content you craft should move your audience to the next action in the decision process, to nurture, build trust, answer questions and solve problems as they journey down the path laid before them.

As your audience makes their way through your sales funnel the chance they will consume or purchase your product increases.  Readability is part of the sales funnel, get it wrong and the journey comes to an abrupt halt.

Building article framework quickly.

Putting pen to paper can be a struggle at times. One strategy I’ve seen reverberated in many books on the subject of writing is that of creating an article framework before you start writing — a habit which I can personally attest to works.

You see mapping your ideas down to paper before you start qualifies the purpose and the direction your article will take before you start with the nitty-gritty details.

Don’t waste time fine-tuning your headlines at this stage; focus on mapping the direction your article is going to take.  Get your ideas down quickly and return later to expand on your thoughts, brush up your grammar and fix your idea flow.

The focus is to build the skeletal structure of your article by mapping out the primary sections of your content which are;

  • Article Headline
  • Intro (Hook + Story)
  • The Body
  • Summary
  • Call to Action

Let’s take a brief look in more detail at the components representative of the article framework.

Headline

The article headline or title is crucial to audience engagement and your article’s success. How your title is structured and the keywords you use not only determines the article’s success in the SERPs but also how well your audience receives your article. A dull, uninteresting or hard to read heading will have significant negative connotations on the performance of your article. If your title fails to engage your audience at first glance, there is little likelihood they will read further.

A great tool to check how compelling your headlines are to your audience is to check them out in a headline analyser.  AMI has created a useful tool which calculates an EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) score from 0-100 base your headings and the audience it is likely to attract, either; ‘intellectual, empathetic or spiritual’. The higher the score – the better.

As a guide target a score greater than 50%, but don’t allow yourself to obsess over it, focus on crafting titles which make good use of your target keywords while asking the right questions or make a bold statement to build your brand as an authority in your space.

Body

The body is your opportunity to communicate your thoughts, answer questions, inform, entertain and make your audience think.  How well you do this will determine your brand’s likeability, your leadership and authority in the industry.

Intro

The intro is your opportunity to grab your audience’s attention with a profound statement or promise that shows you understand their pain and problems. Your statement or promise purpose is to grab your audience’s attention, referred to be some as the hook.

One of the best ways to keep your audience reading in those first few precious moments of your article’s introduction is to engage them through the art of storytelling adequately. As everyone likes a story, stories are the perfect tool which aids you in aligning with your audience and when done right increases the likeability of your brand while also providing insights into the topic about to be discussed.

How well you can relate with your audience in the introduction is crucial; failing to grab their attention will result in audience bounce rates increasing. The intro is second only to the title in importance.

Subheads

Subheadings provide numerous benefits crucial to content success; they can;

  • Improve content readability
  • Convey a benefit or promise
  • Establish authority or thought leadership and trust
  • Arouse emotion
  • Raise attention and awareness
  • Target focus and secondary keywords

Subheads are a reflection of your articles main points and present an opportunity to target focus and secondary keywords. When structured correctly, subheads can significantly leverage site search visibility and achieve a featured snippet position. Featured snippets appear above the organic search results – also known as position zero, but more about this later.

Bullet & Numbered Points

Bullet points are an ideal way in which to communicate, attention-grabbing benefits to your audience and contribute significantly to the readability of your article.

They provide a seemingly unending array of useful applications; one such use; are question and answer bullets – you cite a problem, briefly quoting a solution to the issue and link directly to the resolution.

Fonts

Font types not only make your article more readable but are a great way to callout benefits in your products or services or highlight particular points or arguments in the message of your article.

Bold Text

Bold text helps emphasise critical words or text you wish to bring to the attention of your audience while also dramatically enhancing your article’s readability.

Sentence Length

Short sentences and short words enhance readability. Fewer words can emphasise your point. Try and limit your sentence length to no more than sixteen words and shorter when possible. Seriously. The power of the spoken word is conciseness.

As with all things, there are exceptions to the rule. Writing educational or technical documentation often requires writing in a more extended form, and accepted the need for some sentences to exceed the ideal sixteen-word limit.

Paragraph Length

Want an easier way to improve readability?  Keep paragraph lengths short. To achieve this, limit the number of sentences in each paragraph.  Aim for paragraph lengths of around 3-4 sentences long.

Concluding Comments (Summary)

The ideal summary delivers a brief overview of what has been discussed, highlighting the most important takeaways you would like your audience to remember. Keep your summary short and to the point. Refrain from adding any new information.

CTA (Call to Action)

One crucial piece of information yet all to often forgotten is the call to action.

The call to action can be an extremely effective marketing tool which directs the audience to the action you would like them to take next. For example, signup for our newsletter or click here to download our brochure or an anchor link which funnels your audience to the next stage of the sales process.

We recommend placing the CTA several times in a natural break in the flow of your article and one final time in the summary of your article.

Asking the right questions.

Although it’s been around for some time, voice search has become an increasingly popular discussion point of late and for a good reason. Voice search queries have increased by such magnitude it now accounts for 50% of all internet search queries and has significant implications for those who languish behind.

Audiences are moving away from text-based to voice-based queries.  How people now search for goods, services and answers to their questions has changed, bringing about new challenges for all businesses.

If you are questioning how the increasing popularity of voice-search relates to user engagement and readable content – you need to read on.

Voice vs Text Search

The most substantive difference between voice and text search is text queries are keyword-focused. In contrast, voice search is conversational and driven by a specific question and answered with the best-matched question and answer it can find. Both voice and text search rely on search algorithms to determine optimum results.

How Do You Optimise for Voice Search?

There are four primary components to optimise for voice search, they are;

  • Ask and answer the right questions
  • Structure data (schema markup)
  • Mobile-friendly website
  • Fast loading website

As the discussion on voice search is broad and complex, we are going to assume your website has the correct schema markup, is mobile-friendly and fast.  We are going to focus on asking the right questions, which is what delivers those impactful voice search results.

For those looking for more thorough insights on voice search and structured data, I recommend you check out these two articles from Quora Creative and Neil Patel.

How to appear in Google Featured Snippets

So far we’ve established voice search is big.   I’m confident you are all fired up and ready to make an impact.  But, before you start, let’s take a moment to consider what it takes to optimise content for voice search.

While conducting your keyword and topic research you would have already seen examples of conversation search queries.  Conversational search queries are questions your audience needs answers to and often they show buyer intent.

For example, let’s say you sell blenders.

Typically, a customer at the beginning of their research cycle might type a search query like, “what are the best performing blenders”.

Displays an example of a voice-search result on Google and the Featured Snippet Position

By typing the above query, Google returns a selection of Google Shopping and Adwords Ads followed by a Featured Snippet position. The Featured Snippet position is known as position zero as it appears above the organic search results.

The featured snippet displayed best answers the customer’s conversational voice search query.

What makes this opportunity so exciting.

Well, for those who have the MozBar browser plugin you will see the website in the featured snippet position has a much lower domain authority and less referring domains than all the other sites listed beneath it in the organic search.

This is an opportunity lying in wait – by creating better content than your competitor you could steal that envied snippet position from them!

How do you do it?

By analysing and coming to an understanding of your audience’s intent, needs and pain points and address their questions conversationally.

You can get ideas about trending topics and discussions from websites like Buzzsumo, Ahrefs ‘Content Explorer’ or Ubersuggest’s ‘Content Ideas’. It pays to do a little competitor research to find what they’re talking about and analyse the buzz around each topic.

Here are some voice search examples which deliver question-and-answer based search results but only the first two indicate buyer intent.

  • Why is SEO important?
  • What is the most fuel-efficient car?
  • Google, who is the Pope?

By analysing the results of the above questions, you will see how conversational questions deliver very different results to keyword search queries.

How to appear in the ‘People also Ask’ Section.

Located just beneath Google’s Featured Snippet section is another variation of the snippet called; ‘People also Ask’. I like to think of them as secondary snippets or a runner up list of related results which deliver alternative matches to the search query for you to explore.

Secondary snippet results present a very unique opportunity, every question you answer increases your search visibility and traffic.

Let that sink in a little.

You see, how well you answer your audience needs leverages your exposure, so the more value you can contribute to a topic, the better – think subheads.

Subheads are an opportunity to tackle the questions surrounding the problems you solve. By addressing each of your audience’s needs while keeping on the topic increases your chance of appearing in a featured snippet position massively.

But, that’s not all, do it right, and you can achieve numerous snippet positions within the same article which can result in considerable gains in organic search traffic.

Now that’s writing for your audience rather than focusing on search engines.

Here’s a great video from Moz for another perspective of Feature Snippet opportunities.

Note: A recent change to the Google algorithm; if you appear in the Featured Snippet position, you will no longer appear in the search results for that term; this decision was made to remove duplicates for the same URL appearing on page one results.

Feeling motivated?  Great, let’s move on.

Styling your content.

Presentation is everything.  The presentation of your message contributes significantly to its readability and how your audience receives your message. One of the best ways in which to leverage the impact of your message is through a style guide.

The style guide defines how information is put together on your website and social media channels with a consistent style that represents your brand.

For some worthwhile resources for an editorial style guide check out the following;

How to Build the best Editorial Style Guide in 10 Steps
The Famous House Style Guide
How to Create a Style Guide from Scratch.  Tips and Tricks
How to Create a Writing Style guide Built for the Web

Go beyond just words.

You’ve no doubt heard the adage – a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to content, it could not be better said.  Bring your best to the table at all times, make sure the articles you publish, include at least some of the following attributes;

  • Images should be high-quality and optimised
  • Make sure you have the legal right to use any images
  • Be sure to include appropriate keywords in the image alt text
  • Use screenshots or infographics to improve the audience experience
  • Make it personal by adding images of staff within your organisation
  • Embedded videos increase audience engagement and time on site.

Here are some great resources we found;

How to Design Infographics
6 Types of Visual Content You Need to Use in Your Marketing Campaigns
10 Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel
15 Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel

Publishing your article.

When your article is complete, it’s a great idea to get someone else to read through your content before you publish, you will get more objectivity from someone not personally vested. Before forwarding your work for editorial review, make sure you;

  • Check links to resources open correctly
  • Check work is error-free.

Before you publish your article it’s a good idea if you prepare the following;

  • Excerpt: most blogs quote a passage of text from the article to enhance audience click-through and readership
  • Meta Title: make sure you include your focus keyword and limit to no more than 65 characters
  • Meta Description: Write a compelling article summary to hook your audience interest, include your focus keyword and at least one other secondary keyword.
  • URL: Don’t use your article title as the default URL unless it is short and to the point, try limiting your URL length to 4-6 works.

Generate Buzz.

Being in a position to drive buzz to your article when published dramatically determines its success. You might find it hard to believe, but carving out an impressive piece of content is only a small portion of the content marketing process so be prepared to put a lot more effort in marketing your article.

The attention you can draw to your article will depend significantly on the resources you have available to you. Any existing social media networks, in-house email list and any collaborative alliances you may have can increase your reach.

Generating the right buzz can be a little tricky, and there are some strategies you will want to avoid.  We discuss the good and the bad in our recent article where we cover the different types of links which impact search rankings.

Social media.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, but sharing your article on your existing social media networks is an excellent way of extending your reach. The benefits go beyond any immediate gratification from audiences, creating worthy content leverage the chance your content will be deemed worthy enough to be linked as a resource. CoScedule.com discussed an example of different social media types which provide the greatest value.

Email Lists.

Your email list is an ideal place to start generating some immediate buzz around your article while further building your company brand as an industry authority. Did you know email subscribers are three times more likely to share content?

If you don’t already have an email list, it’s never too late to start. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some great insights into the benefits of email marketing, check out Campaign Monitor.

Collaborative Alliances.

Another strategy is to reach out to your collaborative network and ask them to read and comment on their social media channels about your article; this increases visibility to your article and additional backlinks.  We recently discussed the importance of collaborative alliances and how content marketing helps build natural backlinks.

For more ideas on sharing your content, Search Engine Journal recently discussed “20 Places You Should Be Sharing Your Content” and provides some great insights into the types of strategies you should be pursuing.

Final thoughts

I’ve been marketing online now for over two decades, and there is one message I like to emphasise to all business owners – do not procrastinate or skimp on content marketing.  Results achieved are proportional to the effort you invest in your content strategy – audience engagement is everything.

You need to take action, and the sooner you start, the quicker you will enjoy the benefits.  A successful content marketing plan goes beyond the content on your website. Your measurement of success can only be genuinely gauged by how others perceive and engage with your brand, what they write about you, your collaborative alliances and the most important people of all – your customers.

It’s an arduous path, but it works.

Your audience will love you for it, and so will Google.

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