It’s probably accurate to say that over 90% of all businesses in the world uses some sort of content to market their business. It’s been proven time and time again that content marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing to have ever graced the internet.
But, just because every business is doing it, it doesn’t mean that you can’t stand out from the crowd. In fact, it doesn’t matter what your competitors are posting. All that matters is the quality of the content that you’re posting and how your readers respond and engage with you.
With all this mind, today we’re going to explore several ways you can create the best content possible for your business and how you can use this content to get ahead of your competitors.
Creating a Community with Each Post
What most businesses need to realize is that there are infinite ways to go viral. Any piece of content, any concept, any idea has the capacity to flood the mainstream social feeds and be seen and engaged with by millions of people. The trick is to implement and convey that idea in the right way.
You need to be clever in what you do and think of ways that people across the world can interact with your post in a neutral way. In most cases, the simplest ways are the best.
What you want to do is consider each post a separate entity from your others. Each and every post needs to be its own authoritative post and treated in that way. Then, you can start to build up ways for each idea for a post and how you will make it viral and, therefore, better than your competitor’s.
One of the best ways to engage people is to run a competition. Take Instagram for example. It’s so easy to set up an Instagram competition campaign because the main hard work that will make the campaign a success will come from your users.
Take WERQ-FM. This is a radio station based in Baltimore, MD where they ran a couple of weekly competitions where they gave away prizes for the best selfies throughout the summer. Every week, they changed the theme of the photos to things like ‘gym selfie’ and adopted the hashtag #QSelfieSummer.
As you can see, this is a really easy hashtag to use, and all users had to do to enter was post a selfie with the hashtag and they were in with a chance of winning. This is a fantastic and incredibly easy way to build followers. The result? Over the course of the summer, WERQ-FM attracted over 92,000 selfies.
This technique can be implemented across all social media platforms to any kind of content, and this example is just in its basic form. However, note that Instagram is renowned for having a much higher rate of engagement compared with other social networks so it’s worth using the platform to boost your content.
When creating content that’s better than your industry standard, you need to think outside the box and get people involved. Internet users love the sense of being part of a community, and user-generated content is one of the best ways to boost your own visibility.
Monitor & Analyse Your Data
One of the most important figures that you need to be aware of is your own content data. Whether you’re posting on your website, sharing content on your social media profiles or guest posting, you need to be aware of how well your content is performing with your users. How else will you know how to improve?
By taking the data on your engagement rates, you’ll be able to see which posts are the highest performing and therefore you’ll be able to replicate the style. Over time, you’ll see your follower count rise, and your content performance will begin to improve over time.
Let’s say you’ve got two posts; one titled ‘Top Ten Restaurants in New York’ (a listicle) and ‘Some of the Best Restaurants in New York’ (a blog post).
You’ve posted both pieces of content during peak times, shared on your social media profiles properly and you’re reviewing the data after a couple of days. Look at your engagement rates for that post. Which had the most comments, the most likes and the most shares?
If the listicle article proved to perform better than that a blog post, you know to replicate this style since your followers will react better to it, helping you to rise against your competition.
Of course, some topics that you’re writing about will need a blog post format due to the type of information that you’re trying to communicate.
Keep Things Easily Digestible
Internet users are lazy. Imagine if this article you’re reading now had no spacing or line breaks and was just one big block of text. The chances are that you’d open this page, though that you’re not reading all this and then clicked the back button.
When formatting your articles, it’s so important to ensure that everything is nicely laid out and easily digestible. This is why listicle articles work so well because all the information that the reader wants is laid out in nice chunks.
By laying out and formatting your content, you can invoke such a different and more engaging attitude from your readings.
Furthermore, you’ll need to consider the lengths of your posts. Why write something that could have been written in 500 words last over 3,000? This, of course, depends on your headlines and your topic. For example, if you’re writing an in-depth analysis of health supplements, you may want to write a few thousand words.
However, if you’re writing something like ‘Top Five Ways to Boost Your SEO’, nobody wants to read a 2,500 words article on it. When researching what content you’re going to write, check to see the length of other similar yet successful content. You can use tools like Easy Word Count to monitor this.
Quality, Quality, Quality!
Don’t tell you already know it. Everybody knows it but our history knows how huge brands lost their customers because of one mistake. The quality of your content will, at the end of the day, be your defining factor for success. If you’re uploading posts that have spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors and your competitors don’t, guess whose is going to be more successful?
The BBC’s study found that only one mistake can cost business millions. Clara Nolis, an Oxessays’ content writer recommends checking grammar, spelling, punctuation and overall sentence structure to ensure that it’s completely perfect. There’s no point risking your credibility and reputation over silly mistakes that could have been corrected. According to study by Realbusiness found that 59% of people confirm that they don’t trust the company’s services if it makes grammar and spelling mistakes.
It’s vital that you check your work over before uploading it. The chances are that you haven’t written the perfect piece during your first draft. You’ll need to read it over again and again until you’re completely happy with it and you’re sure you’re communicating the message that you want to communicate.
Even things like adding references and quotes to your content need to look professional and scream quality. You want your readers to be able to easily and effortlessly read your work and actually enjoy reading it, not think ‘oh, this is terrible, why am I reading this?’
With every piece that you write, you need to ensure that you’re providing the reader with valuable and content-rich information. It’s all well and good trying to write content that will boost your SEO.
But, if your readers don’t have a good experience reading it, you’ll find that your content isn’t penalized, but completely ignored by the Google ranking system. Try to give your readers the best reading experience possible.
Don’t Forget SEO
While on the subject of SEO, although you need to give your readers everything they want, you can’t forget SEO. If you ignore SEO, nobody’s going to be able to find your content, and therefore nobody will read it.
The better your SEO ranking, the more visibility your content will have and therefore the higher the engagement rates. Everybody knows about keyword placement and content length, but there are several things that a lot of bloggers overlook that could harm their business.
For example, plagiarism is the silent-killer of content SEO. You may not understand that you are stealing someone’s content. There are few types of plagiarised content. Even if the infringement was not intentional, if you’re content infringes the 15% mark, you’re going to get penalised. Anything over 25% is seriously frowned upon and could cost you your business. If the content is DCMA protected, you could even have your website taken down.
However, if it’s not just you copying other people’s work; it’s people copying yours. If someone had copied and pasted your content onto their website, Google will simply penalise you both until the original owner has been identified. It’s recommended that you scan your content sporadically to ensure that this isn’t a problem. You can use online tools such as Plagium and Academized to make this an easy task. Also, checking if your content was plagiarised time to time will save your website and business.
There are plenty more things you can do to boost the performance of your content but, when it comes down to it, it really depends on your business and your industry. It’s important that you get creative with your posts and think outside the box on how you can entice internet users to connect and interact with your business.
Over time, and with constant analysing of your performance, you’ll soon become the authoritative figure in your industry.
Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Paper Fellows. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at Letsgoandlearn.com.