Saturday, 7 May 2016

"Good" Content: What Does it Mean?

For the last few years, the magical phrase for businesses has been "Content is King!!" - I'm sure you've heard it. It's been sung loudly from all the proverbial rooftops, it's been the driving force behind everything we've done. "Have good content!!" we've proclaimed. "It'll make all the difference in reaching your audience!!"

Okay....but what does "good content" mean?

Before we even get into what "good content" means, let's examine a little bit about how Google's organic search (and therefore where you show up in that list) works. If you don't have a clear understanding on this, you might as well forget the rest, I promise you. This great video (if you've got half an hour to spend watching it) really explains it out, and this article simplifies it, but if you want an even simpler explanation, here you go:
  1. Mobile first - Google search has to be available wherever the searcher is
  2. Features - People want their search fast, and helpful. The more you do to help them get that, the higher your content ranks.
Now, this is clearly the simplest of simple ways to explain Google, but what this boils down to for the majority of businesses online is that if your content is easy to access from anywhere in the world via a mobile device, and it has a feature that actually helps solve a problem for the searcher (online calculator, show listings and times, etc.), you're ahead of the game.

One important thing to keep in mind: Think about how you search, not how you want people to search. You may be tempted to "direct" search to your website by adding a million keywords for your business, but the truth of the matter is that people have become accustomed to searching with phrases such as "Best breakfast in Niagara Falls" rather than "breakfast Niagara Falls". (PS: If you're in Niagara Falls and looking for the best breakfast, visit Phyl's, and tell them Tabatha sent you. Yum!) My point here is that you don't get to define how people search; trying to will only create more work for you in the long run.

Remember the days when every other word on a website seemed to be there simply for SEO purposes? Websites read like a poorly-written television commercial, if you recall. They offered little in the way of helpful information, and the only way they could have been more self-centered would have been bright, flashing lights that said "PICK ME!!" (I'm pretty sure those sites actually existed, sadly.) This wasn't "good content"; this was "we want to hit every keyword possible" content.

So then, back to the original question: What does "good content" mean?

(Every content creator's fuel: Coffee.)
The answer isn't as simple as you'd think, and it requires a lot of trial and error, quite frankly. Much depends on your target audience (which is why it's important to understand who your target audience is), and what answers they're looking for. If you're selling gardening equipment (It's World Naked Gardening Day today!), your audience is going to be interested in well-written, helpful gardening advice, not in reading about how fantastic this specific brand of hand rake is. Instead of writing about how great that hand rake is, create a Top 10 list! "The 10 Top Hand Tools Every Gardener Needs!" is much more interesting and helpful than "This is the best hand rake ever!" and a sales pitch. Create an online tool that allows new gardeners to see when the best time to plant in their geographical area is. Provide a helpful feature!

Over time, you'll start to understand what works and what doesn't - and why. Fine-tuning your content requires strategy, patience, and most of all, consistent conversation between you and your customer base. Remember: One of the most important parts of social media marketing is that it is NOT "broadcast" marketing; it is intended as a two-way discussion/engagement opportunity that will allow your audience to give you feedback and allow you to learn how to better relate to them.

Any questions? If so, please do reach out. I'll be out on my balcony celebrating World Naked Gardening Day. (I kid, I kid - but maybe have bail money ready, just in case?)

1 comment:

  1. Great tips as always! If the latter is true, may I suggest copious amounts of sunblock!! :P