As a savvy marketer, you know that great content does two specific things: it informs and educates your customers and audience, but it also encourages your audience to link to your content.
Through shares, backlinks, and repostings, great content gets it message out beyond the digital walls of your social media feed and into the larger world of the Internet.
Google revealed that links and content are the top ranking signals in Google's search algorithm. So what kind of content generates the most links?
Marketers refer to content as "evergreen" when it creates long-lasting value for a company. A tutorial on how to create your own product, or a piece that does a deep-dive into the in-depth features of your website or service, for example, will likely to be useful for your users up until those features go away, or that product is updated.
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Some content starts out as news, but can become evergreen. If you do a video review about your experiences with a new product, for example, that might be newsy at the time, since the product is brand new, and people are actively seeking out experiences.
If the product gains traction in the market, however, and continues to be sought out, your content could remain relevant over time as new users look for the same information, how does the product perform, and how well does it work?
Evergreen content is a great opportunity for generating links; when you contact another website to ask them to link to a page of yours, it will almost always be evergreen content.
Controversial or Thought Provoking Content
Evergreen content is great for backlinks and establishing yourself as an ongoing expert, but isn't particularly shareable. Outside of quirky videos showing 75 ways to use paperclips that you never anticipated, people don't tend to share a lot of evergreen content on social media.
On social media, news is key, and being either controversial or thought provoking is key to generating links and shares on social media. While you can get some shares by just reposting and rewriting articles that have already been dropped by other sources, ultimately, that won't get you very far.
Where you get real attention is by adding value to the conversation.
If an industry leader has announced a new version of their product, for example, sharing that news and linking to a substantiated article is a great way to let your readers know what's going on. What you also need to do, though, is talk about what this means for your users. Will this update be good for them? Is this exciting news? How should they feel about it?
Make sure, however, that your controversial position or thought provoking discussion is authentic. Stirring up controversy just to have something to say is bad form, and you will lose respect with your readers for doing it.
Good Content Generates Good Links
Content marketing certainly works, however to earn links to your content you need to create content that is valuable and appeals to your audience. That means that whatever methods of content creation you're using, blog posts, photo journals, research, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to make sure you're doing a professional job.
Photos should be clean and well edited, taken using the best equipment for the job. Videos should be edited with care. Writing should be free of typos and grammatical errors.
Links are a huge part of crafting a successful marketing campaign and generating links for SEO purposes is time consuming. If you don't know how to do these things yourself, take a class to learn, or consider hiring a content marketer to do it for you.
You also need to get your content out to your audience in the first place in order for them to generate links or shares for you. This means knowing your market, leveraging your friends and family to share to their audiences, and spreading the word.
Make It Easy for Your Audience to Link to and Share Your Work
Marketing is a complex process, one thing you need to do is make it easy for your followers to share your work. This means that blogs need to have share buttons and professional Facebook pages should be public.
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You should also remember to link out to other sites when appropriate, especially if you're sourcing information from another website. Don't just say "As company 'A' wrote on Monday," provide a link to that material to make it easy for the customer to click over and verify what you said that company 'A' wrote. Plus, if you then want to approach Company 'A' for a backlink, you can show where you already linked to their information.