Most content creation is done backward: Content creators look for keywords to write about when, instead, they should write about the company's successes and add keywords naturally.
The number of blogs published every day is astounding. Writing unique content that stands out is getting harder and harder. If your posts haven't been ranking, consider a different approach to writing. Here are three ways to help you do that.
The first involves how you find topics to write about. The second relates to changing your mindset about keywords and the way you use them in your content. The third is a way to find long-tail keywords you can rank for even when your domain authority is low. By making some simple changes, you should notice improvements in your post's rankings and conversion rates pretty quickly.
How to create amazing content: Start with a keyword list
It's time to write some content for your website or blog. You're about to use your favorite keyword research tools to find some high volume keywords you want to rank for. Once the keyword list is put together, you start writing. At least, that's many writers approach to content generation. But, what do you write about? How do you create engaging content that converts from a list of keywords you've chosen to target? It's not easy if you can't draw from personal experiences about the business.
How to generate blog content ideas: Tell a success story
My advice is to base your writing on a story that really happened. You may not want to repeat it word for word, but you shouldn't have to make up a story to illustrate the company's benefits (it probably won't sound authentic). Your company (or the one you're writing for) has great success stories to tell. If you don't incorporate them in your posts, you won't produce engaging content.
Salespeople and customer service can be a great source for success stories. Here are some examples of questions I ask employees (in our janitorial company) to help generate ideas for posts:
Ask a customer service rep these questions:
- Name one problem a client called about today.
- What solution did you offer?
- Did the solution work?
- If not, what do you think could have been done to solve the problem?
Questions your salespeople can ask prospects:
Before the sale:
- What is the No. 1 problem you are having with your current vendor or supplier?
- Why do you want to change companies?
- What do you think your past vendor/supplier could have done better?
After the sale:
- Why did you decide to hire us?
The list of questions you can come up with to generate content ideas is endless. Have staff write down successes as they occur to develop a list of topics you can write about. Companies are solving their customer's problems every day, but how often do they promote those successes? Probably not enough. As the content writer, you have to dig up some success stories and promote the company's benefits in your blogs. And you have to do it from your customer's perspective.
Creating unique blog content
Does your post sound like something you've read before? If that's happening, you probably haven't found something unique to write about. Or you're trying to write content around some keywords you want to rank for. It's hard to come up with a topic that's never been discussed or experienced by another company. As long as you're basing the content on the company's experiences, don't worry about how well (or not) your post will be received.
Content development strategy: Write about ideas, not keywords
Outlines help, but sometimes you need to start writing if you aren't sure about everything you want to include in your post. That's actually how I wrote this post. I jotted down ideas for the post (in outline form) and expanded on those ideas as I continued writing. I didn't look at a list of keywords to make sure I included them. I didn't write backward (keywords first, ideas later). Writers don't write about keywords; they write about ideas.
Long-tail keywords can be added later
You know the high-volume keywords you want to include in your post. Those keywords will come naturally as you write the post (they are the topics you're writing about). However, they're not that easy to rank for. But what about adding long-tail keywords to your post that are easier to rank for?
I don't always focus on long-tail keywords before I start writing. After I've written my first draft, I review the post to make sure I've included my high-volume keywords (in all the right places). Then I turn to my research tools to find related, long-tail keywords to add.
I look for areas of my post where I can insert a long-tail keyword naturally. I look for sentences that already contain the keywords and run a search for related keywords with higher volumes and see if I can use these instead (or in addition to the ones I'm already using).
Improve your outsourced content: Don't allow your content creation company to write backward!
Most small businesses don't have the resources to write content in-house. So they often use content creation services to do it for them. Many of these companies have good writers, but they need your help. After all, they're not on the front lines of your business. You have to provide them with material to write about. You can't just hand them a list of keywords and expect miracles. If you do, your posts won't be unique and they certainly won't engage your readers. How can they generate good content when they are writing backward!
Blogs can still rank for keywords when domain authority is low (e.g., a new website)
It may be difficult to rank for certain high-volume keywords in a competitive industry. But lower-volume, less-competitive keywords (i.e., long-tail keywords) can be easier to rank for. In fact, I've seen a few websites that rank for long-tail keywords and nothing else. The rankings came from their blog. The topics were engaging, and the traffic was coming from several different long-tail keywords. Their website traffic increased substantially despite their low domain authority.
Give your content time to rank
Studies indicate that the average time to rank for long-tail keywords is three months. I've seen pages that take a year or longer to rank. This blog post took five months to rank on the first page of Google, and it's been holding its ground ever since.
There are lots of factors involved, and there's really no way to predict how long it will take your post to rank. If you write content that's engaging and you include long-tail keywords naturally, you'll rank and get traffic. The key is to stop writing backward!