SEO has shifted dramatically over the last few years – and even more so over the last decade. In the bloggersSEO office, we’re constantly researching new ideas, re-evaluating old ones and expanding our knowledge wherever we can – until suddenly we’re stumbling blindly down a brand new path. One of our biggest changes over the last few years has been our views towards content – your blog is powered by content, but it’s no longer contained by the same old (stifling) rules of bloggers past.
It’s time you get out of that ‘one blog post EVERY week’ rut – even if it’s only to stop the profuse sweating it causes as you stare into the abyss of a whole nother years worth of content. At the start of each year, your inbox is probably slammed with emails like ‘CREATE A YEARS WORTH OF CONTENT IN 3 HOURS’ at least 37,000 times, and it’s all a bit much. Take this chance to take a step back and consider the value that your content provides and how you deliver it, rather than looking at it as 52 INDIVIDUAL posts you feel pressured to have created by I don’t know… last week?
If you’re following Jim’s YouTube shenanigans, you may have noticed we’ve been harping on a little (AKA the last few months) about brand and the effect it has on SEO – yep, it’s a thing! Creating content is another highly effective method for you to build your brand. Brand represents three things – Expertise, Authority, and Trust – that’s on YOU – your face, your skill, your team. The words you share with others are simply an extension of the knowledge you harbour, and the value your community derives from it. Your content isn’t your brand. YOU are your brand!
The hidden power of brand
Moving on from my career as a motivational speaker, let’s cycle back into how that all content relates to your brand. At bloggersSEO, we’ve been pretty dormant in our first year – we weren’t smashing out blog posts every few days (except for that time we did #25DBB), overloading our audience with newsletters, or pushing our faces into every and any guest posting opportunity. Instead, we built our brand.
We captivated 3,000 bloggers in our first year alone simply with a Facebook group. This group later spawned a living and breathing courses, built directly on our communities needs. As of November 2017, we only had a literal handful of blog posts and a website that needs a serious shove (we’ve come so far!) We’ll admit we’ve been too busy developing our course and answering your questions to turn the focus onto our own site, whoops!
In short, in 2017 our site kind of sucked. You might say “it could do with a little improvement…” if you’re being nice. So HOW could a not-so-great site possibly rank #1 in for a number of our key phrases, for our audience location hotspots all across the world? The answer is simple – brand. Bloggers all over the world knew we were a trusted source for SEO advice, and that brand strength helped us grow even before we did anything else!
Our entire team is currently sinking their teeth into the power of brand, and you’ll be hearing more than enough about that in the future. Stay tuned, we’ll be getting into it soon enough – but there’s a little more work for you to do first.
All this talk about us cycles back to you, and your content.
How can you rock the boat and shake those ‘one post a week’ chains from here on out?
In the days of old, it used to be all about content and backlinks. First of all, I do NOT recommend starting Jim on backlinks – if you’re buying links or creating them simply for ‘juice’, you’re harming yourself – that’s ALL you need to know. Content used to be (and still is) a powerful SEO tactic. The only thing that’s changed is the way we think about content It used to be your regular, once a week blog posts that Google adored. Now, it’s simply content that your audience adores instead – and it’s different for each and every blog.
Now, we’re focusing more on simply engaging with your audience and building a brand – however you do that is up to you. One blog post a week might be exactly what your readers are after, and that’s totally fine! With the rise (and success) of Facebook groups and online communities, there are now even MORE ways to share your content – some might say too many, but it’s all about finding which channel works best for your blog and ignoring the rest. Seriously, don’t bother producing content that’s not going to add any value to your readers – put that time into what you’re really good at instead.
Creating content, differently.
Rather than getting you to plan out a whole year of blog posts, we’re here to help you think about the types and styles of content you’ll be creating – the type that keeps pulling your audience back for more.
For those of you who love worksheets (all of us!?) download yours below and let this post guide you. Apologies in advance that there’s no twinkling noise to prompt you to turn the page!
Delivering your content
What content style do you prefer creating? Blog posts, YouTube Videos or podcasts? Right now, the idea of running a live video might terrify you, but don’t worry – even the pros had to start somewhere, and once they were trying out new things just like you. If you simply just can’t do live speaking, don’t stress yourself out. That BuzzFeed post you read telling you live videos are the thing right now won’t be relevant in a few weeks anyway. You need to enjoy your blogging experience just as much as your readers. Audiences love realism, no matter how you deliver it. Be genuine in sharing your content and don’t force something you’re not totally in love with. If you’ve tried Twitter and still don’t get it, put it on the back burner to try again later.
Divide all the ways you can deliver content into ‘LOVE IT’, ‘Daunting, but I should probably give it a go’ and ‘NOT for me!’ Look at how you currently create content for all three areas and those that might need a little more love.
Picking your platforms
While it’s important to consider the platforms your audience uses, remember they come to you for what you do best. DON’T let that get lost by trying out a new swanky platform that doesn’t actually do your content justice. Can you imagine delivering a blog post via Snapchat? Probably not going to communicate your message all that well.
Alternatively, you could successfully use Snapchat or Instagram Stories to build a more personal relationship with your audience, and give them into a sneak peek into your life. Whether it’s your personal life or the day to day functioning of your brand, that’s up to you. It’s always worth investigating the potential of each platform before writing it off completely – think outside the box, and do what works for you.
Consider the purpose of using each platform available, and the new opportunities each presents – and how you could use them to strengthen your brand, alongside your main message.
Expanding & repurposing
Not everything you create should be entirely from scratch. In fact, your audience will gain even more benefit out of your content if you take the time to improve the content you already have – and build on what they already know.
Internal linking opportunities
Have you ever been deep into creating a new post, only to be inspired by a particular word or sentence to create an entirely new post? Whether you’re writing new posts or simply revisiting previous ones, consider topics or areas that may need further explanation. You may be able to create a new post that ensures your readers have a full understanding or one that allows them to explore even further. These types of posts are valuable not only for your readers but also for your SEO though Internal Linking – that is, linking to your own, related content within a post. (See? This would be a perfect spot to link to a post on Internal Linking to introduce you to the basics. Instead, I’ll link you to our class that will teach you everything you need to know.)
Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in your own level of experience and forget that not everybody has as tight of a grip on your topics as you. Try and separate yourself from what you already know, and map your own path to how you learnt it all – what are the fundamental topics needed to understand what you do? Is there a skill that underlies all content you create?
For example, we make sure our bloggers can easily learn what SEO actually is before we start teaching them how to implement and improve their sites.
Fleshing out your best performers
Given that your audience now has a strong foundation of knowledge and can easily apply any of your content, consider where they might want to go from here. What posts can you take to the next level? Is there ‘advanced’ knowledge you can share? Or perhaps there’s a post your audience just loves, like ‘Best Lunchboxes of 2016’ – maybe it’s time to revisit and create a new, updated version.
Going further afield
New content doesn’t always have to be inspired by previous posts, or from racking your brain all day. It can simply come from asking your audience what they actually want – or, looking for the signs and answering their needs without them even realising.
Now a few paragraphs ago it might have seemed like I was shaming backlinks – take a second to re-read that sentence. “If you’re buying links or creating them simply for ‘juice’, you’re harming yourself”. That DOESN’T mean backlinks don’t have value – as long as they’re valuable and relevant (that means not dropping your link randomly in comments okay??). The value is in the traffic they bring, not the influence they have on Google (see: none). If you’re guest posting and connecting with your audience in places other than your own blog, that’s great – in fact that’s exactly what you want to be doing.
Consider the broader needs of your readers, and gaps in your own knowledge – is there someone in the blogging world that could help bridge that gap? Or, have you noticed a hole in someone else’s content that’s just got your name written all over it? Think of the different types of content you can contribute, and the areas you might need a little help as you continue to grow.
FAQ like never before
Most sites have a little FAQ section that’s usually a re-write of their about section, or a glorified glossary – it still serves a purpose, but how can you build yours into something bigger and better? Think about the last question you were asked – did it land in your inbox, and was sent back with an eloquent reply? Why not turn that into a brand new post? Chances are if at least one of your audience is brave enough to ask, there are hundreds more who need the same answer.
Note your most asked questions or the most interesting ones you’ve received recently – do you have posts for these? If not, get creating! Don’t forget any prior knowledge they may need, and related topics for future posts.
Power your content with Keyword Research
Whether you’ve only just begun your keyword research journey or are starting to take things a little more seriously, your keywords can be a quick and easy source of inspiration. Think of the ONE thing you want to rank for – do you have a post on it!? If the answer is no, then you’re going to have a reaaaaally hard time seeing any success. If you do, consider the different intentions of those searching for that topic – we’ve done a ‘What is SEO’ post, and our next move would be a ‘Why Do I Need SEO’ or ‘What Are The Benefits of SEO’ style post. This will help you map out your readers’ learning journey through your content.
By now, you should be feeling a little less stressed about all those ’12 Months Worth of Content’ emails. NOW, you can tackle them with pride – knowing your content has a clear purpose, and will always provide value to your readers – regardless of how often you post.
Do you plan your posts WAY in advance, or are you a little more free-spirited?
Want to perfect the skills mentioned in this post? Learn how with bloggersSEO!