The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Create Great Content

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

If you haven’t refreshed your content strategy lately, now is a great time to do so. It’s a new year with new goals to meet. Your audience is probably ready for some new material as well. Of course you’ll always have new leads coming in that will appreciate your work from time ago, but loyal readers thrive on new information.

What you may be wondering is what you’re going to create next. You may have exhausted all the obvious options. You may feel tapped out on certain topics. All arrows may point to nothing. But don’t give in that easily. We can guarantee that there’s plenty more in there to write on, and the further you dig, the more gold you will find.

As you update your content marketing strategy with great new content, keep these following tips in mind.

Utilize Keyword Tools

An effective blogging strategy makes good use of keywords. As you build out your editorial calendar, construct a list of keywords that you want to rank for and fill them in on the calendar. To get started, use some of the available keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Tool or WordStream’s Keyword Tool. Google is free, Moz has a free 30-day trial and WordStream gives you 30 searches for free. There are plenty more keyword tools online. A quick search will turn up plenty of results, so try out a few to see what you like.

Keyword tools are helpful for two reasons. First, they help you determine which keyword variations to use in your online marketing campaigns. Second, they give you ideas for further pieces of content. For instance, if you sell office furniture in New Jersey and type in “office furniture in NJ”, you’ll get back related keywords such as “used office furniture”, “rental office furniture” and “affordable office furniture”. These keywords can help you generate completely new topics that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Examine Search Results

One day, it will happen. You will have exhausted your keyword options in your keyword tool. You’ll then need to move onto another idea starter, which can be done by analyzing the search results. Before you create a piece of content, you want to understand the types of content that are appearing for the targeted keyword. A SERP analysis will do this for you.

Analyzing the search results shows you what Google sees as valuable content. Getting involved in the conversation is a great way to propel your brand forward and get your content featured on the first page of the SERPs.

Using the example above for office furniture, you would find that a quick search turns up results that relate to brand new and used corporate furniture. The top content also includes popular office layouts that maximize space and comfort. Almost every search has plenty of pictures, thorough product descriptions and ideas on how to use the furniture in a workspace. Now you would know some of the things to include in your own content.

When you’re lost for ideas, going through the SERPs can give you some new perspective.

Get Reacquainted with Old Content

It’s probably best said now that you most likely won’t ever create a piece of content that is 100% original. With so much content on the web, you’re bound to borrow a few lines from somewhere whether you intend to or not. But that’s okay. Content doesn’t have to be completely new and original to have some goodness.

Take a look at some of your older items and see if you can generate new ideas from them. Maybe you touched on a particular topic a couple of years ago, and now your brand has so much more to share with readers. Or maybe you told readers that you would revisit something that you never did. You may even find that some topics generated a lot of interest and you can expand on them further such as with a Part 2 section. Whatever the case may be, we’re sure you can find a lot ideas that can be given better explanations, alternative perspectives and so on.

Monitor Conversations and Get Feedback

Sometimes it’s best to go right to the source. Using your social media channels, ask your audience what types of things they would like to learn more about. You can ask them for feedback, let them choose from a list of topics or take a poll. This will give you a better idea as to what your readers are most interested in hearing about, and you can look for trends in their responses. You may find that some topics you were going to write more about are getting old with readers.

Also be attentive on social media. By listening to your audience, you can ensure that you are meeting their demands. You may find that your customers tend to have similar questions such as how to use a certain product, what features are included in a service and more. Use these questions to create content that your audience will find informational. Then when your customers have these questions in the future, you can suggest your posts that will contain detailed, factual information.

Everyday Tips to Live By

Before we conclude this post, I wanted to point out a few quick tips that you should apply to your work.

  • Be helpful

  • Deliver value

  • Evoke emotion

  • Earn trust

  • Demonstrate that you care about your readers

  • Educate with do’s and don’ts

  • List facts, stats, tips and other info

  • Address problems that keep readers up at night

  • Write compelling titles  

Conclusion

It doesn’t take much to create content but it does take plenty to make sure it’s great. As we move further into 2016, be certain that you are still putting a lot of importance on developing exceptional content. It’s an excellent way to continue building relationships, create an image for your brand and show that you’re deserving of your readers’ trust and loyalty. Most importantly, don’t just churn out content for the heck of it. Give your readers content that they will enjoy - content that will bring some type of value to their lives.

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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