March 22, 2013

Your Blog is Boring

With a title like that I realize I'm opening myself to be ridiculed by some instigator who will tell me how boring MY blog post is. I also realize that for the general public, the topic of SEO is enough to make folding laundry sound fun, so if you are one of those people, this post is not for you. However, if you like exposing new people to your brand and driving traffic to your website, this blog post IS for you.

While there are numerous types of shareable content including articles, videos, and photos, for the sake of this discussion, I'll be focusing on blog posts. Blogs are often the worst offenders of boring and self serving content. With the right approach, a blog can be an easy way to generate fresh relevant content that is indexable by search engines. (I realize 'indexable'? isn't really a word, but it is in my world, so for a brief moment my vocabulary is more substantial than that of spell check.)

It seems like 'Content is King'? has been the main SEO 'buzz'? phrase for an eternity already, even if in actuality it's only been a couple years. Unfortunately, the meaning of that statement can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. I'd like to amend the phrase to say 'Interesting, Useful, and Shareable Content is King.'? Now that Google Panda updates will be part of a real time algorithm, creating content that people find useful will continue to be a major attribute for achieving visibility for key terms. On the flip side, search engines are becoming increasingly savvier in regards to devaluing content that was only created to benefit keyword rankings. Developments such as Google Authorship can help brands maximize the effectiveness of their content more than ever before.

It's far too easy for brands to say, 'I heard we need a blog. We'll create a post per month and talk about all of the company happenings.'? Creating blog content should never be seen as a reactionary measure. Rather brands should stop looking at their product as a commodity and start thinking how people could have an emotional connection to their offerings. Establishing an emotional connection causes the reader to actually feel something, which will surely entice them to share content and click through to a core part of the site. Before new blog content is created, the content curator needs to be honest and ask themselves the following:

  1. If I didn't work for this company, would I find this interesting?
  2. Would anyone I know be interested in sharing this?

I know it's probably tough to swallow, but most brands aren't nearly as exciting as they think they are. While some content can have a direct correlation to a brand's offerings, a large amount of content should expose a whole new audience to the brand. For example, a blog for a women's fashion shoe company would be incredibly boring and self serving if it only talked about their newest styles. Instead the blog would be far more effective if it talked about things that are more relatable to the general public, such as fashion tips and celebrity style. The company could take it a step further and talk about broader topics that appeal to women including healthy eating, dating tips, and other topics women might find interesting (what do I know? I'm clearly a dude).

By casting a wider net and connecting to the people who might potentially buy the shoes, a whole new audience will land on the site and be exposed to the products. Someone who lands on the site might not have even been looking for shoes previously, but they enjoyed the content so much that they clicked through to see what the brand was all about. As long as blog posts strategically link back to the core site in a strategic and non-pitchy way, the blog post is doing its job.

While it should be common knowledge by now, brands should always share their content with their social media followers (in moderation of course'?¦more than once a day might be overkill). These are the people that like the brand enough to have already followed them, so they are most likely to share this content with other people as well. These social signals will only help content rank higher in search engines. Since we're talking about social media, it's really important that brands START USING GOOGLE PLUS. Trust me, just because it doesn't have as many users as Facebook and Twitter, doesn't mean it should be ignored. Google Plus is already having a major impact on Google search results.

In closing, no matter what your company sells, the blog is an opportunity to have a little fun and write content that might expose the brand to a whole new audience. Think outside the box a bit, and think about the stuff you like to read when you aren't working. Your strategy should start to make more sense from there.

Topics: Blog, blogging, Google Authorship, Google Panda, Google Plus, Shareable Content

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