There is so much content being cranked out it is really impossible to read it all. I notice that much of the content appears to be calculated topics that I think are chosen strictly with the goal to bring in traffic. From what I see most of those articles have the same basic information I have seen several times before…essentially they offer me no value whatsoever.
I would really love it if the search and marketing community focused not just on content, but on creating outstanding content. This would most likely mean less content and better information for all of us. I don’t care if you publish just once a month; what I want is to be wowed.
So How Does One Stand Out?
I could say “Be different!” or “Be unique!” (which is important), but what I really want to say is to draw off your experiences and offer advice and information you think would be helpful to multiple audiences. Show your personality and don’t try to be like everyone else, because when everyone is the same all you get is boring!
Examples of Awesomeness
Your experiences are ‘different’ and ‘unique’ and as a result they are useful. Let’s look at some articles that are relevant, different and extremely useful.
Sugarrae’s article has over 1,000 shares on Facebook alone. She does SEO consulting and clearly this article is not about SEO, but because Instagram is a part of social it is relevant. She drew off of her experiences and her desire to help others and the result was a successful article. It was totally different, extremely useful and it worked.
The Buffer Blog cranks out a ton of articles and I know planning and strategy is involved, however the information they provide is often very unique and clearly the information comes from their experiences. The IFTTT post has almost 3,000 shares on Twitter and over a 1,000 on Google+. It was different than the typical SEO/social/content post, but as you can see from the shares different is great!
This is one blog that I personally check every single day because I look forward to getting something different and ‘outstanding’.
This piece, by the amazingly insightful Ian Lurie, immediately shows his personality in the title (unique so I am interested). The content itself is very detailed and completely based off his 20 years of experience. It isn’t like everyone else’s advice, it is personal and it is real. With over 1,000 tweets you can see that people like personal and real.
This took a lot of time to write, but it is what I said I was looking for above –> outstanding! It is not a quick read either and that is a good thing. Quality over quantity.
How to Not Suck
It is really important today to make sure you are not seen as someone that creates mediocre-crap content. Reputations are built through content everyday and you want a good rep. If I were asked to give advice to people wanting to create content it would be -> focus on creating something awesome once a month instead of writing 3 times a week.
The amazing content stands out and brings in traffic for the long term. Amazing content makes you memorable and outstanding content can make you a star.
Some tips for avoiding suckiness:
- If your experiences are the same as everyone else’s don’t write about them.
- If you don’t know how to write, please don’t write.
- If you can’t back up what you say don’t give advice.
- If you have tried a strategy once and it worked this does not mean it will work for everyone in every situation so please don’t claim that it will.
- Don’t promise things, especially in SEO. Again, every situation is different.
- Dig deeper – “optimize your title tags” is not deep.
- Don’t try to be like everyone else, because 90% of what I see is boring and repetitive.
- Provide resources and step-by-step information.
- Always assume that the person reading has no idea what you are talking about and add in the details that will teach.
- Focus on educating and helping.
- Expand deeply on the basic advice – everyone has already seen the basic advice.
We Are at a Crossroads with Content
Right now it appears that the marketing industry is cranking out content like machines and the content reads like it was written by machines. I see a lot of ‘blah’ and very little value. So, we can continue down this path of creating content to create it OR we could focus on what matters in everything, value.
Questions to consider:
- Is there value in what we are writing?
- Does it make people think?
- Is it different than what everyone else is saying?
- Is our content helpful to a large group of people?
- Who does this content help?
It is time to stop the machine-like content and time to start focus on the outstanding.