In part 1 of our 5 most important considerations for online success, we looked at getting your keyword targets accurately identified, before moving forward with your online campaign.

With the right phrases in the bag, it’s time to start creating. Content has always been a vital part of website and online marketing, but now its more important than ever to ensure that its really good, useful stuff. Particularly as we’re spoilt for choice with places to put it – your website, other websites, industry news, social media etc etc.

You may or may not have heard of Google’s Panda update but it was designed to maul sites with thin content (ie low word count) and penalise them in the rankings. From Google’s blog:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

Alas, the knee jerk reaction to this was for lots of people to start producing as much written content as possible. Filling their website with waffle, buying articles in bulk and blogging like crazy. And now the internet is full to the brim with very average stuff, mainly created purely for SEO purposes. Your content could get lost.

5 ways to stand out from the content crowd

However, rather than this being a problem, we see it as an opportunity. Content that’s good enough to be shared, acted upon and generally engaged with by the reader or viewer, generally ranks well. So all you need to do is put in that little bit more effort and you should stand out amongst the mundane.

  1. Articles need to be long enough to be truly engaging. The 300 word token effort just won’t cut it anymore. But without being boring. Break up your articles with appropriate imagery and sub-headings (great place to pop your keywords in actually!). Imagine what it would look like on a magazine page and if it doesn’t look inviting to read, work harder on it!
  2. It pays to be imaginative. Don’t just toe the line – be controversial. If you have a legitimate counter argument to an established wisdom – tell the world about it. If you can explain something to your market in a more succinct and digestible way than everyone else, do it. And then share it.
  3. Step away from the written word. The liberating effects of broadband and social media mean that people are just as likely to watch a video or share an interesting infographic / clever image. In many it’s actually a more effective way to get your message across. People can’t scrape the text and rewrite it for themselves and, if you create truly great content, it’s widely shared on the net  – complete with your brand all over it.
  4. Plan ahead. Think about what you want to say and when you’re going to say it. As much as anything else, this removes that last minute panic of ‘what do i write about – oh anything will do!’ scenario that many find themselves in. But moreover it means your message to the world ends up being more considered.
  5. Realise you know your subject better than anyone else. You may not feel comfortable putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) but you know your business and its background and capabilities. If you don’t feel confident writing, work with a writer or agency. We write a lot of content for a huge variety of sectors and subjects, but it takes time to truly understand it and speak with authority. That’s why we work closely with our clients in the early stages. Just communicate your ideas , have regular meetings to discuss topics or even just give your writer/agency some bullet points to write up. You know your subject better than anyone else.