Make quality content priority one in 2011

Content

Make quality content priority one in 2011

Driving home from our family’s rare white Christmas mountain getaway, I shared a bit of trivia I thought my hipster siblings might get a kick out of. Facebook had compiled the most frequently used words and terms from status updates over the last year, and topping
the list was the acronym HMU. I’d never seen the abbreviation, shorthand for “hit me up,” used in friends’ status updates, but I’m a square compared to their young blood. So when they responded in tandem, “What’s HMU?” I was surprised. If an L.A.-based 19-year-old and a NYC-based 22-year-old weren’t up on the lingo, who on earth was actually using the phrase?

Colloquialisms crop up all the time. They also fade away. Here’s another installment of family fun time with the Nusseys. Before the holiday I posted a Facebook status proclaiming my excitement for the day: “About to get epic up in here.” My sister’s thoughtful reply? “No no, Virginia. That word died. I meant to tell you yesterday.” Clearly I’m behind the curve.

Crafting copy that speaks to your audience and convinces them of a need and a solution in your product or service is a challenge, yet it may be the most efficient and effective use of SEO resources at your disposal. So how do you avoid the mistakes I made and create content that cuts through the noise with a ring of truth and the power to convert?

Make content a top priority

We can start by taking a lesson from one of the fastest growing companies on the web and perhaps one of the most widely read. Groupon, the social coupon site recently wooed by Google, has perfected a content style that resonates with a broad audience ━ part advertising, part entertainment, 100% informative content. Groupon takes its content very seriously, a priority attitude that’s reflected in Groupon Academy, a training seminar on the Groupon voice that’s part of a rigorous hiring process for writers. Groupon has built a loyal following on the foundation of top-quality content. Learn from the web leaders and invest in content.

Move beyond text

When thinking about new content, think beyond text. Web users are a data hungry bunch, but they’ll only bite if it’s presented right. A surge in the social sharing of infographics points to a mechanism that’s working for content dissemination online. With so much data available in the web economy, people love good visualizations. Consider how your niche lends itself to data visualizations of statistics, comparisons, geography, chronology and explanations of processes and concepts. Don’t overlook what pictures or videos can do to illuminate your product or service. Images can communicate quickly and persuasively, making an impact within the time granted your content by a visitor’s short attention span.

Find and meet demand

Your content is you on the web ━ its importance can’t be stressed enough. It’s how you represent yourself, it’s how you’ll be found online, it’s how you’ll turn visitors into customers. With so much riding on your content, it’s vital that a business focuses its content strategy on the right audience, through the right topics, using language that users expect. There’s a tested method for content creation that’s finding incredible success. There’s nothing in the model that new or surprising, but it’s been refined into a process that taps into audience demand and delivers on it. The method starts with research into relevant Q&A topics and an understanding of what people are frequently looking for in a niche. Shape content around common questions to become a trusted resource in search and among your audience.

Start the new year by making your site copy and content across the web a priority. It’s one New Year’s resolution that will yield results.

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Arienne Holland is the Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Raven. She divides her time between outreach, writing, teaching and understanding developers. Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. She was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for team breaking news journalism. She likes bread, books and bourbon.

More about Arienne Holland | @RavenArienne

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