July 25, 2013
Next Level Content: Types and Elements of Great Content
In my years working in the online marketing industry, I’ve always gone back to the simple philosophy that pulls people to buy into whatever a business is ultimately trying to sell on the Internet: People want quality content.
It’s what they click on when browsing their favorite sites, what they share on social media, and what they search for on search engines. It provides solutions, creates engagement, generates leads, drives conversions, and develops brand loyalty.
Now I’ve seen a lot of companies make great content, but not all of them take advantage of the different ways they can deliver the information they have. Blog posts and articles are good, but there are other types of content that can communicate certain information better and reach a wider audience.
By nature, people process information much quicker through images. Having that information displayed in a tightly-constructed and visually-arresting infographic make it easier for readers to digest complex topics and loads of statistical data. It is inherently “skimmable” and is usually packed with a lot of important info, lending to greater social shares.
By extension, a video can be just as effective as an infographic, and even more so in certain situations because of the addition of sound and a more engaging narrative flow. There is also more freedom afforded in this medium, as the creator can use animation, real actors, a variety of shooting techniques and so much more. Of course, it can take much more resources to produce a polished video, and it requires a very compelling hook to justify the time and bandwidth it asks from its audience.
Although it might seem like a step down compared to the visual power of infographics and videos, a properly crafted podcast can be a great supplement to your overall content marketing strategy. Users have the luxury of listening to podcasts wherever they are and even when they’re doing something else that doesn’t require too much attention.
The creators just have to remember to keep from going off-topic, speak clearly, and explain topics in a manner that’s easy to understand. Good editing is also a must.
Elements of Great Content
These are just some of the many types of content that any business can use to further widen their marketing reach. However, it’s never enough to just make all sorts of content and expect to grow your audience and increase sales. I believe that there are particular elements necessary in attracting more people.
The title is the very first thing most people see so it has to be intriguing enough for them to actually click and view the content. If it’s inadequate, then all the hard work put into the content itself is wasted as it is never even seen to begin with.
Make it so that what you’re offering is instantly clear. That’s not to say that you spell out everything, as a hint of mystique is very helpful in pulling the target audience in. A sensationalized title can work at times, but there’s the risk of receiving backlash if you don’t manage expectations. To be safe, keep your title truthful.
- Calls-to-Action (CTA)
Quality content in a marketer’s perspective doesn’t just give the audience the information it desires. It has to be able to push them into engaging more with the rest of what the business can offer, whether it’s a newsletter, a forum or community, or a subscription to premium products and other content.
As such, you need to direct your audience by the end of your content to take action. This can be done by providing a link to a relevant product page, displaying a clickable button that leads them to a registration form, or by simply asking them to leave a comment to add to the discussion.
- Related Links
In conjunction with the previous element, having links to related content at the end of the one currently being viewed helps compel audiences into consuming more content within the website. The entire domain then benefits with each linked page getting traffic, and the visitors also gain more information that can prove to be useful.
It’s also a good practice to have external links to related content, as it lends to more credibility to the content when sources are cited and it doesn’t come off too self-serving. It can even lead to building new relationships with other websites in the industry, as they can track people visiting their sites from yours.
- Share Buttons
It pays to give your audience the option to share your content conveniently. Considering the shortening attention span Internet users have, most of them don’t want to go through the hassle of having to copy the URL of your content and paste it onto their social media accounts.
Make it easy for them by adding share buttons to your content pages. Just don’t go overboard and start placing buttons for every single social media platform, as it will look rather desperate of you, and it can confuse people with all the choices you’re giving them. Only use the ones where you know your audience resides.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO in layman’s terms is about making pages rank higher in search engine results pages. Quality content by itself should be enough for it to rank high in a perfect world. Of course, there has to be fresh and well-produced content in the first place for SEO techniques to really bloom.
Once that foundation is set, you can start applying basic methods like strategically inserting targeted keywords into the content and cleaning up meta tags for a better user experience. Done correctly, it will look natural to readers while also helping the site rank higher.
Don’t keep yourself boxed in when it comes to the types of content you can create for your marketing strategy. Once you have decided on the range of content your strategy will cover, you must then keep in mind the necessary elements that will transform that content into something that will truly capture the attention of more people.
Vincent Sevilla is a marketing consultant for Affilorama.com, an affiliate marketing portal which offers affiliate marketing tools and free affiliate marketing lessons.