As part of an overall search strategy, we used to have companies focus on recent, frequent, and relevant content driven by keywords that could increase organic ranking and conversions. Writing numerous short articles is one of those bits of advice that we've abandoned in recent years. There are a few reasons why:
- Deep content – search engines rank by the popularity of the content, period. Popularity is based on quality, and so it's not a surprise that robust articles that are over 1,000 words are growing in rank. It's not the word count; it's the thoroughness of the articles that are getting the attention, shared online, and linked by relevant third-party sites. Well-researched articles that provide value to your audience perform better than shallow, frequent articles.
- Duplicate content – while it's a myth that duplicate content draws a penalty, there is a disadvantage to repeatedly writing about the same topic… you have internal pages that compete for the same keywords. Instead of writing an article a month on a given topic, writing or updating a completely researched and thorough article will ensure that the page is given the most attention by your audience and by search engines.
- Audience focus – writing about your company's products and services over and over again isn't helping your business build authority and trust with your audience. Think about it… your focus is on you rather than on your audience. If you want to show that you are an authority and can be trusted by your prospect, your prospect needs to know that you are an expert at their occupation, not yours.
Let's pretend that I'm developing a content strategy for two email marketing platforms, Company A and Company B.
- Company A – Content details the products, features, integrations, and pricing of their platform. Each day, they produce a blog post on spam compliance, features, customer success stories, and industry trends. The content is tightly focused on email, email, email, and email.
- Company B – Content focuses on the audience and information they're seeking. The decision-makers that purchase the email marketing platform have a wide range of interests and challenges with their job. Lead generation, analytics, budgeting, hiring, testing, productivity, leadership, recognition… the job of an email marketing professional has several dimensions. Moreover, an executive most likely spends less or even no time working in the platform than their staff does – so they're not interested in the finite details whatsoever.
I utilized email marketing as a primary example because that was my experience with ExactTarget. As a product manager and integration consultant, I was hyper-focused on our product and what it delivered. However, more often than not, I watched as senior leadership sold what might be possible to the largest companies if they partnered with us. In fact, most of our most significant engagements required customization that never existed in the platform… and quite a bit of that development was spent building proprietary solutions after the contract was signed.
In other words, it wasn't products, features, or services that were sold in the engagement… it was the possibilities that were sold. Senior leadership proved that they understood the prospect's business so well that they could help them overcome their challenges and innovate beyond any of the competitors.
Companies that develop content that only focuses on their products and services lose engagement with decision-makers. When you target information based on the audience rather than the company, you will see more sharing, more links, more conversations, and more conversions. When it's narrow, it's mainly seen as pushy and ignored as sales collateral.
If you write for your audience and draw them to your site through your understanding of their challenges, you'll provide more value to your prospects and customers. The goal of your content should be that you prove to your audience that you understand their challenges and have solutions that will help them reach their potential. When they see you're an authority on their job, they'll trust you with your product.
This is the content library you should be focused on building.