If you have been conducting any type of digital marketing over the past few years, the one item that you should have become very intimate with is your content and more importantly, the need to produce high quality content. The fact of the matter is that content is the lifeblood of your website. It’s the message from your content that helps educate users about your brand, your products and services and most importantly, how you can solve their problems. Content marketing is not something that is new to marketers; I mean advertisers have been doing this for years. What is new is the digital marketplace and how the ability of people to consume content has changed. In the digital age, we have access to copious amounts of data and content like never before.
The good folks over at b2bmarketinginsider.com produced a great list of some content stats that you might find interesting. Here is but a sample:
- 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. – AOL / Nielsen
- 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors. – The Corporate Executive Board (CEB)
- Emotional marketing messages are twice as effective as promotional ones
- 78% of CMOs think content is the future of marketing. – Demand Metric
- The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. –Statistic Brain
- The number of web searches on the term “Content Marketing” is up 400% since January 2011. – Google Trends
- Another study found the three biggest challenges for content marketing to be limited budgets (27%), limited staff (25%), and generating new content (21%). – iMediaConnection
So content marketing is not going away; in fact, it’s growing. Looking at what some of the main challenges are for content marketers, I thought that a post about different options to enhance the content on your Web properties might be of value. Some of these options can be used regardless of the type of web site that you deploy while other options are more specific for a certain type of site like an ecommerce site or sites within specific industries. Nevertheless, these options can help you enhance your content so it’s more engaging to your desired audience.
55 Ways to Enhance Your Web Content In 2017
These options are in random order and are in no way sorted by priority.
- Enhance your About Us section – this is a great opportunity to promote your brand and to describe the history of your organization. Don’t waste this opportunity. Quite often the About Us page on your website can be one of the highest traffic driving pages. You will want to ensure that your messaging on this page is updated and fresh each year.
- Think Mobile – in this day and age people are always on the go. The World has gotten to be so busy and plugged in all of the time. Work on preparing content for mobile with content that is easy to access, easy to find and always available.
- Avoid placing content behind a login – how many of you are still doing this? C’mon raise your hand, don’t be shy. I still see so many websites that do this. Why do you feel the need to restrict your content to be behind a login? Do you really think that users cannot or will not find that content elsewhere on the Web? Google has trillions and trillions of pages indexed, chances are that content is most likely already available somewhere else. Avoid placing useful content behind login. You want people to champion your content and link to your content and share your content. Think that they are going to do that when it is behind a login? Think again.
- Produce a list of top content pieces – whether it is a list of your top 10 blog posts for 2016 or your top 10 articles on <insert topic here>, people will have an opportunity to re-engage with this content. The net impact could be additional social engagement (Shares, Likes, Retweets), more feed subscribers or more repeat visitors.
- Incorporate video – posts with video tend to get as much as three times as more inbound links than content without. Of course it takes a bit more effort to create video content, but it is doable and providing that your video content is short and easy to consume, users may tend to better engage with this form of content.
- Blog, blog, blog – in 2016 if you don’t have a blog, you are missing a great opportunity to populate content quickly on your site. The difficulty in producing a blog is in the resources required to maintain and contribute to it. However, blogs can be well received by your audience and can be a great mechanism for building quality links to your site.
- Update your existing content with additional new, fresh content – perhaps you have some older pages that have not been updated in a while. Consider adding some fresh content to revive some of your stale content. Re-purpose your existing content.
- Produce FAQ content – provide answers to frequently asked questions about your brand, your product/service offerings or about your industry. This content is highly informative and is often shared by users. Keep in mind that your FAQ strategy could consist of a multi-page build out where you have specific landing pages for each question that this asked.
- Add new images – consider updating the images on your pages. Be smarter with the images that you use as part of your content.
- Share some stats – people love statistics. If you can add some statistical insight about your industry, brand or products, users will easily consume this content and will be more inclined to share it.
- Build out your testimonials – this is a great way to build trust with your audience and promote your brand at the same time. Update the testimonial content on your website and let your customers communicate their experience with your products, services and brand. share both the good and the bad. An amped up testimonial can go a long way in building credibility and trust.
- Tell your brand story – build trust by communicating the story of your brand. Also known as “brand storytelling”. you can build loyalty by developing the story of your own brand.
- Update your product descriptions – forget about those vendor / supplier generated product descriptions. There is way more value in writing your own unique product descriptions. This option can add freshness and uniqueness to your online content.
- Create How-To Videos – video content can be very engaging; how to videos even more so.
- Create Video Tutorials – similar to above but in more of a series.
- Create Video News Releases – do you see where I’m going with this? Video content is highly consumable.
- Interview industry gurus – interview well known resources from your industry to get their thoughts on industry topics or breaking news from your field. This can also be a great way to acquire high quality, industry related links to your website.
- Create an infographic – based on some share worthy data.
- Re-write a previous article – revisit some of the “legacy” articles on your site and update them with current data.
- Produce a news release on a new or updated product offering – share company news around a new product launch or upcoming product design.
- Make some predictions – specific to product/service usage or around upcoming industry events
- Discuss some of the latest industry trends – share your thoughts / opinions on industry events.
- Blog Post: Pre Event – prior leading up to a company or industry event preface the event and describe what will be taking place.
- Blog Post: During Event – post your experience at the event and support with social media and video.
- Blog Post: Post Event – a summary of the conference or event.
- Enhance Category Content – let say that your site is an eComm that sells outdoors clothing. You could enhance your content for various category level pages by adding commentary on the latest fashion trends specific to these categories.
- Add product details – add more in-depth information on the product details. This is especially great for ensuring your content that may have been scraped by other sites is unique and fresh.
- Create a Top Ten List – top ten reasons why… Users love this type of content, especially if it helps them find the answers to what they were looking for. Top Ten reasons why you should develop a content marketing strategy.
- User Generated Content – and I mean true user generated content where a client or customers shares their story of using your product/service or shares their experience with your brand.
- Comparison Content – comparison charts or tables are very useful. Whether you sell insurance or sell automobiles, presenting comparison data is often what the user is looking for to help make their purchase decision. Many site owners worry about comparing competitor information; well you don’t necessarily have to do that. You can compare your own product offerings. Keep in mind that it can be challenging when crafting words to make your brand or product seem more superior to other products on the market.
- Incorporate rich markup within your content – machine learning is not going away anytime soon. Any opportunity that you have to better communicate your content with the bots, do it. This may mean marking up your content with rich markup such as schema markup or open graph protocol to help educate the machines on the topicality of your page.
- Produce educational content – on how to use your product or service or on how to get the most benefit out of engaging with your brand.
- Add Geo Specific Content – have more than one location? Consider building out content for each location. Not only will this help with local search optimization efforts but you can bolster the authority for the given topics that you are trying to gain visibility for.
- Create a checklist – this type of content is easy to produce and can be very engaging. Checklists can be of great value to your site visitors. Let’s say for example that you have a travel site. There are a number of checklists that you could produce including “Things to do on the way to the airport” or “10 items to pack when planning for a vacation”.
- Feature an “Ask the Expert” section on your site – think of this as a more detailed version of your FAQ content. One of the frequently asked questions can become a topical page unto itself. Your resident expert can provide a detailed reply to a common issue or question that your audience may have.
- Produce some Research – share whitepapers on research that you have completed. This type of content can be great for lead gen and generate a lot of repeat traffic to your site. While the majority of this content will be in PDF format, you will want to create an HTML landing page to convey some of the key findings.
- Feature an image gallery – a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, not always but having an image gallery makes a lot of sense if you sell a product that users need to study visually before purchasing (think of an automobile, camera, cell phone, article of clothing etc). Add your images to an image sitemap and submit to Google to help you get better visibility in Google’s image search by allowing the Engines to more readily access your image content.
- Conduct a monthly Webcast – you could use Google+ and create regular Hangouts. Here you can conduct a conversation with your audience. You could discuss new product features or discuss upcoming events. You could even use this to reply to FAQs. Once your Hangout On Air is over, it’s easy to keep the conversation going. The recording will be publicly available on Google+ and on your YouTube channel ready to be shared.
- Take some of your offline marketing material and turn it into online content – if your offline messaging is different than what you are doing online, you might want to transfer this into some good old HTML.
- Create a glossary of terms– educational content is always of use. Just make sure that your glossary features content that is unique and not simply copied from some other web property that has existed for a decade.
- Showcase your latest efforts or company awards – just do not be too obnoxious with this. Sharing your accolades can help build trust with site visitors, especially if they are first time visitors to your site.
- Create self-serve content – almost like an enhanced FAQ section work on creating self serve content for your audience so that they can find the information easier and quicker.
- Enhance your “team” content – most organizations have a page or pages that feature their executive or management team. Why not be creative with this and have each team member submit their top 5 favorite websites, their top 10 songs or top 5 books? This can be highly engaging content. At a previous employer, we used to share everyone’s Top 10 Songs lists. Clients thought that this was great and always commented on this. Not only could they put a face to their agency but they learned a little about the people they were working with.
- Interview a Colleague – people identify with people so why not share some insight into people at your organization? The one issue here is that should these people leave your organization, this content may have to come down.
- Leverage your YouTube Channel – many organizations throw all of their video content on their YouTube channel. Well that is great for your YouTube traffic but it may not translate into traffic to your actual web property. Why not feature some of your video content on your own website? Add it to a key landing page or maybe to an older article. Video can help re-engage your audience.
- Create a Knowledge Center – where you can add articles, white papers, checklists, and any other resources that your users find to be of value. This type of content can provide fresh and timely content for your audience and can be a great way to enhance topical themes on your website.
- Enhance your search results pages – while most of the time search results provide a dynamic page or URL, there are CMS systems that can produce a “static” appearing URL for search results pages. This is a prime opportunity to enhance the content on these search results pages. So rather than just showing the current inventory based on that search query, why not add some copy to the top of the search results page to reassure the user that you have what they are looking for. Let’s say that you sell automobiles or parts. Your site is most likely structured with a category-sub-category structure. When a user searchers for “John Deere tractor parts”, the search results page could be populated with some commentary stating that your site “… features a great selection of John Deere tractor parts from axles and headlights to tires and hitches…” Something that can be a little generic but gives the user an idea that you have inventory of the item(s) that they are looking for. All of a sudden instead of a plain old listings page you know have some copy that helps build trust and engagement with the visitor.
- In-Depth Articles – in addition to your regular articles, why not deploy articles that are longer than your typical articles to present a greater level of information for your audience? Google has begun to show in-depth articles within their search results. While based on algorithmic search, there are measures that you can take to help your articles appear in the in-depth article results. For example, be sure to leverage schema article markup and authorship markup. Use proper pagination and use organization markup to specify your logo. More information can be found here.
- Add User Guides – people love “how-to” information so no matter what your product or service is, there is always an opportunity to instruct people on how to use it. See item #41 for more.
- Create Seasonal Articles – each and every month there are numerous “awareness” campaigns. For example, in March it is National Nutrition Month and Sleep Awareness Month. If you are in a related industry, you could feature a post each year to discuss some of the latest stats or initiatives that are going on specific to that type of awareness. Here is a list of some health related awareness topics by month.
- Create a “Customer of the Month” page – almost a bit like a “glorified” testimonial, consider sharing positive stories about your “customer or client of the month”.
- Produce an industry “State of the Union” post/article – discuss the current state of the industry and what or how your brand is looking to remain competitive as an industry leader. Of course you do not want to share any “trade secrets” but you can communicate your brand’s position with regards to latest developments in the industry and how your organization is dealing with these events.
- Build out your Features/Benefits Content – provide additional feature and benefit information for your products and services that will be of use to your website visitors.
- Reproduce portions of PDF Content in HTML – if your site features a lot of PDF material, you may want to consider re-purposing this content and placing it into static HTML pages for your users. This will also help with the search engines in the crawling, indexing, and ranking of this content.
- Prepare Content for Social Consumption – this means creating content for social avenues whether that be 140 character tweet on Twitter, a couple of images on Instagram or Interest or a dedicated article on LinkedIn. As part of your content strategy you should have a strategy for the content that you want to communicate socially.
So now you have 55 content ideas that you can incorporate into your content strategy. What’s next? Well, you have to revisit your content strategy of course. What makes sense for you and what doesn’t? In addition, it never hurts to reference things to keep in mind when writing content for the Web. We are in an information-driven world and as a result, it is not about whether you need to “do” content marketing; it’s more of a “what’s next with content marketing” and how do we provide the right content to our audience?
Your content strategy means that you need to understand your audience; you need to be the go-to resource for your audience and you need to provide some element of uniqueness. Producing new content that provides value to your audience will help you build those relationships and help you position your brand as a leader in the digital space.