Why you need to stop building “Quality Content” and start solving problems

Quality content

A huge amount is written about content, which is all fine and dandy.

But your job is not to produce content.

“Hold on, yes it is. I am a content creator.” You may say.

That may be technically correct and it may be what it says on your Linkedin Page.

But what you really are is a communicator, an influencer, a persuader.

The content is merely a container to carry your thoughts into the mind of the reader and get them to think a certain way or to perform a specific action.

This is very important to understand because it underpins how you create your content and also how you promote it. Before the initial idea you need to think about the person that you want to influence and understand what drives them.

This is why “Everyone”, should not be who you are creating content for and that the more you narrow down your focus the easier it will be to create content that will influence.

For example, lets say we wanted Stephen Fry to tweet our content or even link to it.
Well, Mr Fry has a thing for gadgets and he has a thing for Apple.
But that is not nearly enough, as there are huge amounts of content about gadgets and Apple.
Content needs to be unique to get noticed.
But Mr. Fry has also played Oscar Wilde and has a thirst for interesting literary characters.
So we combine the two.

  • 10 Gadgets Oscar Wilde would love
  • Why Oscar Wilde would be a Mac Man
  • What Oscar Wilde would do with Twitter

Having trouble creating content? Just think of one person you know, and if you don’t know anyone invent a character who represents people in the space you operate in and create content that excites them, that fulfils a need. And that need can simply be a list of cool things to buy that solves a specific problem. You don’t need so called “quality content” or even amazing content, you simply need to solve a specific problem that an individual is having at that moment in time.

To influence and persuade, that is the purpose.

Link to me and see how much I will like you

Links makes likes

I really like it when people link to my websites, it’s different to a retweet or being told your cool by a stranger over email just before they ask you to publish their guest post about a new device that removes hard skin from feet.

A link is the most genuine of recommendations.
A link is powerful stamp of approval, even more so in these times, as fewer people seem to be linking out.

The Google hack, the sticking plaster that is “Penguin” which attempts to fix a failing system has turned a lot of SEO agencies into “penalty removal” agencies, rather than what they should be which is, “cool content” publishing agencies, building brand over multiple platforms.

Blegh, that last sentence was spiky, but sometimes you need to get a bit jargony to communicate effectively to the tribe.

However, (FU Gove*) people in the niche of online marketing tend to go overboard with jargon, terms like “content marketing” miss the target putting the focus on the content rather than the reader. And wanky terms like “inbound marketing”, which I still don’t quite understand seem to permeate like a rank fart in a bean and chile, festival tent, where the extractor fan has broken and someone left a dead meerkat under a chair for a few days.

The first thing I look at when someone is asking a favour for me is, “Do they link to me?”.
I love linking to people I like, like Taylor Swift, although I wouldn’t recognise here music if I heard it she faced down the greedy gits at Apple who wanted to give her album away for free for three months to build THEIR platform.

We don’t have a “Link to your friends day”. But maybe we should.
Maybe everyday should be “Link to your friends day.”
I do bit by linking to people and business on my SEO Services UK page. Make sure you link to those who do good things for you.

Feed your allies, starve your enemies.

* Michael Gave, aka "Twat", has told us we should never start a sentence with a preposition such as "However,". I am not of the "these are the rules for writing English and you shall keep to them on pain of death", group of writers. You will find those who do chastise usually break the rules themselves and the rest have rather arid sex lives.

Image source

Is User Interface Design the New SEO?

If the user interface on your website smells, do you think it will get links?

SEO is never about links, except when it is.

Design is even more important now, which is hard work for me as I am mediocre to terrible at design.

But it can be learned, and designing for a human being is a learned skill.

The SEO as always must adapt.

uxb

Courtesy of: Designmantic.com

What Rand Fishkin Missed out about Good Content

Human Experience

A Thought provoking piece by Rand over at Moz.com, but there is something he left out.

I always like the bear chasing story when educating about content, you have probably heard it but for those who haven’t.

Bear wants to kill two men.
One man quickly puts on his running shoes.
Other man says, “There is no point in putting on your running shoes. You will never outrun a bear.
Other guy says, “I don’t need to out run the bear, I just need to put on my running shoes and outrun you.”

It’s always been that way in SEO, you just have to get in front of the guy that’s in front of you and keep the guy behind you, behind you.

But things are a little different these days.

Actually things are a lot different these days.

There is too much emphasis on producing “killer content”.

Yes, you need to produce the best content than the other guy, but it’s the wrong focus.
You shouldn’t be focussing on building 10x content.

You need to build a brand that is 10x.

10x Content no longer cuts it in this town, baby. Let alone the “good content”, the average agency pumps out into the Universe.

Which is why Rand is wrong, the focus should not be on the content in the first place, the focus should be on, “How the hell do I want people to feel about my brand?”

Content should not be created simply by schleping over to buzzsumo.com and checking out a few search terms. It’s a dimensional shift from a keyword tool mouse click.

This stuff needs to be in your blood.

You need to be 10x passionate about your brand and get others excited about it too.

Of course you need content to get people excited, but that is only the symptom of your raging passion.

You need more than a tool, you need to know more, get up earlier, write more, meet more people, think longer, think harder than the other guy who is by now a high protein snack for the Grizzly bear.

People want to buy their stuff from people who are 10x living it. Who not only solve their problems, but provide insights into the future and a fantastic human experience.

People are hungry for experience.

Presenting a solution to a problem is becoming, megh. So what? Problems have become solvable at the click of a mouse, their value has been reduced.

But the value of the human experience has increased.

One thing I do think Rand Fishkin does very well, is that he has created a magnetic brand that is focused on tasty, human experience, which people find highly attractive. The 10x content Moz.com produces is simply a by product of that space.

But content is not about content.

It’s about the human experience, and how people feel when connecting to your brand.

The most useful thing about the phrase “Content is King”

I love it when people spout off, “Content is King”.

It allows me to know how much brain power they have devoted to the problem of producing content that works to get people to your website and persuade them to feel good about you and your brand.

Anyone with half a brain can see that content is not King, and yet people still use the phrase.

I doubt that Millennials use it much, they know too well the value of content.

The truth is, people are king, not content.

As proved by this chart which I just made.

King

Joking aside, it’s clear that it’s people you need to focus on, simply churning out stuff does not work. Whenever people lay out their case for “Content is King”, they always pick out the best content as an example, but most content being produced right now is going to have viewing figures in the single digits.

It’s only the content that is crafted for people, rather than it’s own existence is ever going to have a positive effect.

Think about the people you want to consume your content and then create the content