I have a beehive in my garden shed. Hundreds of honeybees zoom in and out of a crack in the floorboards all day long, frantically collecting nectar and bringing it back to the hive.
Sadly, instead of producing a beautiful honeycomb of golden deliciousness, the end result of their hard work is something that can't ever be enjoyed. The honey is tainted from azalea and oleander nectar, which results in toxic, inedible honey.
In a way, this reminds me of many people's blogging and content marketing efforts. They put in great effort to write and publish content, only to have it stagnate.
What makes content MOST LIKELY to stagnate? Lack of SEO and social sharing.
If you are writing a blog post or an article to be placed in an online publication, it makes sense to integrate some basic SEO tactics to improve its visibility and drive traffic. With an hour of extra effort, you'll deliver results your clients (or employer) love and measurable increases in traffic.
My recommendation? Start with basic keyword research. It's a total goldmine of information. Not only does it ensure there is demand for your content (through using more popular search terms), but it shows you the exact word choices, tenses and language your target audience is using. When you match that exact phrasing with your efforts, wonderful things happen.
I have enough to do - why should I bother?
- Keyword research is easier than you think. It's a fantastic way to identify topics to write about, trends, etc - it's like free market research into customer minds.
- Getting the research is not hard, but connecting that research to real results takes finesse and experience. So start with LESS COMPETITIVE terms (Google will give you a score for competitiveness). Ranking well with more popular keywords and phrases is much harder.
- When you connect great content to basic SEO principals, you are automatically ahead of most of the competition.
- Integrating key digital PR tactics are critical for your business: always optimize press releases, online bylines & guest posts. Even use keyword research to drive the content. You'll be amazed at how this can boost traffic and help you target your readership... and win business from agencies NOT doing it.
- Use the newly revised Google Keyword Planner tool for keyword research. Create a free account, then invest an hour learning to use it. It's not hard and it DOES make a difference.
- A keyword tool is only as good as what you ask it. Make sure your query is more targeted than broad for better results. Localize when appropriate. Put in a BUNCH of stuff that you think your target audience might be searching, then pan through the goldmine of rich results for some great terms to focus on.
- It takes practice to learn the finer nuances of SEO and keyword selection, but EVERYONE STARTS SOMEWHERE. So take time to learn about long tail keywords and how they can help you. It's the perfect starting point. http://ow.ly/jYAGD (What is a long tail keyword, you ask? Choosing a less competitive term that is still highly targeted and specific. The traffic may be less, but you can be successful faster because there is less competition for the term. It's a GREAT place to get your feet wet. )
Even though it takes practice, you have to jump in and get started to ever get anywhere - so go ahead! What are you waiting for?
image: rock star/shutterstock