An Introduction to Blackboard Monday
As a digital marketing agency with years of experience, at Michael Bell One we truly appreciate the how powerful knowledge and experience can be. We have used our experience of web design, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), digital marketing and brand solutions, to boost the presence of numerous clients across the South East. This has included a wide array of internet focussed advertising efforts such as creating and carrying out successful email campaigns, building websites and providing numerous SEO services. For those who know SEO, they’ll know who Moz are, and to those who don’t know, they are the kings of SEO, a title well earned from their many studies and predictions proving to hold truth. They provide everyone, from the amateur enthusiast to large teams of SEO consultants working in large corporations, with the knowledge they need to do their jobs well. Being as appreciative as we are of the power of knowledge, and with Moz and their gift of bringing knowledge to the masses in mind, we bring you Blackboard Monday (with our tongues firmly in cheek). The aim of Blackboard Monday is to inform you about the goings on of an award winning web design agency based in Lewes, East Sussex, and keep you in the loop about how the industry of digital marketing keeps evolving, and how we bring success to our clients.
Content is King of the SEO Kingdom
It might seem ironic to write about the importance of writing, but it has been proven time and time again that ‘content is king’. Much of the research done into how Google ranks a website keeps pointing to how content is a ranking factor, as shown in the result of page crawls, and metrics that details user experience amongst other factors. Having great content that keeps a visitor engaged and on your website keeps bounce rates and exit rates at an acceptable level, which has been known to be a metric that Google tracks for some time. Having good quality content won’t just keep someone on a page, if you provide content that is worth reading, then you’re more likely to gain a repeat visitor to your site, and ideally that visitor will investigate your site further than the landing page, eventually that click that brought that visitor to your site will turn them into your client.
Set a Clear Target for Your Content
In creating content for consumption by your audience, you need to have a clear idea of what you want your content to achieve, and this is true of all content, including infographics and images, videos, websites, use of social media and more. It is good practice to ensure that your idea for what your content will be is set in stone before you begin creating it, to give you a clear idea of why you are creating this content, and what you hope the results to be. To put it simply, if you’re a florist and you want to sell more sunflowers, it makes sense that the goal of your content is to sell more sunflowers, and you would do this by creating content that gets people excited about sunflowers. The same ideology would be used if you wanted a visitor to sign up to your sunflower mailing list. You want to engage with your potential client so that they’ll want to follow your call to action. Once you have a clear target in mind you want to start a plan for how you’re going to achieve this goal. During this process you want to keep relating your plan to your goal to make sure that the two are always complimentary to each other. To use our florist as an example again, if you write an article about how amazing trees are, you probably won’t see too much Return on Investment (ROI) for sunflower sales.
Don’t Be Afraid To Cite Examples
If you’ve ever been in an argument with someone and used the modern day argument settling device (also known as the smart phone), you’ll understand that information is powerful. Being able to prove to your beloved but wholly wrong friend what year Star Wars came out using Wikipedia, will time and time again be more valuable than just your say so. The same is true when trying to convey an idea in an article, blog or news feature. To use our florist as an example, in the theoretical article “Why Sunflowers Are So Amazing” it wouldn’t hurt to give some examples of where Sunflowers are being used if articles have already been written that give weight to the point you are making. For instance if a florist is based in Lewes in East Sussex, it would make sense to use a link to local sites such as the Kent and Sussex Courier or the Crowborough Life website, to show examples of how their flowers look in the community. This can have a benefit to your overall SEO campaign, as linking to other websites can act as a method of outreach, but it’s important to be aware that from a technical SEO view, outbound links that are implemented incorrectly can have a negative effect on your sites SEO.
Target Your Content to Your Audience
It’s vital to know who your target audience for your content will be, and who you are targeting will need to relate to your goal. This will require some research. Knowing what content is already out there and using your findings to produce something that is engaging and relevant will help your content better achieve its goal. If your target audience responds best to infographics, blog posts or even video, then it might be worth using those formats to get your content out there, however don’t be afraid to use a content delivery method that differs from what is already being used. Just because the method you choose isn’t the current favourite for content delivery, doesn’t mean that it won’t give you a good ROI. By the same token, mixing content types has its benefits, and from an SEO standpoint research has shown that a page that contains both engaging relevant content, used in conjunction with attention grabbing images and infographics, will score well on Google. Having mixed content like this has the added benefit of keeping the user engaged and spending more time on your site, which in turn will maintain a low bounce rate.
Whilst the following can be considered a stylistic choice for writing, addressing the reader of your content is far more engaging than speaking broadly or in a newscaster style where you purely disseminate information. If someone has chosen to read your latest blog article, then they most likely already have a vested interest in the subject matter, or at the very least want to learn more about it. Address them directly, and keep them in mind throughout your article. We all respond better when we feel that something is meant for us, rather than everyone else.
Write with Abandon and Redraft
Hemmingway has long been misquoted as saying “write drunk, edit sober” (the quote itself was paraphrased from Peter De Vries 1964 novel “Reuben, Reuben”), and whilst this isn’t intended to encourage alcoholism as a way of creating great content, the theory still holds truth. Write your first draft with some abandon of your inhibitions. Write as if your first draft will be the greatest thing that you will ever create, a masterpiece to be heralded for all time. Then take a break, walk away from your work and return with a slightly more sensible head on your shoulders, and accept that what you have written might not exactly be what needs to be shared with your target audience. Editing is a vital step in content creation, and one that some content creators don’t give enough time to. This is a good chance to iron out the creases and remove that obscure Star Wars reference that you thought was kitsch mere moments ago. If you have the means to have someone else give you feedback, all the better. It’s also an opportunity to remember that your content has a purpose and you have a target that you need to achieve. Your content has an SEO focus that is meant to draw your prospective clients in, engage them, and draw them in to your call to action, whether that is getting the user to make an enquiry about your service, sign up to a mailing list or purchase your product.
Prepare For Success and SEO Spoils
Before publishing your content it’s important to be certain that you have achieved what you originally set out to achieve, a nice simple checklist for any good content creation should include the following:
- Does this content get my point across clearly?
- Is my content engaging (will people want to read it)?
- Is my format well laid out (consider images, paragraph structure, headings etc)?
- Will this benefit my website and SEO as a whole?
- Do I have a clear call to action?
- Am I ready to publish my content?
Once you are sure that you have completed these key areas it’s time to publish your content and hopefully see a great return on your investment, both of your time, and for the investment made by your company or client.
At Michael Bell One we have years of experience in digital marketing, whether we’re tasked with designing a brand new website or bringing an SEO campaign to fruition through content re-writes and regular fresh content for a blogs, news pages or newsletters. If you want to find out more about how you can benefit from our award winning digital marketing services, get in touch with us by calling Jake Judd or David Park on 01273 478822, complete our online contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re based in Lewes, East Sussex and have offices in Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent, meaning we are well positioned to help you with your web design, SEO or branding project, no matter where in the South East you are based.