When it comes to content, more is better, right? The more articles, blog posts, videos, and infographics you produce, the more stuff you have to draw folks into your tribe.
At least, that's the way it seems like it should work.
In reality, what happens is that a lot of content marketers get burnt out. They spend so much time and effort generating material that they're left with little energy to do anything else. Even worse, they find that the stuff they're producing is failing to generate results for their businesses.
So, what's the problem? Why isn't content marketing working the way it's supposed to work?
The answer is simplicity itself. It's found in the way we consume content. It's found in the way we value the stuff we read, watch, and engage with. As content consumers, we crave quality over quantity. So, it's worth asking ourselves as producers, which side are we truly focused on?
A Look At The Past: When More Was Better
Once upon a time, when the (SEO) world was young, you could achieve greatness – or at least, high rankings and juicy profits – by pummeling the search engines with content. Back then, “the more content, the better” was a truism. It was the credo of search optimizers around the world. It didn't need to be good. There just needed to be a lot of it.
It wasn't just the lone SEO gunslinger hiring dozens of freelancers to write articles and blog posts for pennies. Large sites like eHow.com and Encyclopedia.com rode the gravy train, too. In fact, that's one of the ways eHow became so big in the first place.
Each keyword got its own article. And when Chris Anderson introduced the idea of the “long tail” in a piece for Wired Magazine in 2004, things really got out of hand. Folks started creating articles focused on keyword phrases like “best discount golf clubs in Orlando.”
At some point, things changed. Google finally flipped the switch, and the low-quality mish-mash began to disappear from its index. The game is a lot different today. If you want to make a splash with your content, it's not enough to create a bunch of it. You need to create quality material, stuff that people will remember and tell their friends about.
In other words, it's time to…
Go Big Or Go Home
The type of content we're talking about is large in scope and ultimately useful to the reader. It may be in the form of a how-to guide. A good example can be is seen with Distilled's link bait guide. Written a few years ago by an intern, it continues to dominate Google for the popular term “link bait.” It's big, useful, and comes with worksheets and lots of other goodies. It's no surprise that it has generated thousands of links.
Your content can (and should) also be interactive. The Monterey Bay Aquarium put together an outstanding map on its site that allows folks to choose a seafood guide based on where they live in the U.S. It's no coincidence that the Aquarium now commands the top two spots in Google for “seafood guide.”
Your content can be data heavy. This was the original idea behind infographics. Put a lot of numbers into a visually appealing format and watch readers go crazy with delight. It's also the approach OkCupid used with great success on its blog. It worked extremely well. Back in December, Forbes profiled how the blog was a major key to OkCupid's growth.
The great thing about creating this type of content is that you don't need to wear yourself out in the process. You don't have to come up with something stunning each day. In fact, take a look at OkCupid's blog (the blog was shut down after the company was acquired). You'll notice one post per month. Sometimes, two months would pass before the writers got around to posting. But when a new blog post went up, everyone would read it. And lots of folks would link to it.
That's the kind of content you want to create.
Blow Your Audience Away
Start thinking of ways to produce content that outshines anything else available in your niche. That might mean giving away for free what your competitors would never dream of giving away.
It could mean investing hundreds of dollars into building an interactive tool that no one else has thought to provide their market. Then, let folks use it for free.
It may entail putting together a tutorial for your niche to take people through every single step of a given process. For example, suppose someone has written an article or created a short video explaining how to install hardwood floors. Take it five steps further. Create a major tutorial with clear instructions, complete with images, checklists, videos, and materials lists. Then, let people consume it for free.
So, is your content marketing strategy based on quality or quantity? That's how you blow your audience away. The benefits? You'll attract links, publicity, high rankings, and eventually become a star in your niche.
What was the last piece of “big” content you created for your business? How has it changed the way you're perceived by your audience? Do you have plans for another big project that is sure to make waves in your niche? Give us a few details in the comments section!
Christine O’Kelly is the co-founder of Online PR Media, the press release distribution site that supercharges traditional media press releases with multimedia, social media, and search engine optimization. A recognized expert in SEO press release strategy and distribution, Christine teaches marketers, advertisers, and business owners how to gain more online visibility and publicity for their businesses. For a FREE copy of Christine O’Kelly and Tara Geissinger’s e-book, “The Results Driven Press Release Formula,” visit: http://www.onlineprnews.com/how-to-write-a-press-release