In today’s digital marketplaces, most, if not all, businesses recognize the importance of creating content to promote their companies. According to Forbes, 88 percent “of B2B [Business to Business] marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy,” while the same is true for 76 percent “of B2C [Business to Consumer] marketers report using content marketing.” These statistics are from 2016, and have surely risen even further in the last year. The familiar adage “Content is King” seems increasingly apt with each passing day. However, despite the fact that many businesses have realized they need content, many aren’t making the most of theirs. At Concentric Management, our highly qualified team is here to give your content the royal treatment. In the following blog, our Director of Content describes the top six content mistakes most companies are making and explains how we can help you avoid them with our growth-based strategies.
1. Being Short on Content
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it certainly isn’t the essence of SEO, or of outstanding content marketing. For busy business owners untrained in the art of content, writing up a simple 300-word blog may feel much more workable than researching, editing, and writing, an in-depth 1,000-word article. In addition, many mistakenly believe that users only want to read short pieces online. However, in the modern world of content marketing, it is virtually irrefutable that long-form content is the way to go.
First off, we’ll let the numbers do the talking. According to a recent Forbes piece on this topic, “more than 85 percent of content written online contains fewer than 1,000 words. However, consistently, content with 1,000 words or more tends to attract significantly more links and shares.” Furthermore, based on a 2017 study, “researchers calculated a 45 percent difference in length between search entries that appeared within the top 3 rankings, and position 20 entries. Basically, the top-ranking content was significantly longer than its lower-ranking competitors. Search Engine Land’s article, “The SEO and User Science Behind Long-Form Content,” also cites some stunning statistics on this topic: a study involving more than 20,000 keywords” revealed that “the content length of each of the top 10 results was more than 2,000 words.”
Based on this information, Search Engine Land columnist John Lincoln reasons: “That evidence is fairly conclusive. If you want your articles to rank well, consider using long-form content.” As you probably know, your company’s search engine position for pertinent keywords is an important indicator of your business’s promotional success. The higher you rank, the more prospective customers you will reach with your content, allowing you to expand your enterprise. The way to attain this goal is simply to create longer pieces.
Lincoln goes into even greater detail on exactly why SEO performance and length are so inextricably connected. He notes: “Pandu Nayak, technical staff member at Google and creator of the Panda [search engine ranking] algorithm update” explained that “research suggests that up to 10 percent of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic” which is why Google “[introduced] new search engine results to help users find in-depth articles.” So, straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth: length is key. Lincoln adds that “long-form content garners more backlinks, on average,” further boosting SEO rankings. Furthermore, longer content “can increase conversion rates,” according to a study conducted by HighRise marketing, which “saw an increase in conversion rate of more than 37 percent” for long-form content compare to a short-form page.
Fundamentally, users want to read well-crafted long-form content. In-depth articles help your company become “viewed as an ‘authority’” in your field, generate more opportunities for backlinks, prompt users to share your pieces more often, and enhance your SEO. If “Content is King,” then long-form content is the Emperor of SEO. While we cater to all content categories, Concentric Management’s team specializes in long-form pieces that provide true growth opportunities for our clients.
2. There Speling and Grammar
Chances are, that header made you cringe. Even if you don’t spend time writing and fine-tuning English tests (like I do, when I’m not assisting Concentric Management clients), you have an instinctive response to spelling and grammatical issues. In some cases, you may not even be totally aware of what is wrong with a sentence or phrase, just that it feels incorrect.
On a business website, this not-quite-right feeling can seriously impact conversions. According to a study reported on by Real Business, “74 percent” of respondents said “they tended to notice the quality of spelling or grammar on a company’s website” and “59 percent” said “bad grammar or obvious spelling errors would stop them from buying from the website.” In many cases, the material you publish online about your products, services, and brand are the first and only impression you get to make on your potential customers. Glaring spelling and grammatical errors can make your company seem lazy, untrustworthy, and incompetent.
At Concentric Management, our content team can whip prepositional phrases into shape, correct comma splices from a mile away, and streamline snarled syntax. Let us worry about the spelling and grammar of your content so you can maintain a professional image online and boom your business.
3. Making Unwise Claims
“Miracle supplement guaranteed to make you lose 20 pounds in a month!” “Expert legal counsel will ensure that you don’t pay that ticket!” “Your conversion rates will double with this business technology tool!” We’ve all seen these types of ambitious assertions on websites and landing pages.
In addition to being clichéd and eye-roll-worthy for any decently savvy consumer, making these sorts of unwise claims could put your business in seriously hot water. Especially once they’re up on the Internet, words are forever. It becomes quite easy for consumers to prove that you’ve broken your word when they don’t lose twenty pounds in a month, get out of paying that ticket, or double their conversion rates. They can take these complaints to Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, or social media, damaging your company’s reputation. You could even get sued for this type of ill-advised content, particularly if your business is in a medical or legal industry.
At Concentric Management, we know how to protect your company from these risks while creating high-quality content that truly builds your business. With our team at your side, you won’t need to rely on sensational headlines or outrageous declarations.
4. Not Offering Value
In the midst of trying to write long enough pieces, avoid spelling mistakes, rank in search engines, and avoid unwise claims, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of content: providing real value to your readers. Content marketing is effective because it offers a fresh perspective, interesting tips, useful advice, or entertainment to your current and prospective customers. In short, it is worthwhile for them to spend time reading it. Creating this sort of high-caliber content engenders loyalty, interest, and respect, encouraging readers to make purchases from your business.
As Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers points out, value is one of the key driving forces behind long-form content’s power: “it just so happens that longer content naturally tends to include more facts (when it’s well-written) and information.” Unfortunately, the majority of online pieces aren’t long enough, nor do they offer sufficient value to readers. Inc. magazine similarly notes: “the word gets thrown around a lot, but ‘value’ is something that’s missing from most content that gets published online…the gist of it is this: your content either needs to say something new, or it needs to be new to your audience.” Inc. cites a recent study that revealed “over 50 percent of blog posts get 2 or fewer Facebook interactions, and over 75 percent get zero external links,” suggesting that “there’s a whole lot of content getting posted that no one is reading, liking, or linking to.” This is symptomatic of a lack of value, of “just [publishing] content for the sake of publishing content.” If you’re not considering your audience and actually reaching them, you’re basically blogging into the void, as far as your business is concerned.
Concentric Management’s experienced content team understands how to deliver real value to your readers. Rather than fretting over it yourself, let us do the research on what your consumers want to know and find a compelling way to communicate it.
5. Lackluster Linking
SEO algorithms, like the core of the Internet itself, are built on networks. One reason to publish content is to strengthen your own search engine standing by showing that you know which web pages your readers find useful. Most content pieces should have at least one internal link (to a page on your own website, helping to strengthen it and demonstrating that your content is intrinsically interconnected) and one external link (to a credible, high-ranking source the search engines already respect). Ideally, these links will be embedded in important key words for your company.
There are two primary ways companies fail at linking in their content:
- Simply not doing it. This squanders valuable link building and strategic SEO opportunities. In addition, it robs your readers of valuable information they could be accessing via your links.
- Linking irresponsibly. Packing your blog post with 20 links to your own site will make it difficult to read and could potentially penalize your SEO rankings. In addition, you must be very careful to link to legitimate, high-ranking web pages and sources (think National Geographic rather than “Dave’s Blog About Nature and Stuff”), both because this will enhance your SEO an because it will benefit your readers. Finally, you must be careful not to link to direct competitors’ pages, as this will only serve to strengthen their SEO and potentially drive your customers to them.
If you’re making either of these mistakes, Concentric Management’s content experts can assist you in implementing intelligent linking strategies.
6. “DIY” (Do It Yourself) Content
You may be able to sew a great DIY shirt or build a wonderful DIY desk, but you should leave your content to professionals. Writing online content is a specialized skill that requires technical training and artistic acumen. You probably wouldn’t attempt to code your own website from scratch, so why would you try to write your own blog? Business owners and managers often underestimate the level of expertise involved in successful content creation. A relative amateur attempting to do an expert’s job virtually always leads to digital disaster. In fact, of all the mistakes on this list, engaging in DIY content creation is probably the worst one to make, since most of the other errors stem from this one fatal flaw. Hiring a competent content master would prevent all of the above mistakes. Concentric Management is happy to provide a whole team of content professionals so you don’t have to struggle with DIY content when you should be focused on scaling your business.
Have You Been Making These Content Mistakes?
Most likely, you’re guilty of at least one of the above. If so, never fear! Concentric Management is here to solve your content conundrums and apply our advance growth-based business strategies so your company can flourish. Contact us today to find out more about our custom content services and schedule a consultation.