Social content was big hairy news at this year’s Brighton SEO. A sparkling variety of speakers gave us some pretty incredible talks, and they pretty much all said the focus of content has shifted in the last year. So I’ve condensed down all this swanky know-how into three bite size chunks for ya. You’re welcome.
The fact is organic social reach is declining, and more and more content is being shoved into the faces of our audiences all the time. Audiences are becoming savvier, more pissed-off with mediocre content and generally less click-trippy. What does this mean for us? If you want to up your content game, here's three things to consider..
1. PAID IS GOOD. SO IS GREED.
Stacey Cavanagh / Kristal Ireland
How the freak do you get buy-in for your content? Even brilliance can go unnoticed, so mediocre content definitely won’t get a whiff. Stacey Cavanagh (@staceycav Head of Search at Tecmark) started the day off by reminding us that knowing our audience is everything, but we can’t expect our content to just grab the attention of people because it’s relevant. A bit like over-the-hill divorced bankers, we have to pay for it now.
Stacey suggested a more press-focused process. To get your content off the ground by contacting journalists and influencers (she recommends Cision for finding key people) BEFORE you write. For your titles, base headings on key search terms. A good way to find these is to use the Adwords Keywords Tool (Jon says he prefers Google Trends or SEMrush) and don’t be afraid to use PPC to get your stuff noticed. Later in the day, the absolutely brilliant Kristal Ireland (@kristalsmile Head of Social Media at Twentysix) mentioned how important it is to sell your content. Think like an advertiser, and sell, sell, sell. It’s kind of sad times, but both speakers believed that paid is good. Kristal in particular suggested telling clients to expect low social reach, and always push for paid campaigns. Greed is good, m’kay?
2. LET'S LINK, CAUSE WE CLICK.
Forget what you know about clicks. Christoph Cemper gave one of the most memorable and controversial talks of the morning. Head of LinkResearchTools, Cemper made a strong case against using engagement as a measure for your contents success. In other words, just because stuff is being shared and commented on, doesn’t mean it’s any good. If Twitter bots are re-tweeting everything, engagement is a weak signal. Instead, Cemper said use links as a guide. We should be aiming for downloads or shares rather than simply clicks. But basically links are best, and they take work. But links don’t go away, and Buzz does. Cemper basically said to aim for content that lasts, it’s worth much more than something that creates an instant buzz. See his slides for more on this. Look at that, I’m already linking back to this guy!
3. BE A HUMAN. KEEP IT REAL
Charlie Williams / Kristal Ireland
And I leave you with this video:
Charlie Williams from PageSauce gave a frankly lovely talk on how we can adapt content to better suit our audience, and his views definitely tied in with Kristal Ireland’s views on making our writing as human as possible. By putting the audience first, and building content around search terms, we make our content much more agile. Williams told some hilarious stories from when he worked for a cross-channel ferry company, and the desperation he felt when searching for new search terms. What’s the solution? Make your content helpful, useful and forget what you think you know about your audience. Find the questions that your audience are searching for when they Google, and use those searches to help you form content that answers their questions. Use tools like Buzzsumo, Topsy and Ahrefs to help you measure yourself against competitor content, and look for gaps. Fill those gaps with what's missing! Ireland also said very similar things in her talk, in that content fatigue has set in, and so we must make sure our content is human. Keeping your content as human as you can is the way to win!
Happy contenting people!