As far back as 1996, no less an authority than Bill Gates stated in an article on Microsoft’s website that “Content is King”. For all that “content” has become something of a buzzword in the present day, it’s been a big deal for much longer than the blink of an eye. And if you cast an eye over the digital marketing sphere in 2022, you’ll see that the importance of content has only grown in the 26 years since Gates wrote those words.
This is something that presents challenges for site owners and publishers. It’s undeniably important to provide content that meets the required standards both in terms of quality and quantity. In a world where there are a lot of people trying to do exactly that, it is however not a straightforward undertaking. You’ve got to produce content that is SEO-friendly enough to please the algorithms, while also being coherent enough to read. In among all of that, it also needs to be appreciably different from what’s being produced by other creators.
Creating useful content is perhaps tougher now than it has ever been before. It’s also probably more important than ever before, which leaves us in a tricky bind. It’s essential to know what you’re doing with content, which means following the advice below.
Research your keywords regularly
One of the essential aspects of online content is that it must be relevant. Google alone carries out upwards of 5 billion searches a day, meaning that there’s always new search traffic out there ready to be caught. Consequently, your content needs to be freshened regularly. It’s OK to have legacy static pages on your sites that are full of information, but you’re also going to need frequent updates, new pages, original and salient articles which are concerned with hot-button issues.
Using keyword research software is undeniably a major part of any content strategy. As you seek to produce rich, relevant content to attract new readers, it falls to you to find out what those key search terms are that will bring new readers to your site. You need to do this while staying mission-focused. What this means is trying to find keywords that bring your areas of expertise together with current affairs; for example, ones which tie your niche to topics such as climate change.
Quality is essential, but so is quantity
If you want to produce a lot of up-to-date content, then you will need to pay for it. And you may find that it’s tough to square the circle of paying good writers to produce volumes of content, while also making a profit from monetizing your site. It’s a tough balance to maintain, and sometimes the best way to achieve it is to compromise. As well as using expert writers to create some content, entrusting some of the bulk tasks to an AI writer can allow you to pull it off in a way which doesn’t sacrifice quality. Quality and quantity are both important, so don’t waste time trying to decide which matters more.
The importance of quantity, together with the value of relevant content, make it essential to have a blog on your site. Let’s take as an example the events of late winter 2020, when the reality of the Covid pandemic started to become clear to everyone. To create static content about the subject would have been tough for most of us, as static content needs to be more in-depth than other forms. However, a blog post with some initial thoughts and updates on how the pandemic would affect your service, and some reassurance to customers, would have landed pretty well.
Avoid opinion, unless opinion is what your business is about
We all have opinions, and we all view the everyday from behind the filter of our biases. That’s not to criticize anyone; as a human being, you have emotional reactions to things, and that’s all a bias is. What we do need to be careful of is bringing our bias to the content we host on our sites. Your preferences, whether they be to do with sports, politics, celebrity or any other topic, are your own – and they may be very interesting to you, your friends and family, and even your followers on social media. To as much as 50% of your target audience, though, they could well be alienating and unnecessary.
The one caveat to this is if your brand is clearly and unapologetically partisan. You can bring bias and opinion to a blog or site about a particular sports team, or a specific kind of music or similar. Indeed, it will probably be expected. Even then, though, it should shy away from being inflammatory. “Team X are better than Team Y” is innocent enough. “Team Y and their fans are bad people and do bad things” is not, and risks harming the authority of your site and how seriously people take it. If you intend to make money from it, this can be harmful.
Know how to monetize your content effectively
The first and most important part of monetising content is to have content worth monetizing. The second part is also pretty important – you have to know how to monetize it. It’s fine to have excellent content that never converts, if your site is an academic resource designed for research. If it’s there for the purposes of marketing, then there is no point having great content that you can’t convert.
So how do you monetize it? There’s a long list of ways. You can get on the affiliate marketing pathway and create passionate content that makes people desperate to buy from your affiliates. You can take the excellent written content you’ve already assembled, and use it as the launchpad for an ebook about the niche you’re writing on. If the content is good enough that you think people might want to pay for it, you can start a Patreon or a Substack. And that’s before you even get to the possibility of selling advertising space on your site, which is the primary way of making money from it.
You’ll probably know instinctively which of these methods of monetization works best for you, so it is then a matter of creating content that is in keeping with your chosen method or methods. If you’re skilled at developing an argument, then an ebook will be an easier sell. If you write snappy, engaging content that gets to the point fast, then affiliating is going to work for you. If you’re a versatile writer who can change it up, then it allows you to pick more than one option.
Content is king, so content is hard
There are ways that content can be made easier, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that this means it can be made easy. Good, effective content is like money – there’s no short-cut to making it. Just as there are no real get-rich quick schemes, there is no “set it and forget it” approach to effective content. If there were, then everyone would be using them and everyone’s content would be making them huge stacks of cash. So you will need to put the work in – don’t believe anyone who says it can be hacked.
That shouldn’t be bad news to you, it just means that content marketing is a meritocracy. If your content is good enough, and you’re good enough at monetizing it, then you’ll have a winning strategy – and the work you put in to achieve it won’t be devalued by dozens of other marketers phoning it in.