As a community of content marketers we often talk about generating engagement and connecting with our audience on a human level.
On the other size of the coin, we’re even more challenged to create content that is found in search, generates traffic, leads, and conversions.
These goals will be hard to achieve if your content isn’t optimized for your audience.
Here are some signs that your content isn’t optimized:
- Not addressing your readers’ pain points a.k.a not listening to your audience
- Disregarding the readability of your content
- Only publishing stats without context or references
- Making your content hard to find
- Failing to relate to your readers on a more personal level
- Ignoring the practices to build your community
Getting into the minds of your audience is the first step to optimizing your own content. Creating content with them in mind ensures that the information you’re sharing resonates with your audience right from the beginning of your writing process.
To help you fix your content strategy this we’ll be sharing insights into:
- How you as a professional content marketer can work to build your audience and reputation
- How your content should be structured for SEO and readability and search
- How you can use social media to optimize your content
Writing with your audience in mind
Often we get so caught up in promoting the product. As marketers we’d love the process of selling and buying to be like the good ol’ days, where marketers told the public what they should buy. The public trusted and believed in the life that was being sold to them and would buy without much conversation. It was a very systematic process.
Nowadays that isn’t the case. We no longer want to be sold to, but instead crave a real human connection with our customers. Try these tips to help you get in the right selling mindset:
Create content that solves your reader’s pain points
Ask yourself these 6 questions when looking for topics to write about:
- Will this content add value?
- Will this content solve a problem?
- How will I entertain my reader to keep them engaged?
- How will I react to reading this content? / How do I think they’ll react to this content?
- What makes this content unique?
- Am I showing my expertise?
Be consistent in when and / or what you publish
When you’re running late for a meeting, or miss a deadline, what happens? You end up being disappointed in yourself and are unsettled. Take this real-world example and apply it to your content.
Your readers love seeing the content you publish, and might expect to see your email or your new blog post up at that time and day. When you don’t deliver, you’re hurting your online reputation.
Answer these 3 questions when you’re coming up with your content schedule:
- How often can I publish a new blog post?
- How long should these pieces be if I want them to be high quality and search rank-worthy?
- Do I have time to share, promote, and interact with my community once this post is live?
The importance of your reputation as a writer
There are two ways your reputation as a writer is important for content optimization.
1. Community Building
As a writer you want to be an expert, authority, and trustworthy (E.A.T) in the face of your audience and potential customers.
Your reputation as a writer is also important to your content’s optimization. If you’re on Twitter chats, or scrolling through the latest business articles on Forbes, you’ll notice familiar faces. We easily trust the content that we’re reading from these authors because they’re on a reputable site or engaging with the community and providing valuable feedback.
2. Search Results
The more quality content and traction the author generates from guest blogging on authoritative publishers, the more their content will be found in search. Google sees that they’re a credible and reliable source of information if they blog for high ranking sites like MOZ.
Guest posting continues to be a great way to generate conversation and to build your network. Even if you don’t have tons of knowledge on the topics that a publication publishes.
Work closely with the editor, ask questions, and fact check your statements. You’ll be learning and building relationships along the way.
Structuring your content for increased readability
How easy is it to read your content?
Try blurring your eyes and scan your document, if you see large blocks of text, you are reducing the readability of your article.
To optimize your content for readability consider the following tips to style your content.
1. Keep the length of your sentence short.
If you have a ‘because’ in the middle of your sentence, think about breaking that up into 2 sentences.
If you’re using an excessive amount of ‘and’ within a sentence, try substituting the word for another word that helps transition the thought. Phrases like ‘to’, ‘which became’, ‘resulting in’, connects the topic of your sentence to your supporting statement and answers the so what.
2. Keep your paragraphs between 1 - 4 paragraphs long.
Having whitespace is super important if your audience is reading on mobile. When you provide more breathing room for your reader, you are allowing them to absorb the content at their own pace.
3. Keep the length of your article at the recommended word count for your audience.
There are so many blog posts that tell you how long your content is suppose to be. The challenge is balancing between what what your audience prefers (which should be your goals), and what Google labels as high-quality content.
Google ranks longer articles higher. High quality articles are now around 2000 - 3000 words or more. If you are aiming to write to this standard, ensure that the topics you address still provide tons of value to your readers and not fluff.
Creating an outline for lengthier posts makes writing much easier, since you will have the image, links, and sub topics already laid out for you.
If you don’t have the resources to produce this kind of content, then write the proper amount for your audience using Atomic Reach!
3.5 Is your content optimized for mobile?
The other side of the Google ranking conversation goes towards mobile. If your audience mainly reads your content on their phones, shorter content is preferred. Just think about how long you like to spend reading off your phone.
4. Add helpful links to your article
Adding links for links sake could potentially get you penalized by Google. Add links that have helped you write your article. Chances are that your audience will find them useful too.
Credit the information and stats that you find. This adds credibility to your statements and helps traffic flow between you and the site you’re linking to.
Ensure that the links in your content load quickly. These are high quality links, which means that the page will load in less than 2 seconds
Your links should encourage your audience to read, share, and learn.
5. Include key keywords that naturally fit in your content.
Quality Long-tail keywords are the phrases that your audience can be seen searching for in Google (or for other search engines you are optimizing your article for).
Try searching for a phrase or question your customer might type in search.
Consider what words and phrases would they be searching if they were looking for your products.
Use the list of words that pops up in the search drop down.
Give these tools a try to make this process more efficient and accurate:
- Google’s Keyword Planner: Shows you which words people are searching for the most, and what words are the most popular.
- Ubersuggest: Shows you words that are not available in Google Keyword Planner
- SEMrush: helps you see the keywords your competitors are using
- Forums like Inbound.org, will help you track trends and identify what questions people are always asking.
- Writer: Gives you a personalized list of keywords to include within your content so you don’t have to guess if this word works for your brand specifically.
The key is to create content that is optimized for your audience and therefore search. Optimization should make your content easier to find and read.
6. Add some style to your content.
Most readers will scroll to the bottom of the article right after they read the first couple of lines to see how long your article is.
If you include a title, headers, sub-headings, bullet points/numbered lists, bolded, linked, and italicized text you’re adding dynamics to the look of your content. Headers especially work well in for Google.
Include images, videos, graphs, and gifs that help support the text in your content. With various forms of media in your content, your audience is able to understand information a lot easier, watch instead of read, and be entertained at the same time...which brings up to our last topic.
Being Socially Engaged
Content optimized for your audience can be seen in social proof.
The best content has lots of comments, shares, likes, and overall engagement. If you’re able to see your content’s analytics, then traffic generation is also a great sign of optimized content.
Think about the blogs that you’ve read, have you found yourself nodding to some of the comments you’ve read.
If you’re agreeing or responding to someone’s comment or shares this is a great signal that this site is really good at user-interactions, providing quality content, or has a writer that knows how to converse with your audience/is an influencer. Seeing this kind of traffic is a great opportunity to see the human side of your content.
In this article…
You learned to spot the signs of content that is not optimized, and how to start fixing your content strategy.
In a nutshell, build your audience, listen, search, ask, produce, and listen some more- that is how you optimize your content.
If you’re still lost or strapped for time, get an Atomic Audit Report. You’ll learn what you’re doing well, and where you need to improve. We analyze all linguistic aspects of your communications to check how effective it is. Each report is tailored to your specific communication needs and goals. What this video to learn more!
What did you learn from reading this article, what topic would you like us to do an even deeper-dive on? Tell us in the comments below and share this article!