Telling stories, writing content, creating messaging. It all comes back to one very important pillar of your business’ brand and presence, especially in the digital realm — words. There’s a resounding belief among those looking for marketing help that while many things may need to be outsourced, content is one they can handle in-house. The difference is, when you outsource your content development to an expert in the field, you’re getting more than just some words that sound good. You’re getting a carefully refined intersection of art and science that touches on many different aspects of your brand and your audience’s needs. What does that funky combination of art and science look like? Let’s dive a little deeper together, shall we?
Not all topic ideas are good ones. Let’s just get that out of the way now. Knowing what to write at any given time requires not only an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish as a brand, but what your audience wants, expects, needs, and already knows. There are few things more disappointing than wanting to trust a brand only to realize they are regurgitating the same four articles that every competitor on the market is writing about — or that they aren’t producing new content at all. Having not just A pulse, but the right pulse on what content will be relevant to your audience at a given time requires a feel for what people are searching, what content is hitting in the marketplace in general, and how current events and trends tie into what you do (because no matter what your industry is, pop culture has the power to impact your content engagement big time and where those connections should be made.
There’s a reason we spend time with our clients getting to know all the nooks, crannies, angles and pieces of the puzzle that make up their brand. A deep understanding of your brand’s heartbeat, the purpose and passion behind it, and what keeps it going is absolutely necessary to create high quality content that rings true and unifies your brand’s voice. The mistake many companies make here is determining what they think their brand may be and then allowing it to change over the course of weeks, months, or sometimes even years in business without being intentional about the changes or stopping to reflect on whether or not the way things are being run hold true to the brand vision they had in the first place. It’s not unusual for business owners to skip over this bit when they are getting started, or simply toss up a mission statement they thought up in 30 minutes and call it good.
When you’re bootstrapping, every decision that takes away time and doesn’t immediately produce revenue can feel like an unnecessary one. But let’s look at it this way. Think about your favorite band. Think about their music and how much it means to you and how you’ve liked watching the band evolve over the years and with each new album. Chances are, even if the band they are now is very different than who they were when they started, the progression has seemed natural, inevitable almost. It likely has seemed in line with who you know that band is at the core of it, and is a big part of why you continue to be a fan, year after year, album after album. Great musicians know their brand — the same should hold true for great businesses, too.
Look, I could get all artsy fartsy with you for days about why content needs to reflect your organization’s true heartbeat and why that heartbeat must be clear and concise in order to attract the kind of customers and clients that are going to make you thrive in exactly the way that made you dream of starting your business in the first place. I really could, but there’s another side to this we need to discuss. Because the artsy-fartsy part is the stuff most people believe they can handle on their own. But in order to succeed, much to my chagrin as an emotionally-driven sap who dreams of a world where creativity and empathy rule above all else, you can’t rest solely on that. You also need the science-y parts of it all. You need to understand the digital marketing world and the ins and outs of how, exactly, those stunningly accurate and finely tuned heartfelt messages get to that ideal audience. In short, you need to know how to be SEEN. And that, my friends, comes down to mechanics. It comes down to things such as meta descriptions and h1 and h2 tags and unordered lists versus ordered lists. It comes down to focusing on phrases that relate to your business and have high search volume, but also tying in semantically similar phrases and ideas so that Google knows you know what you’re talking about. It combines SEO with user experience and ties them up in glorious, inextricable knots that make something worth reading because you connect to it AND it’s valuable, all at the same time.
The science of high quality content includes trying new types of content for your audience and diving into the analytics to determine what they seem to be responding to best. So, so very often it is not what you’d expect, even if you know your ideal audience extremely well. It’s about determining the best packaging to promote your long form content across various social media platforms and have it matter to the people who spend their time there. It’s about reaching audiences with targeted ads that speak to their interests, desires, and needs in a way that ties it back to your content or your product/service offering. It’s analytical, numerical, and psychological all at once and requires a knowledge of all three areas and how they interact with your marketing content in order to be successful.
One of the more important bits of science when it comes to content is INTENT. I put this in the science category rather than anywhere else because doing this accurately requires data and the ability to interpret it. Many organizations can understand the surface level of SEO and use that basic knowledge to decide on some keywords that seem like they might make sense to show up for in the search engines. Far fewer can dig deeper and determine if the intent behind those keywords is truly what you’re looking for. Sometimes, though a keyword or keyword phrase seems like it would fit your marketing content well, when researched, it turns out most people searching for that word or phrase are looking for something completely different than what you’re offering. At that point, you have two options – change your keyword strategy, or adjust your content ideas and execution to match user intent. Both are valid options, and often it’s a bit of toying with both that brings about the best solution, but knowing how to toy with these metrics and strategy without decimating any progress you’ve already built is yet another fine balance.
At the end of the day, high quality content must RESONATE emotionally as well as intellectually and provide VALUE to the person reading it. I know I’ve talked about the value of content a time or two here before, but trust me when I say that is because it’s extremely important. Whether or not your ideal audience finds your content valuable is the make or break for whether or not they will come back for more, and build a foundation of trust that will turn them into loyal customers/clients for life.
It’s a fine line between the art of captivating storytelling, personal connection, and the science of SEO and search strategy. Add the layer of mechanics required to make all that strategy go, and it’s easy to see why so many DIY content marketers aren’t quite hitting the mark. Trusting your content creation and strategy to a partner dedicated to understanding both sides of the coin and skilled in combining them well just makes sense once you understand what really goes into making a blog post, white paper, website, or email sing. If you’re ready to step back from your content and focus on the things you do best to move your business forward, Webolutions would love to help. Let’s talk about your brand’s heartbeat, the true heroes and villains of your organization’s story, and how we can put the power of digital marketing science behind it all to create something exceptional that helps you grow.
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