The great Cape Town drought of the decade may largely be a thing of the past, but it’s not something that should be forgotten…
If you have ever doubted the importance of content, and content marketing before now is the time to put your mind at ease. The phrase “Content is King” may have been perpetuated senselessly by hundreds of writers in the past, but there was always a grain of truth in this statement.
With the roll out of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, SEO specialists and companies have received the much-needed validation that their efforts in content creation and curation have been well spent.
The Hummingbird is the biggest algorithm update that Google has made since 2001, and it has affected approximately 90% of all search queries. It was also the first time that the concept of conversational search became more than a mere fantasy. Digital marketers that have been “doing things right” have finally seen their efforts pay off.
Content is more important than ever
Since then there has been a heavy shift toward user intent and answering searcher’s questions, and the Hummingbird seems to be paying extra attention to the needs of quality content marketing. Content may have been important in the past, but now it is imperative, especially because Google can now interpret full questions, to better meet the needs of the average user.
In order to give the user what they want though, you must step back for a while, and observe. What are internet users looking for? Most of them want answers to questions, others simply wish to have fun, but we can assure you that none of them have the time to read interminable verbosities that are not even well formatted.
A block of text does not sit well with the average users, and they are likely to lose interest fast if you don’t provide him with a little “eye-candy”. To be honest, I rarely read an article from start to finish. Even if I am interested in it, a boring format will probably make me quit before I even get to the middle. The image above shows how different types of articles are usually read.
So what can you do to maintain the viewer’s interest, and hopefully ensure that content marketing becomes king? There is a common misunderstanding when it comes to content. Most live with under impression that the term only refers to written content, but in reality, it also refers to images, videos, podcasts and other means of online communication. Here are eight alternative content ideas that will help you better market your articles:
1. Content Visualisations
Content, or concept visualizations are without a doubt the most useful tools that specialists can use. If you are trying to promote a business that might be difficult to understand for normal people, this type of content will definitely help you. It is an excellent tool for explaining terms that are difficult to put into words.
In this case you can use pie charts, maps, diagrams, schemes or simplified visual associations that will significantly increase the percentage of visitors that understand what you are trying to say.
The question has always been what you can do to set yourself apart from your competition. Sure, written content is important for blogs and websites, but everybody has it. Videos is something not many businesses use. One way to accomplish this is by incorporating rich content marketing strategy into what already is ethical search engine optimisation and great digital marketing.
Videos are, according to statistics, the most popular type of visual content. Within them you can also insert user intent by explaining the details of your products, showing a behind the scenes look, or flaunting a preview. Videos, which are optimised and then promoted across your website and YouTube account are far more valuable to your business than text-only content. So prepare to focus on some serious video marketing in the future.
Images are regular elements within a blog post. They can also be added as featured images at the beginning of a post, to enhance the visual experience of a user. Most of the times they give an idea about the subject before having to actually read it.
On other occasions they are meant to explain or strengthen the idea within an article. Another thing that many people forget, or do not know about is the fact that images can also be optimized for SEO purposes. There are several search engines that focus their queries around images, and optimizing them will enable you to increase online visibility.
Podcasts are multimedia digital files that can be uploaded to a phone or portable player. They may have been considered a thing of the past by many online marketers, but it seems that they are making a comeback. Considering that we are part of the digital age it should not come as a surprise that more and more people are searching for means of staying informed without having to use their hands or eyes.
Brendan Cournoyer has already discussed the reasons why podcasts should be a part of your content marketing strategy, so I will not insist on the matter.
Have you ever heard about 9gag? If you haven’t you should remedy the problem as soon as possible. To me, 9gag appeared out of nowhere and it has been entertaining me ever since. A visual language has also been created there: people associate certain phrases with a relevant image and use it in different situations.
Memes can be difficult to track because they seem to appear overnight. If you are looking for catchy, funny methods of attracting traffic and branding your business, then Memes are suited for your business.
Granted, they are a visually enhanced alternative to written content, but they still count. With the rise of SlideShare also came the time for presentations to shine, and why would anyone not want to harness their power? By creating interesting and attractive presentations you can also create a professional image for your company.
7. Animated GIFs
If you’ve had access to the internet for the past 10 years then you are probably already familiar with GIFs. They were typically used on forums and chats, but it was Tumblr that managed to turn them into viral material. You can use them either to generate humor, to showcase your products, or to explain tutorials quickly. They can stimulate imagination and leave a potential customer wanting for more.
Infographics are ten times more attractive than written content, and they are also powerful marketing tools. They can also help you focus on the main points of your argument, by using fewer words. Let’s face it, when we see a lot of images put into one, we are more tempted to read the explanations. If you wish to create compelling content with infographics you should also check out Brian Dean’s article.
These are the eight types of alternative content that I consider will significantly improve the overall performance of your website. You can experiment by gradually inserting them into different articles, which you afterward promote. Positive reviews, shares and comments will give you a sense of the impact that they have had on your audience.
Image: weegeebored via Flickr.