The Worst Advice we’ve heard about content strategy

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By John

“You need more keywords.”

This is a tough one, because while you do need some keywords, there is a BIG RED LINE between some and keyword-stuffing. In the early days of search engines, the more keywords you had on a page, the higher it would appear in the search results. 

But as soon as writers got wise and began stuffing content with more keywords than anyone could comfortably read, search engines got wise too. Now, algorithms elevate content that is reader-friendly, ensuring high quality by emphasizing shares and links. Keywords still have a place in content strategy, but they are no longer a strategy in and of themselves.

“Link building is easy – you can just buy them!”

Like keyword stuffing, this used to work until search engine algorithms learned this trick too. Now search engines care about quality links – links from reputable websites in contexts that make sense. If you try black-hat link stuffing methods like buying space in directory sites, you’ll not only fail your attempt at rising up the SERP, you might actually fall. What does good link-building strategy look like? Links from reputable websites that lead to blog posts, white papers or even your home page will all help you (which means that to get high quality links, you’ll need high quality content. Hello content strategy!)

“Technical SEO is more important than content.”

We think this rumor got started by “SEO experts” who were doing a booming trade 10 years ago without having to worry much about content. Technical, or back-end SEO, is vitally important. That is true. If your header tags, meta descriptions and image alt text aren’t optimized, then you are missing the boat. But to say it’s more important is definitely untrue. You need both, and you need them to work together as different parts of the same holistic strategy.

“Focus on doing one thing well, and forget the rest.”

We love the idea of focusing on doing one thing well – at a time. But if you’ve heard that you only need to do a great job on SEO, or email campaigns, or blogging, or social media, then you are missing a lot of opportunities. The best opportunity is using all of the above together, feeding into and supporting each other. Promote your eBook with blog posts and email marketing campaigns, promote blog posts with social media, and include CTAs to the next stage of the sales cycle in your best pieces of content. You’ve heard that “no man is an island,” – we believe no piece of content should be an island either.

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“Quantity matters more than quality.”

In an ideal world of limitless funds and writers who can work like machines, you could have both quantity and quality. But, your funds are limited, and your writers have only so many hours in the day, which means you have to choose one goal to prioritize. Aim to strike a balance with more weight given to quantity. This doesn’t mean you should subscribe to the George R.R. Martin school of content writing (write one best-selling book every 5 years).* But when the online world is filling with more and more “noise” – high quality evergreen content will gain ground and pay better dividends over time.

“You can hire a writer cheap from developing nation and/or Craigslist”

Oh honey, no. I mean, yes, you can. You can have a blog post written for $5 on Fiverr, or less if you employ a content farm on the other side of the world, but while words will be transmitted, they’re unlikely to be the words you need. When your clients get to know you, it’s through content first. Having poor content is like showing up to a job interview in your skivvies – you’re not going to impress anyone! A great content strategy depends on having great content that is well-written, original, useful, and resonates with your target audience. You won’t achieve all of those goals by finding writers in the bargain basements of the internet. There’s more bad advice, lots more. But if you avoid these 7 deadly sins of content strategy, you’ll be far ahead of the game. Learn how to leverage your content the right way in our Free eBook: How to Create a Content Strategy that Converts! We’ve consolidated and organized our best tips to give you an immediately actionable How-To – complete with companion template. The power of content is in your hands – use it wisely. Because…you know who’s watching.

*This has actually worked out pretty well for George R.R. Martin, but is, in general, a bad content strategy.

 

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Topics: Knowledge