Create Great Content: Part One

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In the following two blog posts, I’m going to write about creating EPIC content. Epic content, in my estimation, is content which gets shares and links without the need for paid acceleration.

First off, it’s all very well creating content for the sake of creating links, but getting yourself bogged down in infographics made just for the sake of throwing at webmasters isn’t the best way to go about a successful marketing strategy.

With some clients, it’s not easy to come up with content which will garner natural links. Singoffs and creating content based upon high-authority information can take months to achieve – and by then, you’ve probably missed the point where the content in question was going to be the most successful.

So lets think about everything BEFORE the content is conceived.

Step 1: Know the Limitations

ryan gosling seo meme

This is from a Tumblr about Ryan Gosling and SEO. Yes, it happened.

One of my favourite office sayings is ‘blue sky thinking’ – just because it’s so wonderfully inane. Yes, we could probably do with some awesome interactive content for a particular client – but what’s the point in going through the conception process if you’re going to be stopped at the first hurdle?

For each client, know the limitations.

- Are there are any cost limitations?

- Are they using an external design/development/social agency which might slow things down a little?

- Does the client’s site have the capability to host this particular piece of content?

- Does the nature of the client’s industry only allow for well-informed, highly researched and consistently checked content?

Bearing all this in mind is the first thing which needs to be discussed during the initial content plan, and a big part of the content marketing strategy. I’ve personally been in situations where some awesome content was created, only to be told by the client that they couldn’t possibly host it thanks to their limited website or because an expert’s information was required in order for it to represent the brand appropriately.

Content location

Content which is supposed to go on a site blog and content which requires a new page build for it are very different, and can change the strategy entirely in some cases.

A page built simply for the purpose of hosting a new interactive tool or piece of informative content allows for much looser reign on what sort of things can be created. If it’s intended for a blog however, the tone may have to be more relaxed, images may need to be reduced and a certain level of brand authority may be diminished.

At this point, determine exactly where you want this content to go.

Step 2: Know your Goal

What’s the point of this content?

You’ll already know exactly what your client wants from you – it could be increased conversions, improved brand awareness, or simply an increase of domain authority.

If the content is designed to increase links to a client’s site, bear in mind:

- Is this content going to be something that webmasters and bloggers would actually want to have on their sites?

- Is the content relevant to the brand?

- Is the content going to run the risk of giving my client a penguin-based penalty?

The last point is of particular importance. It’s hard to come up with something shareable when your client is especially serious. An infographic about cats won’t be acceptable for a client which is focused on healthcare. But create a piece of interactive content about the anniversary of James Bond for them, and they might end up ranking for ‘James Bond anniversary’ rather than ‘healthcare’.

Outreach and sharing

It is absolutely imperative that whilst creating a piece of content, some serious thought goes into the outreach and the social media side of things.

Will this content be easily shared on Twitter or Facebook? Will it get likes, will people want to show it to their friends?

Will bloggers and webmasters want to reference it on their site?

Tapping into the human psyche

Content marketing is all about getting a reaction. It’s the reaction that makes people share it.

Take a look at content which has gone viral in the last year or so. What kind of

marketing campaigns

emotions do they create in the reader or viewer?

“Grumpy cat” – Cuteness/hilarity

“Harlem shake” – Confusion

“The cost of being Batman” – This is relevant to my interests

“Dogs reunited with owners” – Happiness

“The man your man could be” – Attraction

The long and short of it is, if you can create content which also creates an emotional reaction with the viewer, then it’s successful. Make me laugh with a video, and I’ll want to share it with my friends and make them laugh. Make a quiz which tells me whether or not I’m hated by the Daily Mail, and I’ll want to share my result with my friends and find out what their result will be.

Step 3: A Little Extra Research

Take a look a site visibility, the keywords the site in question is ranking highest for (I use SEMrush to do this) and maybe even the highest-converting PPC terms on the account. Are there some content opportunities there?

This is a bit of an overlap into the content ideas generation, but in any case it’s a great starting point to pinpoint exactly how to get  piece of creative or content the highest possible visibility.

Quick keyword research (using competitior ranking keywords too, which again you can get from SEMrush) can help you identify which keywords are worth targeting, and whether it’s a better idea to go for a collection of longtail terms within a creative.


You’ll have already decided whether this particular piece of content is meant to target those on the end of the conversion funnel: if it is, the above list of keywords may be good to look into.

However, don’t underestimate the value of research-based queries – someone clicking through to your content when they don’t want to buy a vintage car may well remember your site when it comes to a time when they do want to do a bit of car shopping.

In the next post, we’ll cover the actual content creation.


Written by Sarah Chalk

Sarah Chalk

Sarah is an SEO Account Manager at 360i and has a keen interest in all things SEO. She has also written for a number of sites, including Vue cinema’s film blog and a number of tech websites.

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