Create good quality content and links will gravitate towards it effortlessly, yes? It sounds simple, but it’s just not that easy. Here are 7 top tips to consider when developing and executing your content links strategy.
1) Think quality, not quantity
You may be tempted to fill your site with content, but you must think quality, not quantity. You’ll get a much better return on your investment from your time and resource if you focus on producing great quality, insightful, sharable and marketable content.
2) Them, them, them
Great content isn’t all me, me, me. You, your business and your brand isn’t interesting all of the time. Be prepared to write about related topics that will interest your audience and customers without necessarily talking about you, your products, service proposition or brand.
Todd Defren (Here) suggests that a 70/30% rule should be applied to your content – with 70% of it being curated and 30% of being branded. We think that’s nonsense. What’s important is to find what works well for you and stick to something sensible.
3) Think about smart ways to identify what to write about
There are some really clever tools and processes that can be used to help identify who and what to write about. Start with a key phrase for a related topic and then use:
- Google News / Bing News – to discover hot off-the-press news for a specific subject;
- Google Discussions – to learn what people are talking about in the forums;
- Digg / Reddit – to identify the top rated / most dug content relating to your topic;
- YouTube – can be used to spot the most viewed videos relating to your key phrase;
- Topsy – will tell you the latest tweets that relate to your key phrase and the top trending tweets that relate to your key phrase;
- Twittorati Search – to spot the most authoritative tweets relating to your key phrase;
- All Things Now – to learn what is being shared on Facebook relating to your key phrase;
- Yahoo! Answers – to discover which questions relating to your key phrase are popular.
Used in combination, the above are a powerful asset to help to discover content opportunities that have a greater chance of attracting links.
4) Take an idea and improve it
Take the time to find examples of great content that relate to a topic within your industry and ask yourself “Can I do a better job of writing, displaying or formatting this?”.
Perhaps the information can be improved through better visualisation of the data. It could be that it needs to be brought up-to-date. It’s also possible to find good ideas that are executed poorly. Take the idea and improve it.
Use social mention metrics to help identify content that performs well, despite its inadequacies. If you note that a poorly executed piece of content has tens of Google +1s, dozens of re-tweets and plenty of ‘likes’; chances are it will work amazingly well if improved and marketed effectively.
5) Use really well presented data
The visualisation of data is something of an art form. Get it right and you can turn a piece of informative data into an outrageous link asset.
The New York Times are excellent at this and have numerous reports which are displayed in stunning detail through the use of data visualisation. My favourite is a study on how different demographics spend their day in the US. Note that the user can filter the chart by selecting different groups from above the chart. It’s like an infographic, but interactive.
Matt Cutts has recently suggested that Google ‘may’ start to discredit infographics because the quality and accuracy of the information is often questionable. To future-proof your strategy, focus on providing detailed, quality data and avoid embedding links.
People love lists. They really do. So appeal to those who like to link into lists and harvest their potential as link assets.
Crowdsourced lists are a great way to generate lists in a sociable, interactive way. List.ly for example is a website and tool which can be used to crowdsource and share lists with your online peers. With the added ability to moderate entries and control external links, List.ly is a great little tool to help you create good quality, valuable content.
Team up your list content with an eye-grabbing headline to maximise its potential as a great content piece.
7) Make it happen
Contrary to belief, links are not simply going to sprout up out of the web on their own accord. Great content needs to be marketed, distributed and seeded in the right places. Make it happen.