Why Original Content is KingJanuary 15, 2020
In today’s digital marketing world, businesses can’t expect to compete on website hits alone. Indeed, it’s all about engagement now. And one of the best ways to drive meaningful interactions is to produce original content.
A Brief Background on Google’s (Ever-Changing) Algorithm
Year over year, Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times in ways that are largely insignificant to the average user. But every now and then, the search engine makes sweeping changes that require marketers to think twice about their approach.
For example, a few years ago keyword content planning opened back doors for risky “black hat” marketing techniques like keyword stuffing wherein some SEO companies tried to trick Google’s algorithm into boosting lead generation and sales. But Google caught on and made changes to the algorithm that allowed web crawlers to catch out of context keywords and even penalized sites that deployed these techniques.
Today, the best ranked sites have had to go beyond simplistic keyword usage and focus on robust, original content on a wide variety of topics.
What is Original Content?
At LLT, we define original content as content that:
- Adds a fresh perspective to an existing topic
- Solves a problem for a specific target audience
- Is relatable and tells a (real) story
In order to come up with a proper topic to focus on, the style and language to use as well as how to promote it, you will have to exercise considerable thoughtfulness.
In order to understand the importance of original content to your brand strategy, consider the results of a recent Time Inc. study which surveyed 17,000 people across three major age groups (Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z):
- 90 percent of respondents like the idea of original content as a way for brands to engage with them
- About 93 percent of Gen Z respondents said that they want brands to do something new and creative in order to connect with them
- 88 percent think that custom content is an avenue for new brands to reach out to them
More research from McKinsey on how original content directly translates to the bottom line — notes that 61 percent of customers are more likely to buy from a company that publishes custom (original) content.
In other words, as the landscape of content marketing continues to get more competitive, you can’t afford not to focus on original thought and creativity.
Overall, original content offers a branding opportunity for businesses to position themselves as thought leaders on topics important to their audience. In this regard, it takes time to become established as a thought leader and oftentimes, more resources. But, done the right way, businesses yield a substantial return on investment.
That’s because thought leadership content separates you and your brand as an influencer, innovator and a credible resource. Furthermore, when people in your target market consider you as a thought leader in your industry, it builds trust and confidence in your brand.
Customers are also be more likely to develop “brand recall” which is what every marketer wants. Brand recall is a process that occurs when an individual needs to act on something, like getting their air conditioner serviced, for example, and their first thought is your HVAC company.
Viralness and Backlinks
When a company’s content “goes viral”, they will absolutely get more exposure to their target market. But when it comes to SEO, it’s the backlinks that really make a difference. It’s impossible to predict whether or not a post will go viral, so goal setting around that target is unproductive. Focusing on backlinks however is not only measurable but is incredibly important for long term content success. Among the many ranking factors that Google uses to elevate sites, backlinks from authoritative sites is a key element in how you will rank.
Think of backlinks as a more sustainable way to drive results.
But, how do you produce content that is so valuable, even your competitors want to link to it? Once again, the answer to gaining high-quality backlinks boils down to originality, though this is often easier said than done.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Original research – you might do this in-house or hire a third-party company depending on your objectives. Turn your findings into a unique content-rich infographic that everyone can’t help but link to.
- AMA (ask me anything) blog posts – tell your target audience more about you and the rest of the company. Their questions will also help you get to know what drives their consumption habits.
- Customer testimonials – turning social proof into powerful content can help drive new business. Examples include: case studies, blog posts and marketing materials.
As you’re coming up with ideas, remember that authenticity is key as most content consumers can smell a sales pitch from a mile away. Your focus should always be on solving a problem for your target audience and packaging your value proposition in a way that appeals to them.
We hope you’re convinced that there’s no better time to move away from content curation toward content creation. After all, content is still king, but only if it’s unique.
For more information like this, keep reading LLT’s blog.