What it means to create effective content

effective content writingI recently blogged about how it’s worth ignoring common SEO tactics, such as stuffing articles with keywords, to focus more on using effective content to get the best search results. Now, I’m happy to introduce a guest post from Mary-Ann Johnn, Digital Marketer, who’ll tell you more about effective ‘content’.


What is effective content?

Anyone selling a product or service online will know it is important to include SEO in an online campaign or ongoing marketing strategy.

Marketers now write copy including important keywords.  They aim to publish links and blogs on social media and other external sites that help drive traffic back to a website. But putting too much focus on SEO tactics won’t always get the best results.

Keyword stuffing and unnatural link-building is deemed low-value and not best practice in Google’s eyes too, and it leads to less focus on the quality and value of the content being published.

All online campaigns should be content driven.

A few things to bear in mind:

  • Consumers are far better informed and intelligent these days. Particularly with the internet at their fingertips.
  • Consumers today do not want to be sold to, they want to be understood.
  • For a lot of people, the internet is a place to be entertained.
  • Nobody enjoys advertising and nobody is going to share an advert with friends.

Unless… of course, the advert is a great piece of content which educates or entertains… and that is the important thing to remember.

Take the latest John Lewis Christmas ad for example. It says nothing about the John Lewis business, its products or why people should choose John Lewis over another department shop.  It’s not trying to sell at all.

But the reason it’s working, is that it’s an entertaining and well-done piece of content, which is getting talked about all over Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs.  Any links back to John Lewis are naturally occurring.

A great piece of content will:

  • have a perceived value
  • get shared and talked about, particularly if amusing
  • create awareness
  • create valuable, but natural links back to the publisher

Here are three campaigns we’ve enjoyed as examples.

  1. Tippex using a YouTube Gadget http://www.youtube.com/user/tippexperience
  2. Swiss Tourist Board Wake Up Sebi& Paul, which ran with a competition to win a holiday to Switzerland.
  3. And an oldie but goodie – a clever campaign from Converse trainers, using Google Adwords: http://vimeo.com/8254341


How to create good content

If you want to achieve these same results, there are 3 types of online content to aim for:

  1. Shared – an existing video, blog, or image that is shared or talked about on social media
  2. Curated – existing pieces of content that are re-designed or put together for new-use, in a blog, presentation, or video
  3. Created – a new animation, microsite, video or blog

Newly created content is the most time consuming and expensive, which is why most people prefer to retweet someone else’s interesting tweet, for example, or revisit old blog posts.

It’s fine to do that, but creating something original, something that is well researched, and has a value to the specific audience that you are trying to reach, should be produced as often as budget and time allows.

Publishing consistently good content helps to build your audience and following.

This means having a content strategy and process in place.  It’s worth getting into the habit of using bookmarking tools such as GetPocket.com, to save anything you see online that could be used for a future blog post for example.  Or there are ways to work collaboratively with colleagues on content with an online app, such as www.passle.net.

Plan content in advance, with a content schedule, so that the article / video / ad is ready to be published in a timely way, for example, at the right time of year, season, peak selling period and when search trends are known to rise.


Less of the SEO tactics, more good content = Love from your online audience – and therefore love from Google too!

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