Move from Content Creation to Content Creativity In 2023

Oh great... another new blog post 🙄
Changing how we think about content creation as a deliverable in the new year

This is probably something fairly controversial in the agency/deliverable mindset - but I think it's time to have a conversation about blog posts.  Specifically, blog posts as a "deliverable" you create for your client.

We've all been there - The client's website needs more content - so a writer starts cranking out blog posts - a few a week, 1 a week, maybe 1 every two weeks.

"Look, Mx. Client, We have delivered over 4,000 words of new content for your website across 4 new blog posts!"

Mx. client is very impressed with this deliverable - "OH awesome, thank you!"

…and then the content goes to /page/2/ in their blog and dies.  Never to be seen again.

It gets some impression and a bit of traffic for a month or so - then RIP new words on the site - you were mediocre while you lasted.

Make A Change For 2023!

Let's flip that narrative for 2023. I want to challenge anyone who manages a content calendar, or is in charge of adding content to a website - the change can start with anyone involved with websites & words -  to start working on improving the content that already exists on the website and is languishing in /page/3-100 land in the blog.  I'm looking at you, website owners, account managers at the agency, content directors, and even writers.  Spending time improving something you already have - that has been neglected, is going to net you more benefits in the long run than just throwing more words on the page.

Story Time - Finding Underperforming Content

I ran across this scenario when helping a client this week - and I think this is a great exercise for anyone with a blog.

    • First, open your search console account.
    • Type in a query you're written a recent blog post about
    • How many pages are ranking for that query?

In this example - I was looking for any content on their site related to "squatter's rights."  While a few of the pages I found target specific location keywords - MOST of these a) are unnecessary, and b) get absolutely no impressions or traffic.

Yet a deliverable for a content writer needed to be met - so more and more and more content was churned out - completely ignoring the existing content and how much more useful you can make it with a little attention!

How do we make blog posts Better?

First - we stop thinking about blog content as a "volume" game - it should always be quality over quantity.  If you work on 1 amazing blog post across 1-2 months - that's okay.  Keep at it until you start seeing quality traffic and conversions either from that blog post, or using that blog post as an assistant to the conversion!

Here's my "Blog Update" checklist - these are the things I go through to make sure a blog has all the pieces it needs to succeed:

    • First, ask yourself if the information you want to share should be a blog post or a page on your site.  I try to use the following criteria for determining this point:
        • Timely information should be a blog post - news, events, trends that will die out fast, etc.
        • Timeless information should be a page - how a product works, when you should call for a service, etc.

There are exceptions to this, of course. It's not a hard and fast rule - but you should plan to have the right content in the right portion of your website.

    • ADD A CONVERSION POINT!  I cannot tell you how many times I've looked at a blog and there is no contact info, no phone number, no form, and no call to action at all.  If your goal is to drive sales - why are you not using your blog posts as an assistant to the sale? Get those conversion points and calls to action into every blog post.
    • Is there competing or related content that is already in the blog?
        • Can I consolidate that information into this post? Can I add THIS information to that post to improve it?
        • If the old post is severely underperforming, consider just getting rid of the old buried post - grabbing that good content that complements what you're working on and smooshing it all together into a nice big resource for your readers/users/clients.
    • Make the content easy to understand.  Write a great introduction and a summary paragraph at the beginning - and don't phone it in with a "want more information, contact us today" exit paragraph.  Here's your opportunity for points on why your client/company should be the user's choice.  Include that call to action.
    • Improve the user's ability to navigate all the content. Use jump links as a table of contents to help users navigate through what may be a really long page.
    • Stop fearing the external link.  Links to high-quality resources that can assist your sale are absolutely essential and useful to the reader.  If you are talking about squatter's rights and you link out to the county's eviction notice page on a local .gov website - you're providing resources for your readers.  That external link is great - stop being afraid of those.
    • Add visuals to the page. Images that are relevant to your narrative, infographics, and videos - and optimize them for the user AND search engines.  You can describe the image in an alt tag AND add on your target phrase.  Don't be a jerk and not describe your photos in your alt tags - when you do that, you make them 100% unusable for low vision/vision-impaired readers.
    • Get those internal links on point. Likely old blog content is languishing and underperforming because you didn't add any internal links to & from it.  Build the existence of that content into your information silos and funnels. A huge problem I find with poor blog traffic is the lack of internal links - not just from/to other blog posts - but also from/to pages that are built to convert readers/shoppers into sales.
    • Update that publishing date.  For blog posts, this works to get the information to the first page of your blog again - AND it shows the content as refreshed and renewed with a new date visible in the SERPs.
    • Add additional resources.  In our squatter's rights example - add contact info for process servers you recommend, lawyers who you have worked with that may be able to help - or even a real estate agent that manages the property and can help you avoid this in the future.  Make your blog post an information hub - not just a sales page that doesn't provide support for the reader to make a decision.

Every agency and internal marketing team is guilty of using "create x blog posts" as a crutch for "I have no idea what to do this month."  I was even guilty of it when I managed accounts. Moving forward - I would love to see a change to that narrative internally - and across the SEO community.  Here are a few deliverables you could use instead.

    • Review existing content for "x" keyword query
        • Use your Search Console to find old content
        • Decide what you can consolidate & improve
        • Optimize the updated content for search & conversion
        • Create a content group in Analytics to track our progress on this topic (you can do this in both GA3 and GA4)
    • Create a new hub for "x" topic
        • Consolidate existing content where necessary
        • Improve readability and optimize for search & conversion
        • Create a content group in Analytics to track our progress on this topic (you can do this in both GA3 and GA4)

So here's your challenge -and a chance to improve your writing and your value as a content creator. Not only can you churn and burn great content - you can improve the content that already exists.

Honestly - if it's not driving traffic - what do you have to lose? We're flipping this tactic on its head at Sterling Sky as well - if you have old blog content, and need some strategizing a path forward - we can assist, or we can refer you to someone who can assist - just reach out and give us a call!

And if you're also turning the "churn and ignore" blogging deliverable into a holistic approach to ALL content on your website - I really want to hear about your approach and what you're doing to meet that goal!  You can always find me on Twitter or you can email me at carrie@sterlingsky.ca

Carrie Hill

About Carrie Hill

Carrie comes to Sterling Sky with SEO experience that dates back to 2005! She has a passion for figuring out what works for each and every client and picking apart the problems that arise in our “it depends” relationship with Google. She has also been organizing and nurturing the LocalU Conference Series since 2017 – through to today – across a hectic few years of pandemic and back into in-person conferences again.