Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have trouble finding an area around which you can build content that attracts your target audience?
Valuable content can be a real challenge, especially in niches with a strong content saturation. We don't have to go far to find an example. Marketing niche is the prime example.
With 75% marketers looking to increase their content marketing budgets, things aren't going to get any easier.
You can still build links on lower authority sites by giving an overview of a marketing trend or superficially covering a well-known marketing subject.
Though it might get you a link, that is the extent of the value you are going to get out of it – a simple link on a site with low or medium authority. Even if you succeed to post it on a valued site with decent traffic, a generic 700-word article that talks about an area that has been covered a million times before will only bring some link juice value.
No increase in brand visibility and authority. Probably no referral traffic. Close to 0 value for your long-term marketing strategy.
Do not despair; not everything is lost.
There are a few different approaches to content creation that allow you to rise above the mediocrity by creating content that adds value and stands out even in niches with a strong content marketing presence.
Here is what you can do if you are willing to put in the work.
The Need To Create 10x Valuable Content
The common misconception people have when they hear the phrase „10x content“ is that it signifies length. While „10x content“ (not so) coincidentally is a long-form content, the multiplier relates to the quality of the content and not its length.
So the idea behind this phrase is that you need to create content which is 10 times better than the one that is currently available in the area you're covering.
How do you create such a high-quality content?
Well, here are the main characteristics of 10x content:
What is also important to note here that this doesn't only relate to articles. Marketers like to focus on it since guest posting is still a huge part of content marketing, but as you should know, content comes in many shapes and sizes.
Try to implement characteristics mentioned above in any content that comes out of your workshop.
Reach New Heights With Skyscraper Technique
Brian Dean originally popularized the Skyscraper Technique with his case study on how he used said technique to increase traffic by 110% in just two weeks.
The idea behind it is rather simple:
1. Finding Link-Worthy Content
The first step is the easiest one.
You can use tools like Moz Toolbar or Buzzsumo to find the most popular content for any set of keywords. Here is the most shared content for the keyword „content marketing“ according to Buzzsumo:
Alternatively, you can use Ahrefs, SEMrush or any other keyword research tool to see which content ranks highly for specific keywords and how much traffic does it bring to its owner.
Before you grab yourself a cup of coffee and start making your master plan to overtake it, here are some things you should ask yourself first:
1.1 Can I create significantly better content than the one I'm currently looking at?
There is no point in trying-out do someone who's already done a great job. If you can't find a hole in their defense, there is no point to attack. Some weaknesses you should look for are poor content structure, the topic isn't as elaborated as it could be, lack of visual appeal, and outdated information.
1.2 Do I have enough resources to develop it?
Creating this kind of content requires a huge time-investment and often involves several team members (writer, editor, graphic designer, promoter).
1.3 Do I have enough knowledge in the area I plan to cover?
Probably the best tip I can give you is to try and focus only on the areas you have some experience with. You can get away with content that covers trends, reviews, statistics or some other general info, but if you're trying to write about something like Facebook PPC you have to be on point.
If you can't add any screenshots or new information that often presents itself in the form of personal insights, you are already a step behind and might want to reconsider your plans.
1.4 Does this content bring me a long-term value?
Let's say you're considering making an in-depth guide on a current version of Android. You can make a superb guide but a year or two from now none will be interested in it as it won't be relevant anymore.
Choose your battles wisely. Some content could have gained a lot of traction because it went viral but chances are you won't have the same luck with it. Aim for content that can stand the test of time.
If the answer to every single question is yes, then you are ready to take on this challenge.
2. Creating something even better
As this is a process take can take you a month(s) to develop, be sure to have a way to track everything. Research, writing, designing graphics, reviewing, revisions plus promotion. On top of that, many activities are dependent on each other in a way that you have to finish one for the other one to begin.
Be ready to plan your activities. We found that it is best to break down the project into several milestones and use a project management tool to track the progress of every task.
When you eventually start with the content creation phase, to improve your chances for success focus on:
- Creating longer, more in-depth content
- Adding images, videos, and other rich content
- Structuring the content in a way that is more user-friendly and easier to follow
- Incorporating personal insights
- Following „10x content“ guidelines we mentioned earlier
3. Start building links towards it
The ultimate goal for the article is to bring you a steady traffic. And it won't be able to do that if it doesn't rank well for specific keywords. Invest into promotion as much as you did in the development phase.
- Build links towards it using guest posting
- Promote it via PPC
- Contact people that shared similar content in the past
- Contact people that linked to similar content and ask them if they want to link towards you since you have something even better
One last thing to note before we move on.
Skyscraper technique and long-form guides (we’ll cover that next) are not a surefire way that will always work even if you do a great job with them. There are many reasons why they can underperform, and some of them are out of your control. Don't get discouraged if you don't reap a huge value on your first few tries.
Create Long-form Guides That Completely Cover One Area
Back in 2012, serpIQ conducted a research to see is there a correlation between content length and its ranking.
They analyzed top 10 search results for over 200 000 keywords.
You can see that the average content length for every top 10 search result position counts over 2k words.
If you still aren't convinced and want more recent findings, here is a study by Hubspot that shows a clear correlation between the word count and average organic traffic.
Keep in mind that you can't just publish a long-form article and call it a day. First of all, just because it has a lot of words, that doesn't automatically make the article great.
However, properly executed long-form content is something that can bring a lot of value.
Now, target audience analysis is a topic that has been covered a lot in the past. However, our research showed that there isn't any content that ranks highly that actually describes the process from start to finish. All of the available articles focused only on a specific part of target audience analysis.
We saw our chance and decided to fill in that gap. How successful we were, only time will tell.
If you plan to use long-form content in your long-term marketing strategy, here are some things you need to know:
- It takes a lot of time to develop this kind of content (for the example above, it took us nearly 50 hours from researching to publishing; and that doesn't count in time spent on promotion)
- Cover an area that hasn't been covered before or at least do it in a way that no one has done before
- Don't try to compete with the big guys (you can create the best beginner's guide to SEO ever made, but you will never outrank MOZ)
- Be ready to heavily promote it (that kind of content deserves to be seen)
- Be patient, you are aiming for long-term results here
As a smaller business, you have to be ready to spend a lot of time promoting your articles. The promotion should result in increased traffic and increased number of links that point towards it. More traffic and more SEO juice mean your ranking is also going to go up.
If the quality is good enough, this kind of content will build your brand authority and brand visibility.
The real benefit of this approach (as well as the skyscraper technique) is the long-term results. When your content gets enough exposure and has a decent ranking, it will start to attract links naturally, and that has the potential to significantly boost your rankings and organic traffic.
Explain One Specific Thing In Great Detail
Another great way to create valuable content that can make an impact in niches with strong content saturation is to take one narrow subject and cover it in extreme detail.
The main challenge of this approach is that you really need to know what you are talking about. Providing tips from personal experience is practically unavoidable.
Before you decide to give it a try, everything mentioned so far still applies. Be sure that no one else has done it before or that you can do it in a significantly better way.
If you are describing how to do something, your work has to be backed up with screenshots. If you want to take it to the next level, add some instructional videos.
Here is an example.
An article that covers how to find long-tail keywords from Backlinko. Narrow area, lots of screenshots, some useful graphics and a few pro tips spread throughout it.
In contrast, Ahrefs has this guide on keyword research which is only one step back from Backlinko's topic and the article has almost 5k words which puts it in one of the 2 categories we mentioned before.
That just goes to show you how crucial is to pick the right target area. The narrower you go, the less competition you will have.
Use Controversy To Your Advantage
One of the best ways to get noticed today is to express an unpopular opinion. Like it or not, we live in a hugely polarized society in many sectors.
- Intel vs. AMD
- Mozilla vs. Chrome
- Android vs. iOS
- Desktop vs. Mobile.
Not to mention race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliations and other things that make people sit on opposite sides of the table.
Controversy naturally attracts people because it questions their beliefs and stances on different matters. Yeah, it sucks when someone proves you are wrong, but it feels that much better to show someone else you were right.
How to use this for content marketing purposes?
First, you must avoid the trap of creating factually incorrect content just for the sake of expressing a different opinion. Don't get us wrong, if you've done some testing that showed how a standard technique isn't useful anymore and you are sure the data is correct, then go ahead. Share your findings with the world.
Sometimes just changing a perspective can do the trick.
Topics like „Why You Should Make As Many Mistakes As Possible At The Start Of Your Projects“ or „Why You Shouldn't Use Skyscraper Technique For Link Building.“ This is the perfect time to put your creativity to good use.
Just remember that the content still has to be useful and provide fresh insights. Having a provocative title that stands above incorrect information or above information that has nothing to do with it is the definition of clickbait. And nobody likes click bait.
This type of content won't necessarily bring you a lot of links, but it has the potential to go viral and bring in a lot of visitors. And it can bring value in niches with strong content saturation.
Earning Links Instead Of Building It
A huge perk of concentrating your content marketing efforts in this direction is the potential to naturally earn links without spending a huge amount of time and money on promotion.
All of the top ranking sites reached their authority levels by featuring content that is worth linking to. You don't reach the level of Forbes or Entrepreneur relying only on guest posting.
If you are going to take only one thing home with you, let it be this – no matter how competitive your niche is, you have to build content worth linking to if you are to see any long-term results.
Photo credit: nickboos