There are many ways to produce great online content, and this tutorial will teach you
alternative options for building content that people actually want to read. You’ll see that it’s no
longer necessary to produce web pages or other content around a certain keyword just to rank
first on Google. Great content will get you those results and more.
If you learn how to become an industry expert/leader, an industry hub for content, and a
trusted source on Google, anything you produce will automatically rank first even without a
focus on SEO. However, you must be willing to do the work outlined here to make that happen.
STEP 1. WHAT WE MEAN BY “CONTENT”
This particular tutorial will not teach you how to create formats such as videos or infogragphics
or white papers. Rather, it will offer ideas on how you can produce many different types of
content in any format.
STEP 2. HOW MUCH CONTENT SHOULD YOU PRODUCE?
The book “Accelerate” offers a great baseball analogy on how to have content marketing
success. The graphic below shows that for 2011 MLB statistics, 75% of all hits were singles. Very
few were doubles, triples or home runs. This shows that you just need to consistently get on
base to win games.
It’s the same with content marketing. To rank first on the search engines, you just need to
consistently produce good content. Sometimes you might hit that home run, but if you don’t
you’ll still do very well by continually providing good online content. Start with one or two
hours a week to do some basic things and then increase your time from there.
STEP 3. TYPES OF CONTENT
There are five 5 different types of interview formats:
- In person – You videotape yourself asking questions to an industry expert.
- Conference – Attend a conference of leaders in your industry and interview them.
- Home Office – Interviews done at your home office.
- Skype Interview – Conducting an interview via Skype.
Remember that when you publish a video interview you should also publish the interview
transcript so Google can find it.
- Questionnaires – This method involves asking people questions, having them answer and publishing the results. Get a list of technical questions related to some topic in your industry and email it to industry leaders, partners, and vendors. Ask them to get back to you with answers and then publish results. In return for their participation, you can mention who took survey when you publish it. Questionnaires provide unique content to publish, and often those who participated will link to it as well, giving you more exposure.
Reach out to influential people within your industry and interview them. These can be top
journalists, bloggers, even competitors. (See our other tutorials on how to find these
people.) While you’re talking with them, convince them to also interview you so you can
build up your own brand.
Lists are some of the easiest content to produce. Examples include “The Top XX Blogs of
2012” or “The Ten Best ______.” You can fill the blanks in any number of ways, but know
that simple lists are the most effective.
You want people to find your lists and link to them by producing unique content that gets
shared, tweeted, etc. After you publish the list, a good promotional marketing strategy is to
reach out to the people who made the top rankings on your list, show them this, and
perhaps get them to link back to you. They may want to advertise that they’re one of the
Ten Best Bloggers for 2012.
A quick aside about media formats. You goal should be to spice up boring content or a
simple format by adding graphics, videos, or other non-text items. Search for an older list
that many people linked to and re-work it in a better format. Then reach out to the same
people who linked to that older list and see if they’ll link to you with the new list. This is a
great way to influence people as well as to create great content.
Examples of informational content include White Papers and Definitions/Explanations.
“How to Get Ready for Mobile Recruitment” would be a good white paper topic published
as a PDF guide. Rather than just creating a downloadable document, require that your
readers provide some information to get this PDF. You can then use this information to start
networking with the readers.
Take some extra time to create something exceptional and promote it so people see it as
valuable and want to have it.
Wikipedia is perfect example of a “Definitions/Explanations” format. If you are a maintenance company that handles many sites, put out a guide that defines or explains building maintenance for specific buildings such as schools or government offices. Make the content great and create a landing page so people must provide information to download the guide.
Similar to the informational format, the instructional document tells people how to do
something, like a tutorial or a resource center. It’s generally not just one page but multiple
pages in a nice format with videos, images, steps and resources needed to perform a
To trick Google into seeing you as an expert in this area, create and publish a research
project, not just a plain blog post. This will make you an industry leader on this topic and
Google will reward you with a number one ranking.
If you don’t have time to create a full tutorial, create a list of tips. This is just a condensed
version of the tutorial with helpful information about the topic. Again, create this as a PDF
and promote it online.
You can find good content in one hour a week by searching out similar information. Put a
custom date range in Google for several years in the past to find old content with good
information that you can repurpose, consolidate or re-create. You can’t steal or republish
this information, but you can use it for ideas.
Take the links you find and put them into a program like Open Site Explorer to see who
linked to these documents in the past. You can then reach out to them to see if they will link
to your new page, and it will spread from there.
5. POLLS & SURVEYS
Polls are a great way to produce unique content and get highly influential people to link to
you. There are two types: “How To” polls and “Trending Topic” polls.
For example, for a “How To” poll, a blogger reaches out each year to SEO experts, polls
them on what they think are the top local search engine ranking factors, and publishes the
results. Generally these polls are very reputable and gather a large amount of data so
they’re very accurate. Thousands link to this page because it’s published every year.
As a business owner, you could pick a topic on how to do something, poll your industry
leaders on it, and publish your results. Once published, promote the people who
contributed to the poll. This can establish you as an industry hub, which Google finds
example of “Trending Topics” would be polling, say, 850 businesses to ask them what
they would pay for business functionality on Twitter. This is not just a questionnaire. It’s a
professional survey that others will talk about because of its unique content. This will get
links to your website, and again, rank you high on search engines.
To get ideas for this category, go to Yahoo Answers and type in various industry topics. The
results will help you develop ideas to poll people about.
This isn’t really a type of content you can control, and it’s difficult to make happen because
there is no magic formula to make content go viral. The best advice is to stop aiming for this
and instead create really great content.
As we stated earlier, you don’t need to hit that home run every time to be successful, you
just need to get on base by consistently producing great content. Focus on the methods in
this tutorial and you will have great success even if you don’t go viral.
Become a reporter within your industry to report on the latest trends or data. It might not
be a big story, but you can still report on what’s going on. Do it consistently and you just
might come across that “big story.” When you report on what’s happening in your niche,
you become an industry leader that Google will reward with great rankings.
Product reviews and those that compare/contrast types of content are the basic review
A product review will generally compare features of a certain product or service. Look for
products, books, blogs, test ideas and processes within your industry that you can review, and
then create a great format with graphics, pictures, etc.
9. REVIEWS – CONTRAST & COMPARE
Comparing and contrasting a product or service is also helpful to readers. To find topics,
type a keyword, product or service into Google followed by “vs.” For example, type in
“HVAC vs” and you’ll have a list of items to compare or review. You can also do this in
Rather than writing about a keyword or something just for search engine ranking, you’ll
have topics that people are talking about and want to know about.
10. CASE STUDY
Case studies are also known as “Problem Posts,” and they have a very simple formula.
Describe the problem or case question you want readers to solve, show the solution for the
problem with organized data, and publish the results in a PDF or video format. You can also
create simple blog post.
The great thing about publishing case study results is that you don’t have to be elaborate to
serve the purpose. Sometimes a simple graphic can get the message across, as in a visual
This formula works over and over, and one good case study is often better than one
thousand blog posts. If you can afford it, pay money to get polls and surveys so you can
have good data for your case studies, and spend the time it takes to do this. Your customers
and followers will love it, and you’ll position yourself as an industry hub for the topics.
Check Yahoo Answers to find questions people are asking about a topic so you can create a
relevant case study. Read what others have done and make yours better with videos,
graphics and easy-to-read information.
Ranting allows you to say what’s on your mind and tell it like it is. A good rant can be
fantastic content and is great for getting a discussion started. If it’s done respectfully, it can
even be fun. People who are frustrated with that particular product or service will enjoy
Rants also offer you the opportunity to provide tips on how to improve whatever you’re
ranting about, again making you look like an industry leader.
12. TELL A STORY
People like to hear stories, especially ones that motivate them or share good news. Tell a
story of success, or pain or thought on what could be. Popular stories tell where or how
someone can be successful at something.
Share your own personal experiences or those of others, but always focus on motivating
your followers. And don’t just write it–make it visual whenever you can.
13. PREDICTION POSTS
This is content about things that you think will happen in an upcoming time period such as a
month, a quarter or a year. Make it relevant to your industry whenever possible, and when
you publish your predictions you should also publish which of your previous predictions
14. WHAT IF
We ask ourselves these questions all the time. What if cold fusion were possible? What if
we could live on Mars? Your job is to make this content about your product or service.
People really like reading this kind of content, and you can pick up a lot of followers by using
While this content can be weird, crazy, or unbelievable, it often gets the best results.
Sometimes it’s as easy as creating a picture that generates an emotion–no writing involved.
Emotional content gets lots of followers and can sometimes go viral.
Again, try to make the topic about your industry so you can get brand reputation value from it.
Contests are a great way to engage people socially and get them to follow you. Be creative.
Have a blog contest where you ask readers for topics and give a prize to the best one. (You’ll
also get great blog ideas for free!)
Image contests are easy to upload from a smart phone or computer. Pandora recently ran
an image contest where people designed their own bracelets on screen with drag and drop
beads. Even those who didn’t win published their bracelet designs on their websites, which
told people about Pandora.
Produce contest applications that people can use and publish. Most folks want to show off
something they’ve done if they’re proud of it. Like Pandora, people will then be promoting
your company to all their followers. Who doesn’t like free advertising?
Don’t shy away from listing costs for your products or services. People search for prices, so
they might as well find them on your site rather than your competitor’s pages.
Along with providing the cost, also give people answers they may ask about the products,
and tell them why your company is the best provider of these items. Perhaps you can show
them how to save money using your product or how to lower the overall costs of using the
things in your industry.
This generates much better results than a boring blog that just lists products/services and
prices and says why people should buy from you. If it’s good information, people will use
you and will promote your company to others.
TIP #1: SHARE WHAT’S WORKED FOR YOU
If you’ve used or produced content that has been very effective, please share that with us on
the question and answer page of the WebBizIdeas site. Business owners can also come to the
site to see what others have done and develop more ideas for their own great content.
To successfully create great content that will boost your SEO rankings, follow these steps:
- Review the types of content in this tutorial.
- Make a commitment to implement some of these ideas. Start with one per week.
- When deciding how much content to produce, remember that quality trumps quantity. Go for the consistent base hits rather than the home run.
By consistently publishing unique and interesting content, you will become an industry
leader, an expert, a hub of information and a trusted source on Google. Once that happens,
you will find yourself with more links and social followers than you ever thought possible.