When brand marketers, SMB owners, web onlookers, blog writers for hire and other online aficionados look back at 2013, what do you think they’ll seek to change for 2014? My hope is that they’d want to reduce or eliminate the use of lists across content feeds.
It’s easy to see why—blog writers have used the crutch of lists for y-e-a-r-s. Really. Look at this link, where Problogger Darren Rowse wrote about the advantages of using lists to build website traffic. He was right then…8 years ago. In 2005. That seems like an entire generation (or maybe two) ago.
Today’s web copywriters still lean on the creative crutch of lists. Maybe it was the left field success of Buzzfeed in 2013 that led to increasingly more lists. Who knows? But the practice needs to stop, before Google starts booting list-laden posts out of search results in its next purge.
Here are my top three tips below (see what I did there?) to give your blog and brand the kickstart that you might desperately need.
1) Build content topics that impact the bottom line
Instead of cheapening your client’s quality content with half-assed lists that readers will likely disregard, especially in B2B circles, why not press forward to a higher mark of work? Keep far away from churning out yet another half-baked list of ‘should haves’ or ‘must do’s’, and brainstorm with others on your team with critical thinking to actually generate leads for your client or company. Ask yourself what type of content marketing strategies can help your client win sales, motivate employees and earn industry kudos. Then roll up the sleeves and pound some keys.
2) Search for high quality topics in low competition searches
The web is extremely competitive. Because of this, doing your job better means thinking more critically than the next guy. Try this: take your company or client’s highest-ranking keyword phrases and plug them into Google. Note the suggestions offered in the top search box, as well as those in the related search section at the bottom of the page. With a little finesse, try to come up with relevant, keenly targeted content blog posts, video essays, infographics and more that directly can boost SEO rankings for your SMB or client.
2) Spend more time focusing on blog writing for hire and guests posts
If your SMB site is either too small or too deep a niche to find a regular, consistent audience, then switch up your efforts. Some call it the 70-30 rule. I call it being efficient. Spend more of your available time (70%) doing content for others (blog writing for hire on industry sites, partner sites and others) and then work 30% on your own site. Focus your efforts on productive, meaningful partnerships, and lay a foundation for greater blog growth down the road. And stay away from creating meaningless lists. After all, it’s 2014. Money time.
Dave M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.