Join David Booth for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style, part of SEO Foundations.
- Defining and understanding your target audience is the first step to writing content for them. And knowing who you're writing for, what you'll be writing about, and how you should be writing it, will ultimately make the content-development process clear and simple. Search engines, as well as users, value rich quality and relevant content, so it's important that you keep this in mind before you start typing away on your ideas. The first step is to define your target audience. Attracting just anyone to your website isn't so hard. It's attracting the right kind of people and offering the right topics in the right tone and style that's a challenge.
A good way to start is simply to ask the following question: Who are the people that we want visiting our site, and what roles would they play in an organization. From here, we can go through the exercise of understanding how they're using online channels and where we might be able to message or engage them. A great tool to start off with is the Forrester Technographics Profile tool. This tool can help provide insight into how your end consumer uses different technologies today. For example, if we were targeting a group of U.S. males between the ages of 45 and 54, we can see that the majority of them are what we call "spectators".
This means that they often spend time on blogs, videos, podcasts, forums and reviews, but they're reading and not necessarily contributing. Knowing this, we might tailor our content to these formats, and we know we'll need to work harder to get any user-generated content from these folks. Once we know what kinds of content our target audience is consuming, and we've identified who they are, we'll need to dive in and look at our topics. Ultimately, users are typing keywords into search engines, and the keywords remain the core and foundation of SEO.
So when it comes to choosing topics, we'll want to tie them to the keywords that we've chosen based on relevance, search volume and competition during our formal keyword research process. You'll also want to look at tools like Google Trends to monitor industry trends and understand what's popular among your target audience and what's being searched for and discussed. Matching your topics to what's popular and being searched for, will maximize the size of the potential audience that you're catering to. Next, you can employ the concept of "filling in the gaps".
Odds are good that somebody else already wrote something about your topic, and the last thing the Internet needs is more pages talking about the same old thing. Instead, figure out what's missing out there and fill in those holes. Monitor what your competitors are writing about, but more importantly, monitor what they're not writing about. These are great opportunities for you to offer unique perspectives and even more value. Once we've identified who we're writing for and what we're writing about, the last thing we need to do is define our content angles. This is really nothing more than your approach to writing content, and it should be consistent and appropriate to the audience you're speaking to.
Are you writing technical articles for rocket scientists to read, or light-hearted commentaries on the state of the entertainment industry? These are very different tones you'll use for each. And above all, remember that while we're doing all this to support business objectives, and ultimately, some kind of sales, no one wants to read a blatant sales pitch. We need offer up something of real value: content that compelling and useful to the reader. It's important to establish trust from the beginning, and by providing this value, you've then earned the right to make it clear that there's a desired course of action a reader can take.
When you're deciding how to angle and position your content, you'll want to consider a couple more areas of importance. First, be original. Whatever you write, take the time to make sure that it's unique and that it comes from your own voice. You want to bring something new to the table that will excite your readers, that they can't find anywhere else. Whether you decide to be humorous or put a creative twist on your content, it needs to keep them engaged, or even entertained, from beginning to end. When they're done reading it, they should be thinking: "I now know something interesting "that I didn't know before." Or even better, they'll be thinking: "I need to share that with my friends." From a format perspective, you'll want to think about the style of content you're putting together.
Will you be writing a blog post or informative-style articles? Are you taking a comparative-style, where you contrast Product A with Product B? What about discussing a before-and-after scenario, or a how-to walk-through? And remember that the content isn't just text. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and you can even use video to capture sights and sound to convey complex concepts or make something tangible to a user. By understanding who you're writing for, what you're writing about, and what style you're writing in, you'll be cementing the foundations of thoughtful, unique and relevant content that will wow both humans and search engines alike.
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- What is SEO?
- Understanding how search engines index content
- Researching keywords
- Using SEO tools
- Optimizing pages for keywords
- Optimizing code and site structure
- Building links to your content
- Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
- Analyzing content quality
- Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
- Promoting your content via social media
- Measuring SEO effectiveness
- Setting up Google+ Local
- Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
- Configuring sites for mobile