This is the second part of a three posts counting guide to building link targeted content. Part one was titled Researching for Inspiration & Brainstorming for Ideas.
The first part of this series was a selection of tips on how to use your surroundings to come up with interesting ideas that can lead to great amounts of traffic, attention and links. After you’ve carefully selected the idea of your choice, it’s time to prepare yourself thoroughly and to turn that idea into a content page that’s capable of reaching the audience that you’ve always wanted to target.
Creating Killer Content
There are many characteristics of killer content, most of which are important enough to make or break your launch. Misuse of images, boring pages, bad language or other distracting factors can lead to failure. Remember that a even a flagship is as strong as its weakest link.
Your flagship does not necessarily have to be a boat, by DC3-Detroit
A superb headline can create a massive amount of attention for just a mediocre article, but a bad headline can result in a killer peace of content that doesn’t get noticed. Make sure to give your content the headline that it deserves, but don’t overdo it.
Also, don’t forget to try to get a related keyword into your headline. Because a part of the webmasters that link to your page will use the original title as anchor text, this will increase the possibility that you’ll end up ranking for those keywords. Don’t force in a keyword, though. A good headline prevails over a keyword rich headline.
Although you may choose to submit your own piece of content to Digg and StumbleUpon (or let someone submit it for you), you’ll probably -and hopefully- won’t submit it to every social media platform out there. If you want to increase the chance of hitting the frontpage of social news sites that you don’t even know exist, you’ll have to make sure that the first paragraph is a great one. People who submit stuff to social media websites regularly -me included-, often use the first (or one of the first) lines of text and use it as the description of the submission. Make it easier for them AND make it more likely to hit the front page by creating your own description that’s disguised as an opening paragraph.
The appearance of a page can either be informational (mostly text), it can be visual (images all over the place), or it can be usable (a tool, or movable objects). Of course, a page can be a mix of the above, but usually, only one will be the upper hand. Make sure
If you’ve created an information page, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use images, but use them wisely. The text is the most important of the page, so make sure that the images you use don’t distract your readers. In stead, you could spice it up a notch with graphical text images, a great header, or interesting charts for example. The images must serve the rest of the content. Oh, and don’t forget to use that spell check.
If you’re building a page that’s mostly visual, it’s tempting to stuff it with as many images and as many different colors as possible. However, using too many images, a lot of different colors, or even mixing up different styles can make your page look cluttered and unclear. If you focus on a single (or just a few) images in stead, take your time when selecting colors and try to keep the page in a single style, it’ll be much easier to ‘understand’ and to digest. Try to avoid the most common stock images, though, or try to make them look differently in stead.
The fact that you’re creating a page that’s meant to be ‘used’, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be interesting to look at. While the focus should be on clarity, ease of use and the end result, attractiveness definitely shouldn’t be neglected.
Nothing is worse than reading a great post on a blog or a great article on a website, and you can’t find the name of the author anywhere. Or his or her email address.
Provide as much information as possible. This will not only look much more professional, but it’ll also help you to build a personal brand and it increases the chance of someone actually contacting you. You might provide a contact button, but if I can’t find out who to contact, I probably won’t give it a try.
Ask for help
I don’t consider myself to be a very good writer and I really suck at programming. Although I’m trying to improve it, I also can’t design very well. Just like me, you probably don’t own all of these skills as well, so that’s why you’ll have to get some help from time to time.
The relationship between the quality of content and the amount of attention is an exponential one. A slight increase in quality (the difference between your design skills and those of your friend/ colleague/ business partner) can cause a massive increase in attention. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you can’t be the best in everything.
Besides increasing the possibility of success, asking help also saves you time and it can improve your business network as well.
Unlike some seem to think, preparation does not start one day before the planned launch. Preparation starts on the day that you decide what you’re going to build, it’s more time consuming than most people think and it’s a key factor in any launch.
Good preparation ensures a save flight, by The Library of Congress
Network like a pro
Networking does not start after your product launch, press release or whatever you’re distributing. It starts weeks before that. Contact journalists and try building up a relationship. This does not only benefit you now, but it will be an advantage when you’re trying to reach that bigger audience next time as well. A PR pitch has more effect if you know the one you’re sending the pitch to, even if you happen to know this person for just a short while yet.
Try to create a powerful social online profile, such as a Digg or StumbleUpon profile. You’ll need all the luck of the world if you try to reach Digg’s front page with a profile that you’ve created just ten minutes ago.
Use the people you know. Friends, family members or other people in your personal network that happen to know someone that owns a related website or that participates online in any way, might be able to help you promoting your piece as well. Don’t spam them for every thing you publish, though, or don’t look surprised if you have difficulties reaching them again if you do…
Preparing your target list
You’ve already done research in your niche and you’ve probably kept track of your competitors as well. Hopefully, you’ve saved all this data, because this data can jump start your target press list.
Check out which news websites, bloggers and portals have linked to related stories that went hot in the past and you’ll end up with a list of targets that are both interested in the subject and capable of making your launch a success.
Although some of these points may seem silly, there are several things you shouldn’t forget to check. You wouldn’t be the first one that almost launched a very successful campaign, but ended up in a ‘Top 10 Stupid Marketing Mistakes of the Year’ list in stead…
– do you have sufficient bandwidth or do you have shared hosting?
email usage & contact info
– is important info, such as your email address, correctly displayed on your website and does it work?
double check the page
– double check for things like layout and multiple browser compatibilities. Let a friend check it out, for example.
– don’t forget to include your analytics code on the content page.
– re-read the entire page word for word to make sure that everything is spelled out correctly.
Even a slight mistake or less attractive feature can turn a great piece of content into an almost great piece of content. And almost great just isn’t good enough. If you can’t make something exceptional yourself, ask help, input or advice from someone who can.
Although some might try to, you can’t create a successful content marketing campaign overnight. Solid preparation is key and this starts days (but more often weeks) in advance. If you want to be successful next week, you’ll have to lay the foundation today and start building tomorrow.
Stay tuned -or subscribe to the RSS- for the last part of this series, which will be titled ‘Launching, Monitoring & After Care’.