Online content marketing revolves around a spicy mixture of the right ingredients, and too much of any one thing can produce unbearable outcomes. “Content” needs to be thoughtfully understood. For one thing, it needs to be good; but for another it needs to be relevant.
What do we mean by content relevance?
You wouldn’t write about the latest Formula 1 Championship on a foodie blog. This is the most obvious conception of “relevance.” You have to write about stuff that has to do with your website’s topic. There’s always a bit of wiggle room, but if you stray too far, you risk alienating your readers. If you do plan on pushing the boundaries of their patience, then you ought to have a pretty good idea of your public before testing them.
The other aspect of making relevant content is keeping it up to date. You might have a great tech blog, but if you decide to review a laptop from two years ago, you might get some disheartened responses from your readership. Your readers are expecting content that is relevant today, not last year, and, in some cases, not yesterday.
Why is it important to keep your content relevant?
There are three kinds of visitors to your website:
Visitor type 1: Search engine spider
The spider belongs to Google, Bing, or any number of other search engines. These spiders come to your website in order to index its pages so that they’re searchable. One of the things that makes them particularly happy is when content is new. Updating your website by regularly adding new content brings them back more often, which is good for you because your newer content will become visible on searches quicker. They also have the power to read how relevant your content is to other content on the website, which harkens back to the idea of not straying too far from your main theme—the more relevant the content, the better.
Visitor type 2: Returning human visitor
This is the guy or gal who has already been to your website, and is coming back because he knows that you have good, updated content. If you’re doing everything right, this person doesn’t wait for something to pop up on his RSS feed but instead checks your site for new updates daily.
Visitor type 3: New human visitor
It’s his first time at your website. It’s anyone’s guess if he’ll convert, but chances are your information architecture, UX design, and relevant content will have a lot to say about whether he stays or goes.
How you can keep content relevant
The truth is that you know better than anyone about how to keep your content relevant. Maybe this is that logical article that you needed to read in order to realize it. That’s right– the best asset for keeping your content relevant is you, because you have the knowledge about your business’s niche that visitors to your website are most interested in. So we’ll help you along with some hints, but you’re the one who knows where to look.
To start, relevant content naturally stems from a variety of sources. The first and most obvious is the news. Imagine a wedding planning website that has a blog in order to keep current. They’ll want to find cool stories to pass on to readers. We’re not talking about plagiarism, we’re talking about diffusion of information. Doing a quick search for “wedding news”, you see how many outlets of info there are for anything tagged wedding. You could choose to share these stories directly with your readers through social media, or you could dig a little deeper and write your own post. Linking outward to the source articles is a good way to show your readers that you’re in the know.
A second source of relevant content will be your own imagination. You’re in the business. Be creative. Think up something interesting about what it is you do. Let’s say you’re a travel agency. Talk about the year’s most visited destinations by your clientele, which puts a twist on a common theme. What if you’re a t-shirt printing company? Well, why not set up a competition where readers submit their ideas for the funniest t-shirts, and you write an article announcing the top 5 designs, with brief bios of each designer and perhaps even awards. This content is not only relevant, but engaging.
One final source of content is, you guessed it, your competition. Regularly check the websites of your competition to get some ideas from them. Don’t ever copy! Just get inspired.
Content is all for nothing if it’s not regular
If your website has different sections devoted to divergent themes, then make sure you keep content where it belongs. Don’t mix and match too much, because no one likes a dish that’s at once too salty and too sweet. Once you have things set up, and once you figure out how to find ideas for relevant content, now it’s time to set a schedule for yourself. Hold yourself to your standards and your audience will appreciate you for it. Keeping them guessing as to what you will post is good. Keeping them guessing as to when you post is just cruel.
So there it is. You now have the tools you need to start building your content reputation—so let’s get cookin’!