Guest: @mattmcgee. @mattmcgee has been in the online marketing game since the late nineties with a specialty in SEO and blogging/social media. @mattmcgee is an independent online marketing consultant. And @mattmcgee is also the Executive News Editor for @sengineland and @marketingland.
@shuey03: What is one thing about you that none of your co-workers know?
@mattmcgee: Hmmmm. I don’t think they know that I was an extra in “Thelma & Louise.” woot! Completely serious! Can’t see my face, but I walk right behind Geena Davis in bar scene at beginning.
How do you go about brainstorming topics for your content generation
For me, reading is the first thing that helps generate content ideas. It helps to be really curious about others’ content. As you read more and more, you discover what writers/bloggers you like. Study those people. Why does their content work? Other idea sources: your analytics (what are people searching for?), Q&A sites, your readers, keyword research, etc.
I did a series last summer on this –> Series: 5 Ways To Find New Blog Content http://t.co/cALAQoys . One more thing. You know those studies we write about on @sengineland & @Marketingland? Lots of great info nuggets in there. Download those studies and look for under-reported details, or find things to question/disagree with, etc. So many of them. The Pew studies, the Exact Target studies, Hitwise, comScore, etc. So much data to draw from.
@KeriMorgret: Some of our most popular posts on @SEOmoz have come from seeing the same question asked over and over in Q&A.
@AlanBleiweiss: I read other peoples content to help give me ideas, but mostly because I like stalking people.
@AnnieCushing: Google Insights is also a great resource for content brainstorming. I did a post about it: http://t.co/W5ASiSwl .
@ThunderSEO: We love this content strategy generator tool from @seogadget. Great for checking out the landscape https://t.co/wTZF4XIK .
@jonhyne: Is “KW Unavailable” impacting your content research/ideas & strategy?
@mattmcgee: It’s a pain in the arse, but not affecting my content development/writing, no.
@jasonmun: Would you also look at what’s trending in the social media space to generate content ideas?
@mattmcgee: No, I normally don’t write to the trends. But we do report on daily news/trends at SEL and ML.
@MikeNicklas1: I think that’s a great idea..that way you can amplify your results because there is an immediate demand for your content.
Once you have a topic idea, how do you go about building a headline that will catch people’s attention?
Headline depends on goal of the article. Sometimes I write with SEO in mind – to rank highly. Example: http://t.co/8eoXNIex . Headline depends on goal of the article. Sometimes I write with SEO in mind – to rank highly. Example: http://t.co/8eoXNIex . You should see an old article ranking highly for “small business reputation management.” That was a goal back then. So I wrote the headline accordingly for that purpose.
For others, I try to think what headline will work better socially. Very recent example –> http://t.co/wo9LcaGh . Again, study other great writers. Which headlines get YOU to click? Also, this from @copyblogger –> http://t.co/AopRJIln .
@dan_shure: I did a little post on @SEOmoz about writing titles / headlines http://t.co/gAdzsKv5 .
@jasonmun: Are there any “power” words in headlines that you have found to have higher CTR?
@bryanphelps: For headlines, just put “BREAKING:” in front of it, regardless of how non-newsworthy it is.
@mattmcgee: I haven’t studied certain words vs. other words. But I like what @bryanphelps just said.
@dan_shure: Power words – killer, astonishing, unbelievable, mistakes, free, missing, 7 ways to__, astonishing, mind-blowing, irresistible.
@mattmcgee: I actually find myself skipping past a lot of those words/headlines. Too overused. Like, if you ever find me using “killer” in a headline on my own SEO blog, you have permission to shoot on sight. Unless I’m saying “Google killer” or something like that.
@MirandaM_EComm: Anticipating Matt’s next blog post, 10 Astonishingly Killer Tips for Massive, Unbelievable Traffic.
@mattmcgee: ROFL! God forbid…..
@lyena: Don’t you think that the reason those words are overused is because they work?
@mattmcgee: Use the words that you think your audience will respond to.
@shuey03: Can you get the best of both worlds? social and seo value?
@mattmcgee: Sure! The big “home run” posts can be written with both SEO and social in mind.
@scottkrager: I use Topical Brainstorm. It almost feels like cheating http://t.co/skq4neqN .
@ThunderSEO: We use tools like @socialmention & @topsy to see how our audience is using the topic in convo. @quora q&as are also useful.
@scott_dodge: All great tools! I wrote about them (for use in a different purpose) here: http://t.co/ZZdGnIqw .
@kmullett: Anyone else just start doing some google operator searches for inspirational titles and subjects? No? Just me?
@jasonmun: Speaking of tools, don’t forget Zemanta http://t.co/kLvDBLLD .
What are the key things to remember when building and structuring your content?
Hmmm. First, remember who you’re writing for & what your goal is for each piece of content. Write what you know. No BS. Unless you’re writing to learn from readers, which also works when done right. Re: structure, I’ve really come around to believing in short sentences and SHORT PARAGRAPHS, especially. Twitter effect. Also, break up longer pieces with plenty of sub-headings, bullet lists, etc. Content HAS to be easy to read.
@shuey03: @mattmcgee what do you mean by “to learn from your readers“?
@mattmcgee: Sometimes on my own blog, I’ve done posts that are questions/topics I want to learn about.
@shuey03: so to glean info from other, more educated peeps in the comments…
@ThunderSEO: 1) who is your audience 2) what should they take away from your content 3) how does this relate to your business goals.
@mitchmonsen: Most important point here; people get caught up writing on the topic that they forget to write so readers do something.
@KeriMorgret: Know where you’re going with the post. Don’t make the reader read it three times to figure it out.
@shuey03: In your opinion how many words should an ideal post be? what’s too long?
@mattmcgee: I have a stock answer for that one. Articles should be as many words as it takes to say what needs to be said, not one word longer. http://t.co/OtJBJ920 .
What steps should you take to optimize your content for the search engines? (what’s over doing it?)
If just starting out, I think you have to write more with SEO in mind. What keywords do you want associated w/your blog? It’s like you’re training the spiders at the beginning. Trying to earn trust and create authority with great, topical content. After you’ve earned trust (via links & social mentions, etc.), you have more freedom and can worry less about SEO, I think. I love what @graywolf said here: http://t.co/Dg3mNEdj “Once you are trusted…you are living in the land of milk and honey.”
@KeriMorgret: Don’t write for the search engines, but do a quick read and make sure you’ve at least included your keywords.
@debbiemaddox: So history of content affects spiders too? or is it overall quantity that you can’t get being new?
@mattmcgee: I definitely believe in history as part of a site’s overall quality profile. Some sites have such a solid history, they can rank for almost anything. (see: Mashable).
How do you build authenticity and thought leadership in your content?
By giving your knowledge away. No other way that I know of, at least none that work as well. In our industry (SEO), you pretty much have to blog. Ask @mblumenthal what blogging did for his thought leadership. Write great, smart, shareable stuff. Share it w/people who might share it w/others. Connect via smart blog comments, Twitter… If you’re not willing to give your knowledge (thoughts) away, you can’t be a thought leader.
@dan_shure: Also by not coming across as having an alternative motive – like selling something or wanting to be popular.
@mattmcgee: Also, be visible where your industry/audience is. Heck, even the Dalai Lama is on Twitter, right? Wallflowers are generally not thought leaders. Stick your neck out. I got a kick in the butt about that in 2006 from @stuntdubl – changed my life.
@victorpan: What sort of content works the best to garner authenticity?
@mattmcgee: Probably depends on your industry/audience. But helpful content often wins the day. Tips, advice, etc.
@shuey03: Any final words of wisdom for us tonight?
@mattmcgee: Hmmmm. All of my favorite words of wisdom come from John Wooden. Read one of his books.
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