Guest: John Doherty (@dohertyjf). John Doherty is an SEO Consultant with @distilled and works out of their office in NYC. He writes about #seo on his personal blog, the @SEOmoz blog, and the @Distilled blog. John is also speaking on problems link builders face and tools to solve them at the @distilled link love conference.
John Doherty bio: http://bit.ly/yq8FCT.
How does someone with no creativity come up with amazing content ideas?
First I disagree with the “no creativity” part. Creativity comes from inspiration. Inspiration comes from others. I personally use CSS galleries like http://bit.ly/wBS6AL, http://bit.ly/z3Y0Uk, and http://bit.ly/ysgJPD .
You can also use (believe it or not), Pinterest, other sites in your niche (competitor analysis is key).
Personally, I look at these, then unplug from my computer and browse bookstores and brainstorm with coworkers.
@koozai_mike: did a video about creating content in boring niches on @seomoz: http://mz.cm/wR1Kq9.
Something I’ve learned is – the great ideas don’t always come along. So how can we make ok content more shareable. To make content more shareable, it really depends on the medium. Images? Make em big and bold.
Videos? Man, those are hard. We shouldn’t just create content and then make it better.
@5ToolGroup: Go for a long walk with a tape recorder
@dohertyjf: yeah man it actually works well. I go walk around Union Square sometimes.
@garyjmag: or find some great content and repurpose it in a new, interesting format. I mean more of turning long boring white papers into inforgraphics, & linking back to the site
@dohertyjf: Don’t just redo it tho. So many ideas are recycled. Put a new twist on it. Find new data. You can even relaunch content. Or…turn an infographic that flopped into an epic blog post.
@ashbuckles: I really like the idea of approaching failures with new perspective and a new format. Genius.
Once you have some great ideas, how do you effectively scale them?
First if you are trying to get more shares on your content I HIGHLY recommend @danzarrella’s site: http://bit.ly/AdCrjL . IMO there’s not much different from normal social media engagement when trying to get shares on content. hard to scale. I found this post on @inboundorg the other day too, which helps when thinking a/b tweet content: http://bit.ly/w1k0xd .
I did a webinar last week about content marketing w/ @gregmg and talked a/b inhouse vs outsource: http://bit.ly/yo2Qvy . To scale creating great content, you need more resources, as I said. But this isn’t always possible. So where else can you put it? If you have videos, guest post them. Infographics? Chop em up for posts. I think it’s funny that we’re almost talking about whitehat article spinning. Aka getting more out of your content.
Don’t forget PR, as well. Our PR team has been awesome in helping us get high value links. Consider how you can integrate them.
Of course we could talk about tools too. Tools speed up the process to find placements, as we know. We use @buzzstream to save contacts under categories of content, so we can go back easily. But seriously, I wouldn’t think about scaling necessarily. 1 piece of great content will get you further than 5 subpar.
@scotttdodge: Do you use MyBlogGuest at all?
@dohertyjf: I used to use it when I was inhouse. Our outreach team uses it now, I know that.
@scotttdodge Ah, nice. We use it quite a good deal. There’s some surprisingly awesome sites in there.
How does competitive research play into winning links & shares?
Competitive research is KEY in creating content to win links and shares! What content have they created? Where was it placed? Do you want links from there? Who’s linking to that content? Can you get links from them? If they’ve done an infographic, for example, how’d it do? If it wasn’t well-received, why not?
Before you create content, always take away learnings from what your competitors have done. Then, iterate! Do a better, more data-driven infographic. Or do videos if they haven’t. My favorite example of someone setting themselves apart is the elevator company in AUS: http://bit.ly/zvm9Z5 .
As far as shares are concerned, this takes a while to build. So, look at who do your competitors have. I’m not saying steal their influencers, but where are yours?
I could plug @Followerwonk here (and I will). But shares can take longer to build, so consistency is key.
Have a consistent publishing schedule. It’ll take some effort, but figure out your competitor’s publishing schedule. How often do they create content?
I like to use @screamingfrog to crawl their blog and then organize by date if possible. Quick comp research. Also, I gave some links in the webinar I did w/ @zemanta for editorial calendar ideas: http://bit.ly/yo2Qvy .
Seriously, see who’s sharing your competitor’s content online. Just a simple Twitter search will do. Then engage. If they’re already interested in your community, and you have good content, they’ll like to see it.
@Thos003: Content is king. Outreach is Queen. And tools are the court jester that gets all the attention.
@ashbuckles: Sweet Group High demo video. Check it: http://bit.ly/jui6mo .
Besides the overused infographic, what forms of content are best to attract links and shares?
I have to be honest. I’m surprised infographics have been as effective as they are. Some people do them well. Think outside the box. Think about interactive infographics. @distilled has done some very well. In certain circles, presentations can work well. Technical circles produce whitepapers that get referenced.
If you’re in a visual niche, or have access to great images, that can work too. Look at InFocus: http://bit.ly/AaVsEc . Don’t do what CNN does and write travel posts w/ no images. That’s a sure way to fail. Here’s an example. Who wants to read this? http://bit.ly/wkGbdg . There’s too much noise. So we have to set ourselves apart.
In my experience, videos don’t get shared as much as great text content. I’d love to see otherwise tho.
As I said, usually a one-off piece of content doesn’t work as well as consistently done content. Look at the Kony2012 video. They’ve produced 11 other videos, and the 12th took off. Why? I don’t know. But they kept at it. You want people to notice your great content? Keep doing it.
Also, SEOs often think of content as just a marketing tool. But why not create something useful for the bottom line and use that as linkbait? Launch a new product. Launch a registry. Launch something useful. Do outreach. Especially in B2B spaces, this can work very well. Give stuff away for free. This post on @seomoz showed that a mixture of content types has been shown to increase the # of links: http://mz.cm/zhoXbc .
We don’t talk about branding enough in SEO, but I think it’s key to getting more links and shares naturally. We should apply those principles to content we create. This takes careful planning, not one off “oh we need a graphic”.
@kmullett: Events. They are easy content for clients, location & kw rich. One before, one after, plus slides, pictures, video.
@dan_patterson: White papers can be awesome for certain industries. And that’s the key IMO, doing what works for your niche.
@ashbuckles: I think infographics have become less about data viz and more about the format. So many miss the mark.
@shuey03: Free give aways = massive link and share potential.
@dohertyjf: Absolutely, but once again, it depends on the niche. You can’t give away crap either.
What are the pros/cons of video & image formats for attracting links?
Personally, I think Vimeo and Youtube are about the same. I like the look/feel of Vimeo more personally. Of course, Youtube is bigger, so could go further. If Google+ takes off, Youtube will be the go-to. You can’t embed Vimeo there. No surprises I guess.
On Youtube, your video description is basically your meta description. Optimize that. Make your embeds on sites clean. Don’t forget about self-hosted video either. Using tools like Vimeo Pro or Wistia, you can get those shares to your site. As far as images are concerned, you have to stand out (duh). I’ll reference InFocus on The Atlantic again.
Superior images that make you go “WOW”. It’s that WOW factor that gets people these days. Like with infographics. Infographics or visualizations work the same way. This music interactive infographic did so well because of that WOW factor (link in next tweet): http://bit.ly/A3vOE4 . It’s possible to let people share just the video URL as well, using a bit of CSS magic on a video embed. Give them a custom link to tweet. This is what @Wistia does and is why it’s so powerful for video.
I’ve got the code to do a hacked version for Youtube. I’ll throw it up on Github and tweet out the link. Don’t give up on self-hosted video after a couple weeks tho. It can take time to show videos in the SERPs. You need some dev time to put together a video sitemap yourself: http://bit.ly/AfLdxC .
I have a client with a custom video player. Their sitemap was a PITA, but now shows videos in the SERPs.
@kmullett: Why submit video to just one service? I’ve often had 4 video references on one SERP. Blog embed, youtube, twitvid, and FB.
@stephpchang: Think Vimeo also automatically creates video sitemaps?
@dohertyjf: Vimeo Pro does, yep. As does @wistia. Other players don’t necessarily tho.
@kmullett: This is the only video sitemap generator that I have found. i.e. instead of doing them by hand. http://bit.ly/A9qTsk .
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