In the last 2 years Matt Cutts' team at Google has unleashed Panda and Penguin updates to its algorithm in an attempt to make search more relevant for users. "Content marketing" has become the most coined term in online marketing but the principles of creating quality and engaging content have always existed. We have invented the Content Creation Dart Board for a simple game that gives you content inspiration, builds hand eye coordination, works out your arm muscles AND generates much fun.
The Content Creation Dart Board:
Board image created by Jamie Sellars
Rules of the Game:
• Don’t make your business's blog exclusively about promoting your products or services.
• Don’t start regularly blogging followed by a 4 month break.
• Don’t write enticing blog titles followed by a post that doesn't live up to the hype.
• Don’t exclude the date of the blog posts's publication to trick readers.
• Don’t include a load of internal or external links that provide no content or value to the reader.
• Don’t delete negative comments or those of an opposite opinion simply to sculpt the discussion towards one angle.
• Don’t be a Tagging Timmy! If you have to tag, only add a selected few to give your readers other categories to explore on your blog.
• Do keep a good mix of internal and external opinions to avoid your blog becoming another platform for other’s guest posts.
• Do create content that provides real value to the reader.
• Do backup your points with credible, relevant statistics and citations.
• Do break up your text content with images, headers and clever formatting.
• Do proof your copy for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and lies.
• Do explain or reference any industry jargon that novice readers may not understand.
How To Play:
- Print off the dart board, cut out and stick to a safe padded vertical surface.
- Print off the darts image below, cut around each darts. then kick yourself for falling for that. Once the shame subsides, go buy a set of real darts.
- Using your arm, throw a dart at the board. Where it lands is your content for that day. Enjoy making it your own.
Darts Points Explained:
1. Start a Debate
Take an issue or hot topic from that week and give your viewpoint on that issue inviting comments from opposition and supporters.
Launch a client service questionnaire asking your clients and social media users what they think about certain hot topics. Invite them to submit suggestions and feedback. Compile statistics from their responses into a follow up with blog post with key findings.
3. Day in the Life
Get staff members to produce brief articles outlining a day in their working lives. Pieces by staff from all levels of your organisation will give visitors a glimpse behind the scenes.
4. Tools of the Trade
Create a blog post that talks through the essential tools in your industry. Again this gives insight into your profession/business and produces content the industry will link to.
5. Industry Legislation
Produce a detailed article on the legislation governing your industry, products or services. If good enough this can become a reference piece for a lot of industry bods.
6. Best Practices
Sharing your industries best practices and guidelines is a great way to show experience and knowledge establishing you as a hub of your industry community.
7. Future Trends
If you work in an ever-changing industry then utilise that valuable insight to share views on the changing nature of certain elements. Three to six months after the first post do a follow-up post where you revisit the predictions or trends and evaluate their status.
8. Industry Glossary
In any industry there are technical terms and insider references that may be alien to the novice visitor. Create a glossary of industry terminology and language to build out these terms for search engine traffic and provide visitors with a quick and easy guide for reference.
9. Respond To A Blog Post
Source a controversial or heavily commented industry blog post and produce a response to it outlining a personal or corporate view on the topic. Link this to the original blog post and let the author know you’ve done a response blog.
10. New Products
Produce a post on any new products or services being launched in recent months as these can help build out long tail searches for product keywords and inform visitors.
Write a blog post featuring common misconceptions in the industry then put them right. This could encourage comments, debate and discussion amongst industry movers and shakers.
12. In Development
Similar to the New Products, give visitors an insight into what’s currently in development at your business.
13. New Hires
Produce a press release about the creation of local jobs which may potentially get picked up by councils, job sites and industry publications.
14. Event Takeaways
Produce a list of points that summarise the key takeaways or speaker’s points from a recent industry conference or seminar.
15. Internal Process
Write an article on a particular internal process being as technical as you want. This can be a great reference piece for industry members and inform visitors.
16. Who To Follow
Create a list of the industry experts, partner businesses or staff members your visitors should follow on Twitter. This can be shared across social media networks.
Create checklists of various elements to be successful in your industry.
18. Industry Tips
Produce a simple list of tips for clients or those in your industry.
19. The Beginner's Guide To…
Produce a beginner’s guide to one of the services or products you work with. These guides will provide insight for those visitors who are new to your industry or offering.
20. Training Materials
Materials for training, sales and/or marketing purposes that can be tweaked by an editor and published to the web to gain links and long tail traffic.
Take a moment to stare deep into Matt Cutts' eyes and dream of the day he ranks your site number one for a generic key phrase.
I'd love to hear your scores (thoughts) on any of the above in the comments section below.