How to Stay Creative – SEO-Driven Content Strategy
In order to have successful creative content marketing, blog authors and SEO specialists must work together. The SEO team analyzes the interests of the audience and makes a list of topics and keywords with high search potential. The authors’ task is to figure out how to cover the topic in a relevant, original way. This principle of organizing the workflow is the most effective but it has a drawback. The proposed directions do not always coincide with the interests of bloggers. It’s not particularly inspiring. The way out of the situation is to approach work tasks creatively. Even the most boring topic can be revealed in an interesting way if you look at it from an unusual angle.
Where does creativity come from and can it be pumped up?
According to a study conducted by Vinod Menon and Lucina Q.Uddin from Stanford University School of Medicine, three neural networks in our heads are responsible for creative thinking. The central executive network (CEN) is triggered when we make spontaneous decisions, perform multiple actions at the same time, or try to find different answers for the same problem. On the contrary, The salience network (SN) allows you to focus on one task for a long time and make decisions as carefully as possible. The default mode network (DMN) helps the brain relax. This system works when we do things that do not require mental concentration or procrastinate.
In everyday life, these systems are activated one by one depending on which activity is our priority at the moment. The brain regions in which CEN, SN, and DMN are concentrated are activated simultaneously only when engaging in creativity. The default system generates non-standard ideas. The executive helps to figure out how to bring them to life. The Relevance System uses a creative solution to achieve the original goal.
We’ve figured out how creative thinking works. Now a logical question arises. Can these mechanisms be stimulated in order to generate creative ideas at the snap of a finger?
Easy Ways to Stay Creative
- Take breaks. Contrary to stereotypes, time management teaches you to manage not time but attention. It depends on concentration if can solve the problem as quickly as possible or waste time on the computer all day. The best option is to track your fatigue threshold and create an individual work schedule based on it. Breaks in work can be used profitably. After prolonged stress, the brain goes into a passive mode which increases the chance of sudden creative inspiration. This is the same default system.
- Get rid of information noise. The modern corporate culture requires us to multitask. Every now and then we send out working emails, correspond in messengers, answer calls. However, our consciousness is not able to simultaneously process several streams of information. We have to constantly switch. As a result, attention is diffused at the expense of productivity. If you are faced with a responsible task, try not to be distracted by external triggers. Close unnecessary tabs in the browser and set silent mode on your smartphone. It is better to put it in the far drawer of the table altogether or sit down at a secluded table in a cafe.
- Write by hand. Taking notes on a laptop or smartphone is not the same as writing down a thought in a notebook. In a study by psychologists, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, it has shown that people use a wider vocabulary when writing by hand. Typing is much faster, so there is simply not enough time to find suitable words. In addition, it is much easier to reveal an idea using a graphic sketch, table, or flowchart on paper.
- Go for a walk. Even minor physical activity improves blood circulation. The brain receives more oxygen when standing than sitting. Walking requires no conscious effort, so you can fully concentrate on the creative process. Walking helps to organize thoughts, find unusual solutions, improve memory, and increase attentiveness.
10 Ways to Present Content Creatively and Improve SEO at the Same Time
1. Have a team brainstorming session
It is not necessary for every meeting participant to offer out-of-the-box solutions. Usually, in the process of brainstorms, unspoken leaders appear. These are speakers who generate one idea after another. They fill the airwaves, and the rest of the team does not have enough time to speak. People do not want to interrupt the interlocutor out of politeness. Others hesitate to voice ideas because they may seem less interesting.
The Question Formulation Technique (QFT), proposed by the Right Questions Institute, allows for the maximum number of participants in the dialogue. It has been used successfully in Google and Microsoft work meetings. People tend to formulate questions more than ideas. Brainstorm participants experience less psychological pressure due to incorrectly chosen words. They manage to penetrate deeper into the essence of the topic and identify the priority vectors of its consideration.
At the same time, team discussion is a good way to test ideas for strength. If colleagues have doubts or objections about the hypothesis put forward, they may appear among the readers. It is better to eliminate such pitfalls in advance.
2. Present material at a non-standard angle
Always build on the interests of your audience. Your material may be full of facts and useful advice but it will interest readers only if the topic is close to them. Try putting yourself in the user’s shoes. What might motivate you to search for information on a specific topic on Google? Analyze the publications of competitors. It is important to understand what data might be of interest to people but is not available on other sites. Try to fill this gap in your article.
You can get ideas for a post from the “People Also Ask” and “People Also Search For” blocks in the SERP. This can be done manually by typing the original keywords into the search. Read the related article – Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes. Creative SEO services AnswerThePublic, AlsoAsked or dedicated Chrome extensions can help speed up the process. More useful extensions can be found in the 50+ Best Free SEO Chrome Extensions article.
3. Consult the experts
Communication with a person who loves their job and is completely immersed in it is incredibly inspiring. This is the best way to add interesting facts and examples to your story. Try to find out about the details that ordinary readers do not know exactly about. You can chat with both industry leaders and experts who usually remain behind the scenes. It now need to decide how to use the resulting content in a creative way. You can publish it in an interview format, rethink it into a step-by-step user guide, or submit it as an expert opinion to highlight certain passages of the article.
Talking to professionals in your industry is a good SEO move. Google rates the material as of higher quality, as it meets the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) requirements. If we are talking about a public person, their name should be announced in the headline. This way you will attract more organic traffic. In the title of the article, you can also use bright, provocative quotes from the speaker. Use phrases that clearly attract attention or break the stereotyped ideas about the topic.
Turning to experts, you increase the reputation of your resource and get an additional competitive advantage. An interview is always exclusive material. It is more interesting to read it than superficial analyzes on other resources. Users perceive the words of an expert as insider information, which means they are more willing to share links in instant messengers and social networks.
Consider the person’s busy schedule. You cannot send a request a day before the deadline and expect a detailed comment. Make an appointment for an interview in advance and discuss the most comfortable format. This could be a face-to-face meeting, a video chat in Zoom, or even a list of questions that the respondent will answer in text or audio format.
4. Agree on collaboration
One of the basic principles of marketing is that people trust people. This is especially true when it comes to influencers, trendsetters, or brand ambassadors. Fans listen to their opinion. A single mention of a public person on Twitter or Instagram can be enough to increase website traffic and sales.
One of the most effective strategies is to launch a challenge or hashtag on social media that users can share. For example, Tommy Hilfiger attracted a number of top bloggers to the #wishyouwerehere campaign, such as Alex Closet, My Free Choice, Linda Tol, Lovely Pepa, Miguel Carrizo, and others. As a result, the brand received 27,400,000 impressions and over 400% ROI.
If you are wondering how to use Influencer Marketing for SEO, you can learn from a detailed review on our website in the article Influencer Targeting and How to Use it for SEO. Collaborating with popular bloggers, stars, or politicians is always a reputational move. Therefore, it is important that it does not conflict with the expectations of your brand’s audience.
In addition to attracting influencers, you can negotiate partnerships with other brands. For example, you can develop collaborative content as part of co-marketing or conduct content swapping on social media.
5. Do some field research on the topic
Every blogger is a bit of a journalist. The best way to immerse yourself in a topic is to get in touch with it personally. If you write about a product, try to test it yourself. Interview with real users. It’s even more interesting if you manage to get into production and describe the process. You should discuss in advance the possibility of photographing or filming, as well as obtain permission to publish them. This way, you will simultaneously solve several important SEO tasks. Get copyright media content for additional traffic and an exclusive storyline that will surely interest your readers.
6. Use the opportunity to interact with your audience live
Try to attend conferences, exhibitions, and other business events in your industry as often as possible. This will allow you to make useful contacts in the professional community, negotiate cooperation, or interview opinion leaders. You will additionally be able to better understand how your audience lives. Listen to the questions asked in public discussions and presentations.
Keep in touch with your audience. Voting in social networks or on-site pages will help collect more information about your readers, assess their level of satisfaction with your resource or services. In the process of collecting material for a new article, you can invite users to share stories from their lives. This will increase engagement and brand credibility.
7. Diversify the ways of serving
Many users prefer to launch a YouTube video or podcast rather than spend time on long read. This can provide them with this opportunity with an inline element on the page. It will expand the audience of the project and provide Google with more content for ranking. For example, San Diego Magazine offers a podcast experience of local venues and cultural events. Users can choose between traditional blog posts and branded SoundCloud discussions.
The longer the text, the harder it is to keep the reader’s attention. Try to dilute the semantic blocks with images or videos. It’s not a good idea to use a picture just because it’s beautiful. Any element on the page has a purpose. The image can illustrate the meaning of the text or carry independent information. In this case, infographics, screenshots with statistics, and various diagrams work perfectly. Don’t forget to include schema markup, meta tags, and alt text. Well-formed images and videos are powerful tools for driving organic traffic. For the latest information, see the article – SEO Images: 11 Perfect Tips for Optimize your Site.
It is good practice to supplement the post with extended content. These can be detailed guides or e-books. You can provide users with free access when they subscribe, thereby expanding the email subscriber base.
8. Make content interactive
A good way to increase engagement is to add game elements. People love tests, quizzes, and polls. They are turned to distract from serious articles, to have fun, or to learn something new. Such content breaks viral records. Users willingly share results on social networks and send links in messengers. No wonder this technique is regularly used on Buzzfeed.
Tests are not only entertainment content but also an effective sales tool. People value a personal touch. Design the questions to reflect the actual user experience. For the survey results, suggest the solution that best suits the needs of the respondents. For example, on the page of a travel company, it is appropriate to ask potential customers questions about the expectations from the rest (format, activities, regional cuisine, personal hobbies). Suggest one of the countries for the trip. It is not necessary to advertise your own product. You can place partner material if you have previously agreed on a creative publication format.
Polls and quizzes are more of a one-off entertainment. The best creative content option that will work in the long term is the author’s calculators and converters. For example, construction companies may ask visitors to calculate the volume and cost of materials for a specific facility. On a culinary site, you can place a converter of popular food weights or a calorie calculator. The configurator on the BMW website allows customers to select the model, equipment, color of the car with a cost estimate and immediately order a test drive.
Webinars are another example of interactive interaction. You get the opportunity to increase brand confidence, get high-quality leads. You can speak in detail about your services or product. Another plus is that it is cheaper and easier to conduct a webinar from an organizational point of view than to arrange an offline presentation.
9. Come up with an author’s style
The success of a story depends on how it is told. Come up with your own unique intonation and narratives. Some authors prefer to turn to numbers and scientific research, while others are better at sharing stories based on their own experiences. It also depends on you whether to speak to your readers in a serious manner or to emphasize humor and memes.
Try to surprise users more often. Suggest bold topics. Challenge your readers. Come up with a way of presenting the material that is least expected of you. For example, you might start articles with conflicting statements and then debunk them as the story unfolds.
10. Update old content
Re-uploading old posts periodically is a good SEO strategy. Such publications look more authoritative from the point of view of Google. They have accumulated a decent amount of backlinks, and there is feedback from users. It is enough to refresh the content with up-to-date data and add multimedia. This way, the old post will rapidly rise in the SERP. If you are wondering which old posts should be updated first and how to do it with more SEO benefits, you can read in the article republishing content.
Use old materials as inspiration. Perhaps you will find that you will want to reveal differently after a few years. You can make this decision by taking into account new knowledge, experience gained, and the general development of technologies. Alternatively, you can write a post-retrospective. For example, compare the state of affairs in your niche in 2017 and 2020.
When drafting your SEO and content strategy, discuss options with your team and client representatives. It is important to come to a common opinion on what is creative content in each particular case. Some companies welcome any innovation, flexibly change the policy of submitting material. If the new content fits into the overall history of the brand, is should be accepted. For others, playing with formats may seem a bit daring. Do not be afraid to experiment and you will find the path to success.