If you’ve been following this blog over the past few months, you know the importance of creating ‘people-first content.’ Novice content creators often assume that all they need to do is write for Google and they’ll be set, but if they do that, they’re setting themselves up for failure. A site can have as much traffic as New York’s Grand Central Station, but it won’t amount to much if visitors don’t find the content genuinely engaging. Winning the SEO game means being mindful of your audience’s needs and creating high-quality, authoritative content for humans not machines.
When it comes to getting eyes on your content, your place in a search engine’s results can make all the difference in the world. Studies suggest that 95 percent of web traffic goes to sites that show up on the first page of Google’s results. Moreover, sites at the top of the page get more traffic than those at the bottom. The moral of the story is that ranking highly is incredibly important. Today, we’re going to look at some ways to make sure your content rises to the top.
An interview with Dave Clarke of AeroCar Journal.
Back in March, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Commission on Artificial Intelligence Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation published a report from their Artificial Intelligence Commission urging the government and industry leaders to cooperate on a “a risk-based approach to AI regulation.” Writing in the foreword, the President and CEO of the Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center, David Hirschmann, observed that, “for Americans to reap the benefits of AI, people must trust it.” The fact that an organ of the US Chamber of Commerce, a body not exactly known for its love of government regulation, should endorse such a call illustrates just how disruptive AI has become in recent months. The arrival of ChatGPT, Midjourney, and the like has made something that was once the preserve of tech elites into tools accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. And while this has the potential to greatly benefit society, it can also be quite dangerous if not handled carefully.
Over the weekend, I decided to reinstall one of my all-time favorite video games: Planescape Torment. When the game first released back in 1999, it was praised by critics, yet sales were sluggish. But almost a quarter-century later, we’re still talking about it. It regularly shows up on lists of the best video games of all time, recently received a remaster, and paved the way for a number of spiritual successors. Wizards of the Coast has even announced that they plan to reissue the campaign setting that inspired the game. Now you might be wondering what this has to do with online content creation. The answer is that it illustrates the importance of shareability. Planescape Torment should’ve faded away into obscurity, but it’s so compelling that diehard fans like me have kept the conversation going long after the official marketing efforts ended. Tapping into the power of shareability can help you make sure your content reaches its full potential.
The other day I saw someone with a shirt reading “Eppur si muove” (“And yet it moves” in Italian). Supposedly, the 17th-century Italian polymath Galileo Galilei said these words under his breath after the Roman Inquisition forced him to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun. But while it makes for a very compelling vignette, there’s just one problem: there’s no proof Galileo actually said it. In fact, the quote first appears over a century after his death, meaning it’s highly likely to be spurious. Yet as Ralph Keyes points out in The Quote Verifier, this quote has become central to Galileo’s intellectual legacy. This is a prime example of why fact-checking is so important.
According to a recent study, 59% of links shared on social media aren’t actually clicked on, suggesting that they were shared on the basis of their headlines alone. Writing headlines is an often-overlooked part of the writing process. After working hard to craft a stellar piece of authoritative content, it can be really tempting to fashion a headline out of the first thing that springs to mind. This would be a mistake. Good headlines are an indispensable part of authoritative content, and today we’re going to look at how you can make your headlines shine just as brightly as the rest of your content.
When you’re writing for the web, you never quite know who’s going to come across your work, and the reality is your content will be seen by people outside your target audience. On the whole, this is a good thing—more eyeballs mean more opportunities to demonstrate your authenticity. But at the same time, this also means that you should try to make sure your content is accessible to a wider range of people. After all, you can have the best SEO in the world but it won’t do you much good if most of the people who view your content don’t see why they should care about it. Luckily, the art of contextualization can help you explain complex topics in a way that’s thorough yet approachable.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the importance of producing high-quality content. But this requires more than just authenticity and authority. Your content also needs to be structured effectively. If you don’t pay attention to structure, your content might be less impactful than you’d like. Writing a well-laid-out blog post is a bit more complicated than the five-paragraph essays that our high-school English teachers loved so much. Today, we’re going to look at how you can structure your content for success.
An interview with Jenny Town of 38 North.
Humans are natural storytellers. We’ve probably been regaling our associates with entertaining narratives from the moment we first started to talk to one another. Now you might be inclined to think that storytelling is something that’s only relevant to folks like Stephen King or James Cameron, but that’s not the case. On the contrary, storytelling makes for effective communication in any discipline. In the business arena, it can help you craft a memorable brand image, which in turn bolsters your authenticity.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the importance of originality and how it’s absolutely essential if you want your content to be noticed. Authenticity is a key ingredient of original content. But what, exactly, is authenticity and why does it matter?