Getting your content found in search simply isn’t enough anymore. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of indistinguishable content. You need content that not only ranks in search, but that’s also compelling and differentiates your company.
Search optimization and differentiation have a symbiotic relationship. Like that classic middle-school science illustration of the clownfish and the sea anemone, these two elements of content need each other to survive. Without an audience, it doesn’t matter how compelling your content is. But without differentiation, your high-ranking content may simply attract prospects that end up buying from a competitor that’s succeeded in setting itself apart.
While there are plenty of good resources on optimizing your blog content for search, far less press is dedicated to creating point-of-view content. In this post, I’ll get specific on just how to differentiate your content.
1. Say what’s not being said
For several years now, the primary strategy has been to create monster posts based on the top three or four SERPs. That worked ok when not everyone was doing it. But now that this strategy has become popular, there’s limited value in writing a post that doesn’t say anything new or have a point of view. Prospects who click on five highly-similar posts won’t be drawn to any specific one. And the brands producing these posts will all look the same to them.
Rather than aiming to combine a bunch of information in other companies’ posts, develop a different angle or perspective that will help set your piece apart and motivate prospects to check out more of your content.
2. Take a stance
Companies producing content for search typically stay neutral. They don’t have a strong perspective. They aren’t taking a stand for anything. They’re merely aiming to provide more education on the topic than anyone else. This presents you with an opportunity. By having a point of view, you differentiate your brand. A point of view can take many different forms. Here are just a few.
Connect with your UVP
If your product does something particularly well, your point of view may focus on that issue. For example, Sigma is a self-service analytics software that’s unique in that it allows non-technical users to participate in data modeling, querying, and visualization without knowing code. A point of view that they frequently share is a passion for fully democratizing data.
Express your culture
If your company is known for taking a stand on issues or showing up for your team members and customers, let that show through in your content. Gong is a master of infusing their content with their culture. You don’t have to wonder what it’s like working with their team after reading a Gong post!
There’s something uniquely intriguing about someone who swims in the opposite direction. Taking a well-reasoned, contrarian line of thinking can hook a reader and help them understand your value. It provides an opportunity to position yourself as a team of intelligent, independent thinkers. Drift produces a lot of content that falls into the contrarian category. And they’re crushing marketing as a result.
3. Speak to someone specific
Most content is written for a broad audience or to the primary persona the company serves. But in an age where we’re all starting to expect customized experiences, from grocery shopping to listening to music, dedicating a piece of content to a specific industry, niche, or market segment can serve to differentiate in a meaningful way. This strategy also makes it easier to gauge which pain points to address and what information to include to solve the reader’s problem. Be sure you have updated, data-driven buyer personas to guide your content.
4. Include experts
Expertise also helps your content to stand out. If you’re personally not an expert on the subject you’re writing about, quoting subject matter experts or leaders in your industry will add authority and credibility. You may want to include statistics or insights from research reports as well. While it’s essential to have a point of view, readers value opinions backed up by expert knowledge and data.
5. Make it memorable
How often do you read a post that’s instantly forgettable? To differentiate your content, make it memorable. Here are three ways to do it.
- Tell a tale — As humans, we’re wired for story. After reading a plethora of information-only posts, a prospect who comes across a relatable story or anecdote will be more likely to remember it. Weaving stories into your writing is one of the most reliable ways to maintain reader interest and engagement.
- Include word pictures — Word pictures such as similes and metaphors can help readers remember your content as well. The more senses are engaged when a prospect interacts with your content, the more compelling it will be.
- Go heavy on the visuals — If applicable, including visuals like images, charts, graphs, and infographics can also boost your content’s stickiness. Additionally, using graphics can provide context to your post or make abstract ideas more concrete.
Crafting content that’s both optimized for search and that differentiates your brand isn’t rocket science. But few companies are doing it. Rather than investing your marketing resources into building 10x content, focus instead on standing out. When you lead prospects to see that your brand is different, you’ll be the one they remember (and the one they contact when they’re ready to buy).
Schedule a call to share what’s holding you back from better marketing content, and I’ll let you know if I can help and how. If I can’t help, I’ll recommend someone who can.