On the proverbial stage that is the internet, content is the star of the show. It’s what everyone comes to see, and what keeps users coming back for more — if it’s any good, that is.

The key to getting users — and search engines — to fawn over your content instead of others can be illusive. That’s why a crowd of Washington, D.C.-based marketers flocked to Knucklepuck on June 22 — to hear from four content marketers on how to write content that ranks.

Each speaker presented clear, actionable steps any content creator can follow to get readers and Google to notice their work. Our favorite nuggets of knowledge from the event are as follows.

Don’t Underestimate Video

With a background in broadcast journalism and video production, it’s no surprise Knucklepuck’s SEO Consultant Sarah Teach discussed the idea of video as content.

In terms of popularity, though video as content marketing may be little, she is fierce. While most people think of written content first, video represents 73 percent of global web traffic, according to Teach’s research.

This was one of several interesting statistics about video content she shared. Other gems included:

  • According to Forrester Research, a minute of video is worth 1.8 billion words — or around 2,400 pages of written content, by Teach’s math.
  • Users are most likely to finish video content compared to other types of content, according to HubSpot data from 2016.
  • According to Animoto, 76.5% of video-using marketers say video directly impacts business.
  • Video gets 1,200% more shares than text and images together, according to BrightCove data from 2015.

 

 

While Teach did not discourage the audience from continuing to produce quality written content, she did encourage the audience to explore video as a powerful, up-and-coming medium.

UTM Codes + GA = Understanding Audience

Grabbing a reader’s attention was the main focus of Kelli Windsor’s presentation. As the senior manager of member and digital communications at the Food Marketing Institute, much of Windsor’s campaign success follows asking users what they want, both directly and indirectly.

 

Kelli Windsor of @FMI_ORG loves using Google Analytics to target her audience. #SEMdmv

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She recommended using Google Analytics to discover what users are searching for on your site, and what broader terms related to your topic they are searching on Google. UTM codes are a unique way of tracking this, she explained, because they allow the content marketer to see what links are bringing traffic to your site.

Write Tight

Taylor Griffith, Knucklepuck’s content manager, drew from her background as a newspaper reporter to help the audience learn a lesson (or six) from a journalist’s experience on the job.

Her six tips were:

  1. Don’t bury the lead
  2. Write tight, concise copy
  3. Fact check to build trust
  4. Put the reader (not search engines) first
  5. Outreach with oomph to get reporters’ attention
  6. Use quotes and branding to add color

She said writing concise, tight content is one of the most difficult points to accomplish, however easy it may seem.

“The fewer words you have, the more valuable each word is,” Griffith said.

She recommended writers omit needless words and phrases (such as “that,” “very” and “the fact that”) and beware unlimited space when writing to help keep copy short, sweet and to the point.

Consider Content Structure

The closing speaker of the evening, JR Ridley of Go Fish Digital, drew the audience’s attention back to getting their content ranking in Google. One of his three main tips was to consider content structure when writing a new piece.

According to the SEO, page structure and how content is visually presented can lure in readers and search engines alike. He used FAQ-style answers as an example, noting how Google may pick up content from such pages and use them in knowledge graphs or answer boxes on a search engine results page.

Other formats he recommended were:

  • Lists for instructions or how-to content
  • Video transcripts
  • Style guides
  • Comparison tables
  • Breaking news

Learn More About Digital Marketing

Regardless of whether the topic is content marketing, SEO, or web development, it’s important for digital marketers to constantly remain students of the craft; our industry changes too quickly for marketers to stop learning. If you’re based in the D.C. area, Knucklepuck would love to see you at our next educational event. You may email [email protected] to get information on the date and topic of our next workshop.