Creatives are often a product of inspiration. I mean, when is the last time you saw a cool website and became “inspired” to create something like that.
We all have that.
A few years ago, the family of legendary R&B singer, Marvin Gaye, sued Pharrell Williams and Robert Thicke for copyright infringement for their hit song “Blurred Lines” which they said was similar to Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up.”
Recently, one WordPress developer had his entire website copied by a shady developer. There is undoubtedly a difference in being inspired by something and outright copying something.
The reality is, others inspire us. When I think about a blog post, I am often looking at other articles for ideas.
I try hard to write things that are different than other articles.
In fact, I am downright frustrated that our industry often creates content that has no wings. Content usually stays too close to the ground, it isn’t engaging, and regularly, it is also similar to something else.
Today, I am going to talk about the reasons why you should create better content that is different than what you see on many blogs in our industry. And by doing so, I am going to use my own experience writing articles for MainWP.
Here is one caveat to this whole subject. Audience. You should always write your content for the audience you have.
The audience here at MainWP is primarily either small WordPress agencies or solopreneurs who might be classified as a website designer or developer. The vast majority of this audience offers some kind of maintenance services and use MainWP to deliver that service.
As such, I believe that you, the audience here, are advanced WordPress practitioners. Why is this important? Well, let’s discuss that in the first point.
I assume that readers of MainWP are advanced users of WordPress
There are many beginner blogs in the WordPress world. It is needed as many are, in fact, beginners.
However, if the target audience is practitioners of the most popular CMS platform, then the content needs to have more depth.
Do we really need another “How to use Yoast SEO in WordPress” article?
“Endless and meaningless lists of themes,” Is what WP Feedback told me on Twitter as something he doesn’t like to see.
He also added, “Content for the sake of creating content.”
– Endless and meaningless lists of themes.
– Content for the sake of creating content
— WP Feedback (@FeedbackWp) May 13, 2019
We should write something different than an article that rehashes ten other posts. Too many people write flimsy list posts without much bite. It’s easy to pug in 20-25 items and write 50-100 words about said item.
Suppose you see an article about creating an editorial calendar with WordPress. You think, “Awesome!”
You start reading the article, and what do you find? You find out it contains a list of WordPress plugins for an editorial calendar. Now, it’s true you can use a plugin to run an editorial calendar — no doubt about that. Choose one of the plugins you like, and off you go.
What does this contribute to our industry? Not much. Most of you already know there are editorial calendar plugins available. After all, one of the best blogs in our industry is by CoSchedule, which makes a plugin that connects to their web application that allows you to manage content.
You just rehashed something that already exists.
You often see it with other articles on the web. Look at any number of list posts, and you will probably find five more just like it. What do these posts add to the industry? Often, when I’m looking at a topic for an article, I think, “What can I do that’s different than what is already published?” You should ask that question as well.
Really, because that “Ultimate Guide to” usually is not . . .
Too many people write articles that are the “Ultimate Guide to” or [some other popular title] and, most of the time, they fail to deliver. Why? Click on that article. Is it really the “ultimate guide” for that topic? If so, then it would be long, really long, and not just with fluff content.
Titles can be great to help us write content, but often we use them because of the promise of clicks. If you consistently use these titles but fail to deliver, it will diminish your trustworthiness.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Copywriter Joel Klettke gives his thoughts in this article on his business website.
He reminds us that we can make some subtle tweaks,
The nice thing about the English language is that there are so many different ways to say the same thing. You can say “ultimate” without being the 5,000th ultimate guide on the web.
He goes on to give you ten other options without using the word “ultimate.” Thanks, Joel!
Help your audience solve a problem
Usually, I ask questions like, “what question does the reader need to be answered?” That is why I often go to forums and Facebook Groups and observe the topics that come up.
This is fundamentally different than the old keyword searching method. I still use that because it helps me get an idea of where I need to go in terms of direction.
Topics about WordPress business are rarely discussed. If you want to learn more about business, you typically have read other blogs that aren’t necessarily WordPress blogs. Guys like Troy Dean and Brennan Dunn are popular for these topics.
Sometimes, individual WordPress influencers will write about their experiences in business, and these articles hold tremendous value for the WordPress developer.
So, how does one go about coming up with topics that solve problems?
Benji Hyam from Grow and Convert writes a great article on content ideation. In the article, he explains the best way actually to learn what their pain points is. . . .wait for it… talk to them.
They give a process, but it comes down to talking to prospects and finding out what their problems are. This is much easier with a smaller business.
According to Hyam,
I’ve found that writing answers to commonly asked questions is a great way to build SEO traffic and create conversion oriented content.
I agree with Hyam.
Another trick I use sometimes is taking a topic and approaching it like I’m writing an “ultimate guide.” I may even look at a few excellent “ultimate guides.” While there, I take a look at the headings and subheadings for the article/guide.
What you have there is a list of other topics to explore. Suddenly, you have subtopics under your seed topic.
Each of these topics can be expounded on with an opportunity to go deeper.
Many of the blog posts only address the top of the funnel
If you are only creating content for the top of the funnel (and even pre funnel), then you will struggle to get your users to the bottom of the funnel and into the doors of your business. There is definitely a place for top of funnel content. These posts are often great for bringing in additional traffic.
It dawned on me a couple of years ago. Then, I read this observation from Grow and Convert and realized I was on to something.
So, what is the content that goes with various areas of the funnel?
Basically, at the top of the funnel, where the prospect is still learning about his or her pain and your product, you write content that speaks to that stage. Often, these are certain types of blog posts that attract visitors. They may also be social media posts, podcasts, and other types of content.
The middle of the funnel is the area where your prospect is considering your solution. A case study is an excellent example of this type of content.
Finally, the bottom of the funnel is the area where you are closing your prospect to work with you. These tend to be pieces of content such as sales pages and emails, testimonies, and other pieces of content that overcomes objections.
Below I have listed three excellent guides to this content funnel match. Each will give you more insight into this area:
Wrapping it up
There is a place for all kinds of content, even list posts. The problem isn’t that we have them; it is that we have too many of them.
Many articles lack depth.
It does, however, all go back to the audience. If your audience needs beginner level posts, then that’s what you should give them.
Just make sure your beginner level articles have depth.
Also, if you are trying to sell them something, whether a service or a product, content that helps them move through the funnel is vital.
Who is the audience your business is writing for?