If you’re tired of reading or hearing “content is king” and “create good content,” get ready to throw them out the window.
Not! Don’t be too hasty.
Good content is still one of the biggest draws to your website and blog. Readers and followers come to your site for your products and expertise and to find solutions. Right? It’s not that good content is out of style or not needed—it is. It’s just that good content isn’t enough these days—not for SEO and not for readers. To gain and retain readers, content needs to really, truly stand out.
How? 10X content.
10X Content Defined
We briefly defined this term coined by Rand Fishkin of Moz back in December in our article about ideal content length. 10X content is “ten times better than any other piece of content out there on the same topic. So it’s information you can write about at length, information about which you are truly the expert.” But there’s more to it.
10X content isn’t just about what you’re saying, it’s about how you’re saying it. At a glance, 10X content is
- delivered in a new, unique way
- substantive and high-quality
- well written
- formatted so it’s user-friendly
Why Isn’t Good Good Enough?
The simple answer: the competition. Your content is in competition with everything else on that huge platform called the World Wide Web. It’s like trying to make your needle visible in a very large haystack. And that needle is going to be easier to find if it’s 10X better than all the pieces of straw out there.
Content marketing is necessary in business because, generally speaking, everyone’s online. There’s still plenty of real estate on the web and millions of users to market to—but there are a lot of marketers and businesses out there too. Basically, everyone is using it: 80 percent of B2B marketers have a content-marketing strategy. And they are using it pretty well: 74 percent rank themselves at least average for effectiveness. (Source)
How Can My Content Be the Stuff That Stands Out?
Let’s look back at those bullet points above in the “10X Content Defined” section.
How do I deliver content in a new, unique way?
Don’t just spin a topic. Present it in a way that is unique to you and your business. For example, if you teach photography and all your competitors have a Photography 101 blog post or course, think about how you can present it differently. Think about your business and about yourself. What makes you unique? Perhaps you’re a photographer and full-time mom, snapping photos when the kids are at school and editing those photos late into the night after they’ve gone to bed. Why not write a blog or create a course for like-minded moms? “Quick-Shooting Photography for Busy Moms” could be the name of your course!
That being said, 10X content is content that isn’t already being written about or that is written from a different angle. A few tips:
- Show your unique audience you’re an expert on this topic.
- Write to that unique audience rather than to generic web traffic.
- Find your topic’s “sweet spot,” or the targeted content your customers and prospects will actively engage with, absorb, and share with greater enthusiasm than they would with unfocused content.
- Switch up content types and repurpose old content to fit your audience’s current needs. But don’t just rehash an old post; rather, take an old post and put it in a video-presentation format. Conduct a case study on a topic you’ve written about in the past to show its current relevance and applicability. Take a lengthy post and reformat it as an infographic for quick and easy reading.
What is substantive, high-quality information?
Content that is 10X better is chock-full of specific, useful, practical, and applicable information presented through your business’s lens. So not only are you going to provide basic photography tips, you’re going to provide information that specifically helps your niche customer and reader—that busy mama with a baby on her hip, a pot of dinner in one hand, and a camera around her neck.
10X content can be an expansive post where you present and discuss information about a topic, but it doesn’t always have to include everything you know. It can be an in-depth look at one aspect of a topic; for example, an at-length post on “Quick-Shooting Photography for Busy Moms.” A shorter post could be one where you discuss, say, how to capture shots with one hand.
Substantive, high-quality information answers questions and solves problems in a unique way supported by legitimate sources and original research. You can include original case studies, interviews, and personal stories that provide the necessary information and evidence that support your solution to the problem.
Whenever you head to a search engine, it’s because you have a question or a problem. You hope that when you click on a link (that has been oh-so-carefully crafted with SEO in mind so as to be one of the top hits), you’ll find the answer. So when you write a piece of content, it’s important the information you’re presenting will answer questions and solve problems and not just be a bit of fluff.
Using our photographer example, this busy mom would, with her “How to Capture Shots with One Hand” post, attempt to answer the question “How can I take a photograph when I always have a kid on my hip?” She would provide solutions to the one-handed problem, not just give basic photography tips. Her readers are looking for specific answers to unique problems.
How do I make sure my content is well written?
The first step is to make sure you’re presenting information that showcases your unique knowledge and is directed at your specific audience. Ask yourself, “What is my story, and how does it affect what I write and how I write it?” “How does my expertise guide the way I present information?” These questions will help you ensure your presentation reflects you and your business.
The writing itself should also be uniquely yours. In almost all types of writing, an author has a distinct voice and style. As mentioned in our post about editing blog content, voice and style “distinguish your writing from other content creators.” Your voice is the way you write—your “writing personality,” as shown in the way you use language and the words you choose. Style is how you write it, whether by using complex or simple sentences or, hopefully, a unique combination of both, which adds flavor to your prose.
Your writing should be persuasive in that it makes your readers care about the information you provide. Use of legitimate sources and lists of useful resources helps readers feel like they can trust what you’re saying. When writing an article, make sure your central message or purpose is clear and that the entire article supports that message. (Remember those thesis statements from your high school and college writing classes? Yeah. Like that.) You should also give readers something to take away from the article, whether it’s new knowledge, an exact answer or solution, or an idea for next steps.
What can I do to make sure my content is formatted in a user-friendly way?
Remember those old blogging tips for creating great content? Well, they’re applicable even in this new age of 10X content. You still need plenty of white space to break up the text, as well as captivating visuals. Be sure to use easy-to-read fonts and eye-pleasing colors. Also, do a quick web audit to ensure your site is easy to navigate, without users having to click too often or too deep to find information. Lastly, optimizing for mobile is an absolute must! If you don’t optimize your site for mobile, you’ll lose more than half of all web traffic.
Remember that not all content is created equal. Today is the day to start making it 10X better. What are your tips for creating 10X content? Please share them with us!