I recently enrolled in a Content Strategy MOOC course with other members of my new team NerdWallet. (I got this new gig 2 months ago!) While content strategy doesn’t quite jump-start my thinking engines, I thought to myself, I work with so many writers and editors on a daily basis; I should be able to chime in every once in a while and give knowledgeable feedback or input. A large number of my team is enrolling in the certificate program, and I did so, too.
I aim to take notes from the lecture videos and discussions we have and include them here on my WordPress. Perhaps this will help some of you out there who are managing your own online content and would like some tips on best practices.
Jump-starting your content
Content creation often leads to content curation. Keeping your audience in mind, a collection of good articles/images can bring traffic to your site. While you may run the small risk that people stumble upon your website as an intermediary springboard to other sites, they will, at the very least, COME to you. Aggregation of content can also lead readers think of you as their unseen editor or expert guide for certain topics, which is a GOOD thing!
Perhaps you’re not sure whether your site traffic is coming to you because you are a great curator or maybe you just happen to have the right kind of links. Try A/B Testing. Test different versions of your site to see what works and what doesn’t work. This kind of testing gives Visitor 1 version A of your site, while Visitor 2 will see version B. Visitor 3 will see version A, and so on. Remember that you can only test one variable at a time, though, so you need to prioritize what you are looking to change or improve upon. Make one change at a time or else you still won’t know what worked or didn’t work!
Also, design your content with links to some of your other content or even external sources. More links can drive SEO up and spread your site’s brand. Add multimedia when applicable to engage your audience, whether that be a picture, graph,video or discussion section. Adding little badges or icons besides user-generated comments can enhance your original content by sparking conversation about it. It draws attention to particular comments that can make your audience more curious, encouraging them to respond to it.
Put a number in the headline. Numbers help you dig deep. Instead of saying “The Most Beautiful Beaches in North America,” say “The Top 5 Most Beautiful Beaches in North America.” Top 5, you say? I wonder what they are…. [click] I swear this is how Buzzfeed gets all their traffic; they are THAT good at it! Slide sharing is another good way to engage your audience and instantly make your readers engaged, making them click through each slide of good visuals. If your content is data heavy, don’t rely on simple charts or tables. Use infographics to illustrate your data in a fun and easy way to understand the significance of those digits. There are loads of free platforms to create infographics nowadays – Piktochart and Infogr.am are two good ones.