Undoubtedly you’ve heard the expression “content shock,” coined by marketing expert Mark Schaefer.
The idea that there’s so much content out there, people are tired of content altogether? That no one’s giving new content a chance? That it’s too hard to get new content seen?
Not buying it.
I think what’s happening is simply this: People don’t want “content.”
They want answers to questions. They want a few minutes of entertainment. They want to learn something new. They want what they were searching for in the first place.
To reach our audience, we need to stop creating content and start producing the best answer to their queries. Companies that adopt this content marketing strategy tend to top search engine rankings (Top…rankings…there’s an agency name in there somewhere, I can feel it).
It’s easy to find examples of what Lee Odden refers to as “best answer content.” Just go to your friendly neighborhood search engine, enter a query, and browse the first few results. With few exceptions, you will see content that is:
- Addressed to a Specific Audience
- Addressed to a Specific Query
- Comprehensive, Addressing Complimentary Queries and Crosslinking
- Not Blatantly Promotional
At TopRank Marketing, we call this type of content a “Power Page.” It’s designed to not only top the rankings, but inspire longer time-on-page, lower bounce rates, and direct readers deeper into the site with solid next steps.
Here are a few of my favorite Power Pages. Some are from our clients, some I found at the top of my search results.
Nobody beats Neil Patel and his crew at KISSmetrics for sheer volume of best-answer content. This 2,000+ word monster is ranked in the top three on Google for “How to Do Email Marketing.”
It’s easy to see why. Author Nathan Hangen walks the reader through every aspect of creating an email marketing campaign, including tangential topics like how to put together a newsletter and how to write a compelling CTA.
This piece’s search engine ranking is a clear indication that great content is its own SEO. There’s no keyword stuffing in the first paragraph, no awkwardly-shoehorned-in links. It’s just great, valuable, thorough content.
To my eye, the only thing lacking here is a navigational element. A sidebar with links to the headers would make it even easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
This page from client LinkedIn Marketing Solutions looks like a mild-mannered blog post, but it’s secretly an organic search powerhouse. Most blog content has a limited life span for search potential. Blog posts generally get shared in the first 2-3 days, then the Internet’s collective consciousness moves on to the next new thing.
By contrast, this post was designed to be evergreen. It addresses crucial concerns marketers have about B2B content marketing strategy, thoroughly answering each and including links to further reading. Many of these links are next-steps to gated content, which add value while also capturing leads.
Not every Power Page has to be a 2,000 word original piece of content created from scratch. This page from Paleo Grubs ranks highly for “best paleo recipes,” and is at heart, a roundup of the site’s previously-published recipes, with a few external links for good measure. A little repurposing, a little curation, a little new content for the blurb on each recipe, and voila: An evergreen resource.
This page not only has immediate value for a reader, it has lasting value. They’re bound to spend several minutes browsing, then bookmark the page for future reference.
Notice the CTA at the top left, and the continued offers throughout as you scroll. They’re never intrusive, but they’re highly visible just the same.
This Power Page from McKesson’s Medical Imaging Talk Blog is another permutation of what best-answer content can be. It serves as a topics page, rounding up blogs on medical imaging in several different categories. But it also features commentary on each of the categories, a live Twitter feed, polls and links to gated content.
The result is a dynamic page worth bookmarking, where content is continually refreshed while the anchor page remains the same. A Power Page like this can be a portal to the rest of your blog, selecting out a sub-audience by topic and showing them only your most relevant content.
Everything about this page from Outdoor Gear Lab is above and beyond the call of duty. There’s no wonder it ranks consistently at the top for “Best hiking boots.” Notice how it starts with “What is the best men’s hiking boot?” What a great way to pull in a likely keyword query. That little SEO flourish is genius, but it’s this page’s comprehensive content that makes it unbeatable.
Note the navigational tabs on the top—you can immediately see there’s a great deal of content here and that it’s well-organized. That kind of information right up front is likely to keep readers on the page exploring. Not only that, the ability to jump right into the information they’re looking for will keep bounce rates low.
This page is packed with valuable information for a prospective hiker, presented in a simple but attractive format. Bonus points for the extensive use of home-grown visuals—there’s not a stock photo in sight.
Predictive marketing platform Everstring sought to create a one-stop shop for account based marketing with this Power Page. They began with one of the most-searched queries for this relatively new term: “What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?” That query is the start of a deep dive into every relevant aspect of ABM, from getting started to refining tactics.
The organization of this page is exceptional; it’s definitely optimized for ease of reading. Big, bold headers lead to short paragraphs with bulleted points of interest. And it includes rich media in the form of embedded SlideShares, which add value, visual interest, and can increase time on page.
Don’t Be The Ocean. Be the Lighthouse.
Nobody wants more “content.” Your audience is looking for a guiding light, not another drop in the bucket. Create best answer content—data-based, comprehensive, valuable—and let it be a beacon to lead weary sailors to your shore.
To learn more about how TopRank Marketing creates exceptional content, check out our content marketing service page.
Disclosure: LinkedIn, Everstring and McKesson are TopRank Marketing clients.