There really isn’t any reason to rehash the importance of quality content. The Panda story has been told over and over again. If you want to rank with Google you have to present content that has real value for the visitor and delivers on the promise of the title (keyword phrase).
But just how do you define quality content? We know what it isn’t. We know that fluff stuffed with keywords will get you nowhere. We know that 350 word spun article that was so popular with article marketers is no longer a viable way to rank. And we for sure know that poorly crafted content, content designed to be read by spiders not humans is a thing of the past.
But that brings us back to the question of “What is quality content?”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
The ultimate judge of quality content is the site visitor. If they don’t like what they see they can page back or close out. On the other hand, if they get engaged and get involved with the content they can spread the word through social media or even better…buy something.
The number one rule in affiliate marketing, and unfortunately it’s a rule than many marketers forget, is to keep the visitor’s needs foremost in their mind. It really is all about them and not your product or service. You can have the best site about Genesis themes for WordPress but if your content doesn’t quickly engage the visitor it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, you won’t have an audience to sell it to.
This rule applies to every affiliate marketer but particularly to those who run “review” sites. Too often these sites become ads rather than reviews because the review will focus on the product and its features rather than what it can do for the visitor. Sure there is always some claim about making life simpler or better or saving time but you’ll find that kind of copy in an advertisement and that’s not a review…and more importantly…that’s not personal.
Tell a story
To find the “secret” to quality content all you have to do is look at a popular print publication. Do you have a favorite columnist you follow? Is there a magazine you just have to buy when it hits the stands? Probably. Now think about why you read what your read.
Popular print articles tell stories. They talk about real people, real events, real quotes and they present all of this in a way that keeps you reading because you want to see how the story turns out.
This style, this story telling is the secret to winning the visitor’s vote for quality. Think about the incredible popularity of the reviews on Amazon.com. People want to know real stories about the experiences of others with a given product or service.
So how do you apply it? When you’re creating content stay focused on “talking” to the visitor one on one. Tell a story and back it up with relevant quotations or a link to a relevant authority site. If you can’t find real stories on how your product is used by others then you’re going to have to come up with a credible story about your own experience.
But I’m not a story writer!
When I got into this business back in 1999 I had a background in carpentry…not writing. I’m a great storyteller but I’m far more effective speaking a story than writing it and that’s why I love podcasts. However I knew that I had to have great written content if I was to be successful so I just kept at it.
After a while it became obvious that I was much better at other parts of my business than I was at writing. Writing great content was simply taking me too long and that’s when I turned to outsourcing to give me a hand.
In fact it was a conversation that I had with one of the professional writers that I contracted that opened my eyes to the real process of writing. One of the things she told me that I found amazing is that it takes professional writers three times as long to research an article than it does to actually write it.
Here I was trying to write from scratch using just the knowledge that I had in my head. By taking the time to research I was able to add additional points of view and experiences making my articles not only more informative but more credible as well. In other words I just boosted the quality quotient of my content.
The simple process
It doesn’t matter what kind of website you have be it you’re offering the best premium WordPress themes, graphic design services or you’re selling kitchen bar stools the process for writing quality content is the same. Here’s a quick outline to help you create great stuff.
- Do your research. Even if you have the subject down pat see what others are thinking and saying. Take notes and be sure you include relevant quotes and authority sites.
- Organize your notes into an outline that becomes the blueprint for the article.
- Wherever possible use real events, real names and real quotes.
- Follow your outline and create your story. For purposes of web reading keep your paragraphs short and use subheadings and bullets where appropriate.
- When you’ve finished, ask your self what the visitor will take away from this article. Did you miss anything? Once you’re happy that the article contains the info you want to distribute and it’s formatted so it’s easy to read and scan, then you have a new piece of quality content.
Writing may still be a challenge for you but now you know that your effort isn’t being wasted. The more you practice and the more you read, the better you’ll become and while quality content is never “cranked out” you will be able to create great text in far less time.
That’s my take on it. If you have any other tips that you’d like to share or if you have any questions please leave them in the comment box below.
You will receive actionable tips and *solid* money making advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his “Affiliate Buzz” podcast. James has been a full-time affiliate marketer since 1999 and has been *successfully* teaching others to do the same since 2001. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Affiliate Summit, Commission Junction University, Digital River Lab, Pubcon, The System Seminar, and many others.