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Ten ways to pump out a stream of great content without burning out

July 9, 2019 No Comments

There’s always more content to write. 

Sometimes that can be encouraging, even exhilarating. You’ve got plenty of space for all your ideas, and countless opportunities to engage with potential customers and to build a stronger relationship with existing ones.

But producing a constant stream of content can be exhausting.

You’ll find yourself running out of ideas and running out of steam. And at that point, it can be really difficult to keep creating high-quality content on a regular basis.

Even if you’re in a position to hire someone to help, you’ll still need to have a fair amount of involvement in content production – supplying ideas and outlines, at the very least.

So how can you keep up with all the content you need to produce? Before we dig into some specific tips, let’s take a look at how much you actually need to create.

How frequently should you post on your blog and your social media accounts?

There are no rules here different blogs do different things, often within the same industry. In the content marketing world, for instance:

  • Smart Blogger posts (very in-depth) pieces once a week
  • Copyblogger publishes three or four posts a week
  • Content Marketing Institute posts one piece each weekday

As a rough guideline, you’ll probably want to aim for at least one weekly post, one daily Facebook and/or Instagram post, and three or more posts a day on fast-moving networks like Twitter. (According to Louise Myers, the “general consensus” is that anything from three to 30 Tweets per day is fine.

So how do you keep up with this level of content, week after week?

How to create great content without burning out

Here are nine ways to keep up your content production without getting to the point of feeling so burned out that you simply give up.

You can use these as a step by step process, or you can pick and choose ideas that’ll make your existing process go more smoothly.

1. Decide how often you’ll post content

While there’s no “right” answer to how often to post content, there’s definitely a “wrong” one. Posting content whenever you feel like it, at wildly varying frequencies.

It’s best – for you and for your audience – to have a consistent posting schedule, both on your blog and on social networks. That might mean, for instance, two blog posts each week, one Facebook post each day (more may be counter-productive), and five Twitter posts each day.

While you might vary your schedule a little, having a clear idea of what to aim for makes it much more likely that you’ll write and publish regular posts.

2. Come up with a suitable pattern for your content

With social media, in particular, it’s helpful to “pattern” your content. This is also a useful practice for blog posts, especially if you post twice a week or more on your blog.

Rather than starting with a blank page when it comes to generating ideas, you can have a pre-set “pattern” for the content you’re going to create.

For instance, if you’re writing five Twitter posts each day, you might decide to have:

  • Two posts linking to other people’s great content
  • One post linking to your most recent piece of content
  • One post linking to a piece of content from your archive
  • One post that asks a question or prompts a discussion

3. Brainstorm lots of ideas

Simply coming up with ideas for content can take a lot of time. Instead of sitting down and staring at a blank page, try “batching” the idea generation process: set aside time once every week or two to come up with a whole list of ideas.

Some great ways to find content ideas include:

  • Common search terms within your industry: this is part of keyword research and as well as being a useful SEO tool, it’s great for idea-generation.
  • Questions that you frequently get asked by potential customers.
  • Problems that you faced when you were starting out in your industry.
  • Other people’s content – could you create something that tackles a topic in more depth, or from a different angle?
  • Your own content: can you go back to an old blog post and update it, or take some social media posts and weave them into a piece for your blog?
  • Asking influencers for their contributions – this might be in the form of a quote or two from one person, or a “round-up” post with quotes from lots of different experts.

4. Outline longer pieces of content

With short posts on Twitter and Facebook, you probably don’t need an outline – just a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.

For blog posts, though, you’ll find it’s much faster to write when you’ve got a solid outline in place, especially if you’re producing long-form content. Again, it’s often a good idea to “batch produce” your outlines, by picking four or so ideas and outlining all those posts at once.

That way, when it’s time to write those posts, a lot of the hard work is already done. Plus, if you outline several posts in a single session, you’ll find it much easier to create links between them.

5. Write several short pieces of content at once

Instead of opening up HootSuite (or your favorite social media management tool or app) every single time you want to send a tweet or create a post, write lots of posts ahead of time.

You might want to queue up a week’s worth of posts all at once. Buffer is a great tool for this, allowing you to schedule posts to go out at any time you want – making it easier to reach potential clients in other timezones or those on unusual schedules.

6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces

Creating content requires a lot of focus – it’s not something you can easily do while you’re fielding phone calls or responding to emails every few minutes.

Block out periods of time (ideally two hours long) in advance, where you can shut your office door, ignore your email, and let calls go to voicemail.

6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces

While you may have no choice but to self-edit your content, if it’s possible, get an editor involved. This might be someone already on your team, or a freelancer external to your company.

A good editor will go far beyond correcting spelling mistakes and grammatical slips. They’ll help to ensure your content is well structured, that it flows smoothly, and that it’s as engaging as possible.

8. Have an assistant format and upload your content

If you’re uploading all your own posts on your blog and social media, you’ll be spending time finding images, selecting categories, adding hashtags, including links, and so on.

While these tasks are an important part of the content creation process, they don’t need to be done by you. Delegate as much of the repetitive work as possible to an assistant so that you can free up more time to write or design the content itself.

9. Get ahead and take time off

If content creation is starting to feel like a treadmill that you can’t get off, then you’re probably heading for burnout. Plan your schedule so you can get ahead, perhaps by creating an extra piece or two of content each week.

That way, you can take a week off from content creation occasionally (plus, you’ll also be covered for any unexpected events, like a particularly busy period, or illness).

10. Repurpose your existing content

There may well be excellent blog posts in your archive that rarely get read, and your social media posts will almost certainly only gather fleeting attention.

Instead of always coming up with fresh ideas and creating new pieces from scratch, how about reusing some of your existing content? That might be as simple as writing an updated version of a blog post, and republishing it – or it could involve something more involved like turning a series of tweets into a blog post, or turning a post into an infographic.

Valuable, high-quality content is great for your business, your potential and existing customers, and your SEO. By trying some or all of the tips above, you can keep up the flow of content, without burning out.

If you have a tip for creating lots of great content, consistently, feel free to share it with us in the comments below.

Joe Williams is the founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on Twitter at @joetheseo.

The post Ten ways to pump out a stream of great content without burning out appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Facebook can be told to cast a wider net to find illegal content, says EU court advisor

June 4, 2019 No Comments

How much of an obligation should social media platforms be under to hunt down illegal content?

An influential advisor to Europe’s top court has taken the view that social media platforms like Facebook can be required to seek out and identify posts that are equivalent to content that an EU court has deemed illegal — such as hate speech or defamation — if the comments have been made by the same user.

Platforms can also be ordered to hunt for identical repostings of the illegal content.

But there should not be an obligation for platforms to identify equivalent defamatory comments that have been posted by any user, with the advocate general opining that such a broad requirement would not ensure a fair balance between the fundamental rights concerned — flagging risks to free expression and free access to information.

“An obligation to identify equivalent information originating from any user would not ensure a fair balance between the fundamental rights concerned. On the one hand, seeking and identifying such information would require costly solutions. On the other hand, the implementation of those solutions would lead to censorship, so that freedom of expression and information might well be systematically restricted.”

We covered this referral to the CJEU last year.

It’s an interesting case that blends questions of hate speech moderation and the limits of robust political speech, given that the original 2016 complaint of defamation was made by the former leader of the Austrian Green Party, Eva Glawischnig.

An Austrian court agreed with Glawischnig that hate speech posts made about her on Facebook were defamatory and ordered the company to remove them. Facebook did so, but only in Austria. Glawischnig challenged its partial takedown and in May 2017 a local appeals court ruled that it must remove both the original posts and any verbatim repostings and do so worldwide, not just in Austria. 

Further legal appeals led to the referral to the CJEU which is being asked to determine where the line should be drawn for similarly defamatory postings, and whether takedowns can be applied globally or only locally.

On the global takedowns point, the advocate general believes that existing EU law does not present an absolute blocker to social media platforms being ordered to remove information worldwide.

“Both the question of the extraterritorial effects of an injunction imposing a removal obligation and the question of the territorial scope of such an obligation should be analysed, in particular, by reference to public and private international law,” runs the non-binding opinion.

Another element relates to the requirement under existing EU law that platforms should not be required to carry out general monitoring of information they store — and specifically whether that directive precludes platforms from being ordered to remove “information equivalent to the information characterised as illegal” when they have been made aware of it by the person concerned, third parties or another source. 

On that, the AG takes the view that the EU’s e-Commerce Directive does not prevent platforms from being ordered to take down equivalent illegal content when it’s been flagged to them by others — writing that, in that case, “the removal obligation does not entail general monitoring of information stored”.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar’s opinion — which can be read in full here — is not the last word on the matter, with the court still to deliberate and issue its final decision (usually within three to six months of an AG opinion). However advisors to the CJEU are influential and tend to predict which way the court will jump.

We reached out to Facebook for comment. A spokesperson for the company told us:

This case raises important questions about freedom of expression online and about the role that internet platforms should play in locating and removing speech, particularly when it comes to political discussions and criticizing elected officials. We remove content that breaks the law and our priority is always to keep people on Facebook safe. However this opinion undermines the long-standing principle that one country should not have the right to limit free expression in other countries. We hope the CJEU will clarify that, even in the age of the internet, the scope of court orders from one country must be limited to its borders.

This report was updated with comment from Facebook


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook changes algorithm to promote worthwhile & close friend content

May 17, 2019 No Comments

Facebook is updating the News Feed ranking algorithm to incorporate data from surveys about who you say are your closest friends and which links you find most worthwhile. Today Facebook announced it’s trained new classifiers based on patterns linking these surveys with usage data so it can better predict what to show in the News Feed. The change could hurt Pages that share clickbait and preference those sharing content that makes people feel satisfied afterwards.

For close friends, Facebook surveyed users about which people they were closest too. It then detected how this matches up with who you are tagged in photos with, constantly interact with, like the same post and check in to the same places as, and more. That way if it recognizes those signals about other people’s friendships, it can be confident those are someone’s closest friends they’ll want to see the most of. You won’t see more friend content in total, but more from your best pals instead of distant acquaintances.

A Facebook News Feed survey from 2016, shared by Varsha Sharma

For worthwhile content, Facebook conducted surveys via News Feed to find out which links people said were good uses of their time. Facebook then detected which types of link posts, which publishers and how much engagement the posts got and matched that to survey results. This then lets it determine that if a post has a similar style and engagement level, it’s likely to be worthwhile and should be ranked higher in the feed.

The change aligns with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comments declaring that Facebook’s goal isn’t total time spent, but time well spent with meaningful content you feel good about. Most recently, that push has been about demoting unsafe content. Last month Facebook changed the algorithm to minimize clickbait and links to crappy ad-filled sites that receive a disproportionately high amount of their traffic from Facebook. It cracked down on unoriginality by hiding videos ripped off from other creators, and began levying harsher demotions to repeat violators of its policies. And it began to decrease the distribution of “borderline content” on Facebook and Instagram that comes close to but doesn’t technically break its rules.

While many assume Facebook just juices News Feed to be as addictive in the short-term as possible to keep us glued to the screen and viewing ads, that would actually be ruinous for its long-term business. If users leave the feed feeling exhausted, confused and unfulfilled, they won’t come back. Facebook’s already had trouble with users ditching its text-heavy News Feed for more visual apps like Instagram (which it luckily bought) and Snapchat (which it tried to). While demoting clickbait and viral content might decrease total usage time today, it could preserve Facebook’s money-making ability for the future while also helping to rot our brains a little less.


Social – TechCrunch


Google Ads Phasing Out Game Content Category

May 13, 2019 No Comments

Last week, Google Ads announced an important change for exclusion categories: “Games” content exclusion will be deprecated. This change is in line with Google Ads claim of streamlining content exclusion options they rolled out in 2018.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Study: How to use domain authority for digital PR and content marketing

May 11, 2019 No Comments

For the SEO community, Domain Authority is a contentious metric.

Domain Authority (DA) is defined by Moz as

“A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”

Some people say that this score does more harm than good because it distracts digital marketers from what matters. Improving your DA doesn’t mean you’re improving your rankings. Others tend to find it useful on its own as a quick way to determine the quality or trustworthiness of a site.

Here’s what I say, from a digital PR perspective, domain authority is valuable when you’re using it to compare sites relative to one another. In fact, DA provides value for us PRs and is incredibly useful to our work.

Think of it this way. There are more websites than ever before, about 1.5 billion to be exact and so in some ways, this means there is more opportunity for marketers to get their content out in the world and in front of new audiences. While most people think that journalism is dying out, an enlightening post on Recode by Rani Molla explains that “while job postings for journalists are off more than 10 percent since 2004, jobs broadly related to content have almost quadrupled.” 

In other words, if outreach is executed well, there are more places than ever to get your content featured and lead to driving traffic, broadening your audience, and improving your search ranking.

But even the most skilled PR teams can’t reach out to 1.5 billion sites. The knowledgeable ones know that you really only need one successful placement to get your content to spread like wildfire all over the Internet, earning links and gaining exposure for your brand in the process. With so many options out there, how do PR professionals know which sites to spend time targeting?

That’s where DA comes into play. When it comes to link building, content marketers know that not all backlinks and brand mentions are created equally. The value of a link or mention varies depending on the referring website. Moz’s DA score is a way for us PRs to quickly and easily assess the quality of the websites we target for our client’s content marketing campaigns.

Our team tends to bucket online publishers, blogs, and websites into three categories:

  • Top-tier
  • Mid-tier
  • Low-tier

Keep in mind, particularly with the new Moz update, when deciding who to pitch, you must take a holistic approach. While domain authority is an excellent way to quickly assess the quality of a website, a site’s DA can change at any minute due to a multitude of factors, so make sure you are also taking into account your goals, the site’s audience, social following, and reputation as well as Moz DA score. In response to a Marketing Land tweet about the new DA, Stevie Howard says it perfectly.

Screenshot of Stevie Howard's tweet in response to a Marketing Land tweet about the new DA

Top-tier sites

What constitutes a top-tier website? Can a top-tier site have a low DA? Potentially, but it’s uncommon.

When you look at the holy grail of media coverage, DA tends to align perfectly. Take, for example, the following seven major publishers that any brand or business would love to earn coverage on. The DA scores for all of these sites fall above 90. These sites all have an extremely large audience, both on-site and on social media.

List of top tier sites having a DA score of 90 and above

Our team at Fractl has an innate sense of the online publisher landscape, and the largest and most well-known content publishers out there all tend to have a domain authority above 90. This is what we consider to be the “top-tier”.

These publishers are difficult to place with because of their large audience, social following, and reputation, so for the best chance at earning organic press mentions on these sites, offer them authoritative, unique, exclusive, and newsworthy content.

Mid-tier sites

Mid-tier sites may not be the holy grail of news publishers, but they’re our bread and butter. This is where the majority of placements tend to happen. These publishers hit a sweet spot for digital PR pros—they’re not as sought-after as Buzzfeed and don’t deeply scrutinize pitches the way The New York Times does, but they have large audiences and tend to be much more responsive to content pitches.

I tend to categorize the mid-tier as publishers that fall within a DA of 66 to 89. Here are some examples of publishers that may be considered mid-tier.

List of mid-tier publishers that have a DA of 66 to 89

Low-tier sites

Don’t underestimate a low-tier site simply because of its domain authority. For example, it wasn’t long ago that personal finance website, Money-ish, had a DA of 1. Launched in 2017, it was first its own website before being absorbed as part of the larger MarketWatch domain. MarketWatch has a DA of 93, with social engagement as high as 12,294,777 in the last year. If you ignored Money-ish because of its DA when they first started, you would have missed out on a chance to get your content featured on MarketWatch as well as build relationships with writers that are now under the MarketWatch umbrella. There are all types of content, and most marketers can figure out which projects have “legs” and which have less appeal. These lower-tier sites are often very niche and the perfect home for content that is aimed towards smaller, more precise audiences. These lower-tier sites also tend to have a high engagement where it matters, your target audience. Consider the site’s community. Does this site have a ton of email subscribers or high comment engagement? Are they killing it on Instagram or on another social network? You never know which site will become the next Money-ish, either!

List of low-tier sites with DA below 60 or 65

Pitching differences for each tier

There are plenty of sites that fall within different ranges of domain authority that would be an excellent fit for your content. It all just depends on your goals. In Fractl’s latest internal study, we were able to identify trends in the way journalists respond to PR professionals, based on the DA of the site they write for.

Graph on how journalists respond to PRs based on their sites DA score

Observations

  • Feedback from writers working for sites with a DA lower than 89 was most likely to be complimentary of the content campaigns we pitched them.
  • The verbiage of their responses was also more positive on average than those from journalists working for publishers with a DA of 90 or above.

An example of the feedback we received that would be labeled as complimentary is,

“Thanks for sending this over, it fits perfectly with our audience. I scheduled a post on this study to go up tomorrow.”- Contributor, Matador Network (DA: 82)

Those of us that have been pitching mainstream publishers for a while know from experience that it’s often easier to place with websites that tend to fall in the mid to low-tier buckets. Writers at these publishers are usually open to email pitches and open to writing about outside content because such websites have less stringent editorial guidelines.

Conversely, publishers that fall into our definition of “high-tier” were less positive on average than writers working for publishers with a DA less than 90. On average, the higher the DA, the less positive the language becomes.

Why might that be? It makes perfect sense that publishers like The New York Times, CNN, TIME, and The Washington Post would be less positive. They’re likely receiving hundreds of PR pitches a day because of their popularity. If they do respond to a pitch, they want to ensure that they’re inquiring about content that would eventually meet their editorial guidelines, should they decide to cover it.

According to our study, when journalists at publishers with a DA of 90 or above do respond, they’re more likely to be asking about the methodology or source of the content.

An example of this feedback is from a staff writer at CNN.

“Thanks for sending along. I’m interested to know more about the methodology of the study.”

A response like this isn’t necessarily bad, in fact, it’s quite good. If a journalist is taking time to ask you more about the details of the content you pitched, it’s a good indication that the writer is hoping to cover it, they just need more information to ensure that any data-driven content is methodologically-sound.

Conclusion

Domain authority will continue to remain a controversial metric for SEOs, but for those of us working in digital PR, the metric provides a lot of value. Our study found a link between the DA of a site and the type of responses we received from writers at these publishers. High DA sites were less positive on average and requested research back methodologies more than lower-tier sites. Knowing the DA of a site allows you to:

  • Improve your list building process and increase outreach efficacy
  • Customize each outreach email you send to publishers of varying DAs
  • Anticipate the level of editorial scrutiny you’re up against in terms of content types and research methodologies
  • Optimize content you create to fit the needs of your target publisher
  • Predict the outcome of a content campaign depending on where you placed the “exclusive”

Remember, just because a site has a high DA, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good fit for your content. Always be sure to take a holistic approach to your list building process. Keep in mind the social engagement of the site, the topics they cover, who their audience is, their editorial guidelines, and most importantly, the goals of you or your client before reaching out to any publisher solely based on domain authority.

Domenica is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.

The post Study: How to use domain authority for digital PR and content marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Facebook updates its video guidelines to promote original content, loyal and engaged viewership

May 6, 2019 No Comments

Facebook today announced a series of changes to the way it ranks videos on its social network, which determines how widely they’re distributed. According to the updated guidelines, Facebook will now prioritize videos that focus on original content, those where users are engaged for longer periods of time and those where users return repeatedly to watch more.

The company wants to feature more high-quality videos, and less of those that feature “unoriginal or repurposed content” from other sources where there’s been little value added, it says. That seems to imply a bit of crackdown on the prolific video memes — those that lift someone else’s content (sometimes without proper credit) and then publish it to their own Page to cash in.

Facebook says it’s also now going to demote videos from Pages that are involved in Sharing Schemes. These are programs run by unethical content mills that compensate other Page owners for posting content and running ads to promote it.

In addition, Facebook will reward videos that have a more engaged and loyal fan base.

Before, Facebook encouraged video creators to keep their viewers watching for at least a minute. Going forward, it will actively add more weight in rankings to those videos where viewers watch for at least three minutes.

And it will reward videos where viewers repeatedly return to watch week after week.

The goal with the changes is to promote those videos that people value, the company says, while also helping great video creators reach more people across the social network by way of improved distribution.

The changes come at a time when Facebook’s video effort, Facebook Watch, is facing increased competition for viewers’ time and interest from a range of players, including Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+, as well as number of places to watch free, ad-supported content, like The Roku Channel or Amazon’s IMDb, for example, in addition to, of course, YouTube. And soon, the highly anticipated streaming service from Disney will eat into more of viewers’ time, too.

Facebook Watch has also been dinged for featuring low-quality content compared to newcomers like Apple TV+, which has signed big-name talent like Spielberg, Witherspoon and Oprah. Meanwhile, Facebook Watch has focused on things like MTV’s “The Real World” or “Buffy” re-runs in terms of its “premium” content.

With YouTube recently promising its own original content will become free and ad-supported in time, Facebook needed to keep up by making its own video site less meme-filled and more engaging than before. That can only happen if it promotes videos when they meet certain quality thresholds — which is what these guidelines aim to address.


Social – TechCrunch


Twitter announces new content deals with Univision, The Wall Street Journal and others

April 30, 2019 No Comments

Twitter is unveiling a number of new content deals and renewals tonight at its NewFronts event for digital advertisers.

It’s only been two years since Twitter first joined the NewFronts. At the time, coverage suggested that executives saw the company’s video strategy as a crucial part of turning things around, but since then, the spotlight has moved on to other things (like rethinking the fundamental social dynamics of the service).

And yet the company is still making video deals, with 13 of them being unveiled tonight. That’s a lot of announcements, though considerably less than the 30 revealed at last year’s event. The company notes that it has already announced a number of partnerships this year, including one with the NBA.

“When you collaborate with the top publishers in the world, you can develop incredibly innovative ways to elevate premium content and bring new dimensions to the conversations that are already happening on Twitter,” said Twitter Global VP and Head of Content Partnerships Kay Madati in a statement. “Together with our partners, we developed this new slate of programming specifically for our audiences, and designed the content to fuel even more robust conversation on Twitter.”

Here’s a quick rundown of all the news:

  • A partnership with Univision covering Spanish-language sports, news and entertainment content, including 2020 election analysis and reporting.
  • A multi-year extension of Twitter’s deal with the NFL, which includes highlights and analysis.
  • The Players’ Tribune and Twitter are announcing a live talk show called “Don’t @ Me,” where two athletes with debate topics chosen in part by Twitter users.
  • A multi-year extension of Twitter’s deal with Major League Soccer.
  • Continued programming from ESPN, including new ESPN Onsite branding to highlight shows filmed on location at big events.
  • Bleacher Report is bringing “House of Highlights” back for a second season.
  • Blizzard Entertainment will be sharing content from BlizzCon in November, including the entire opening ceremony.
  • The Wall Street Journal is launching WSJ What’s Now, an original video show for Twitter. The deal will also include live-streamed content from Wall Street Journal events.
  • Bloomberg’s TicToc will expand its coverage to include events like the G20 Summit, United Nations General Assembly and World Economic Forum.
  • CNET is announcing a new partnership with Twitter, which will cover major tech industry events.
  • Time is developing new video content for Twitter around the Time Person of the Year and Time 100.
  • Live Nation is bringing a new concert series exclusively to Twitter this fall, with 10 concerts in 10 weeks.
  • At the Video Music Awards, Viacom-owned MTV will offer a Stan Cam where fans can share their own live-streamed reactions to the show. Viacom will also be live-streaming red carpet coverage from its other events.


Social – TechCrunch


SEO writing guide: From keyword to content brief

April 23, 2019 No Comments

If content is queen, and the critical role SEO plays a role of bridging the two to drive growth, then there’s no question as to whether or not keyword research is important.

However, connecting the dots to create content that ranks well can be difficult. What makes it so difficult? How do you go from a target keyword phrase and write an article that is unique, comprehensive, encompasses all the major on-page SEO elements, touches the reader, and isn’t structured like the “oh-so-familiar” generic SEO template?

Example of a typical article template structure

There’s no one size fits all approach! However, there is a simple way to support any member of your editorial, creative writing, or content team in shaping up what they need in order to write SEO-friendly content, and that’s an SEO content brief.

Key benefits of a content brief:

  • Productivity and efficiency – A content brief clearly outlines expectation for the writer resulting in reduced revisions
  • Alignment – Writers understand the intent and goals of the content
  • Quality – Reduces garbage in, garbage out.

So the rest of this article will cover how we actually get there & we’ll use this very article as an example:

  • Keyword research
  • Topical expansion
  • Content/SERP (search engine results page) analysis
  • Content brief development
  • Template and tools

Any good editor will tell you great content comes from having a solid content calendar with topics planned in advance for review and release at a regular cadence. To support topical analysis and themes as SEOs we need to start with keyword research.

Start with keyword research: Topic, audience, and objectives

The purpose of this guide isn’t to teach you how to do keyword research. It’s to set you up for success in taking the step beyond that and developing it into a content brief. Your primary keywords serve as your topic themes, but they are also the beginning makings of your content brief, so try to ensure you:

  • Spend time understanding your target audience and aligning their goals to your keywords. Many call this keyword intent mapping. Rohan Ayyr provides an excellent guide to matching keywords to intent in his article, ‘How to move from keyword research to intent research’.
  • Do the keyword research in advance, it will allow writers and editors the freedom to move things around and line it up with trending topics.

How does all this help in supporting a content brief?

You and your team can get answers to the key questions mentioned below.

  • What will they write about? Primary keywords serve as the topic in your content brief.
  • Who is the intended audience? Keyword intent helps unearth what problem the user is trying to solve, helping us understand who they are, and what they need.

Now with keywords as our guide to overall topical themes, we can focus on the next step, topical expansion.

Topical expansion: Define key points and gather questions

Writers need more than keywords, they require insight into the pain points of the reader, key areas of the topic to address and most of all, what questions the content should answer. This too will go into your content brief.

We’re in luck as SEOs because there is no shortage of tools that allow us to gather this information around a topic.

For example, let’s say this article focuses on “SEO writing”. There are a number of ways to expand on this topic.

  • Using a tool like SEMRush’s topic research tool, you can take your primary keyword (topic), and get expanded/related topics, a SERP snapshot and questions in a single view. I like this because it covers what many other tools do separately. Ultimately it supports both content expansion & SERP analysis at the same time.

Example of finding potential topics using SEMRush's topic research tool

  • Use keyword suggestion tools like KeywordTool.io or Ubersuggest to expand the terms combined with Google search results to quickly view potential topics.

Finding potential topics by combining keyword suggestion tools' results with Google's search results

  • Use Answerthepublic.com to get expanded terms and inspirational visuals.

Example of finding potential topics using Answerthepublic

You’ve taken note of what to write about, and how to cover the topic fully. But how do we begin to determine what type of content and how in-depth it should be?

Content and SERP analysis: Specifying content type and format

Okay, so we’re almost done. We can’t tell writers to write unique content if we can’t specify what makes it unique. Reviewing the competition and what’s being displayed consistently in the SERP is a quick way to assess what’s likely to work. You’ll want to look at the top ten results for your primary topic and collect the following:

  • Content type – Are the results skewed towards a specific type of content? (For example, in-depth articles, infographics, videos, or blog posts)
  • Format – Is the information formatted as a guide? A how-to? Maybe a list?
  • Differentiation points – What stands out about the top three results compared to the rest?

Content brief development: Let’s make beautiful content together

Now you’re ready to prepare your SEO content brief which should include the following:

  • Topic and objective – Your topic is your primary keyword phrase. Your objective is what this content supposed to accomplish.
  • Audience and objective – Based on your keyword intent mapping, describe who the article is meant to reach.
  • Topical coverage – Top three related keyword phrases from your topical expansion.
  • Questions to answer – Top three to five from topical expansion findings. Ensure they support your related keyword phrases as well.
  • Voice, style, tone – Use an existing content/brand style guide.
  • Content type and format – Based on your SERP analysis.
  • Content length – Based on SERP Analysis. Ensure you’re meeting the average across the top three results based on content type.
  • Deadline – This is only pertinent if you are working solo, otherwise, consult/lean on your creative team lead.

[Note: If/when using internally, consider making part of the content request process, or a template for the editorial staff. When using externally be sure to include where the content will be displayed, format/output, specialty editorial guidance.]

Template and tools

Want to take a shortcut? Feel free to download and copy my SEO content brief template, it’s a Google doc.

Other content brief templates/resources:

If you want to streamline the process as a whole, MarketMuse provides a platform that manages the keyword research, topic expansion, provides the questions, and manages the entire workflow. It even allows you to request a brief, all in one place.

I only suggest this for larger organizations looking to scale as there is an investment involved. You’d likely also have to do some work to integrate into your existing processes.

Jori Ford is Sr. Director of Content & SEO at G2Crowd. She can also be found on Twitter @chicagoseopro.

The post SEO writing guide: From keyword to content brief appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Instagram now demotes vaguely ‘inappropriate’ content

April 11, 2019 No Comments

Instagram is home to plenty of scantily clad models and edgy memes that may start to get fewer views starting today. Now Instagram says, “We have begun reducing the spread of posts that are inappropriate but do not go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines.” That means if a post is sexually suggestive, but doesn’t depict a sex act or nudity, it could still get demoted. Similarly, if a meme doesn’t constitute hate speech or harassment, but is considered in bad taste, lewd, violent or hurtful, it could get fewer views.

Specifically, Instagram says, “this type of content may not appear for the broader community in Explore or hashtag pages,” which could severely hurt the ability of creators to gain new followers. The news came amidst a flood of “Integrity” announcements from Facebook to safeguard its family of apps revealed today at a press event at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

“We’ve started to use machine learning to determine if the actual media posted is eligible to be recommended to our community,” Instagram’s product lead for Discovery, Will Ruben, said. Instagram is now training its content moderators to label borderline content when they’re hunting down policy violations, and Instagram then uses those labels to train an algorithm to identify.

These posts won’t be fully removed from the feed, and Instagram tells me for now the new policy won’t impact Instagram’s feed or Stories bar. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s November manifesto described the need to broadly reduce the reach of this “borderline content,” which on Facebook would mean being shown lower in News Feed. That policy could easily be expanded to Instagram in the future. That would likely reduce the ability of creators to reach their existing fans, which can impact their ability to monetize through sponsored posts or direct traffic to ways they make money like Patreon.

Facebook’s Henry Silverman explained that, “As content gets closer and closer to the line of our Community Standards at which point we’d remove it, it actually gets more and more engagement. It’s not something unique to Facebook but inherent in human nature.” The borderline content policy aims to counteract this incentive to toe the policy line. Just because something is allowed on one of our apps doesn’t mean it should show up at the top of News Feed or that it should be recommended or that it should be able to be advertised,” said Facebook’s head of News Feed Integrity, Tessa Lyons.

This all makes sense when it comes to clickbait, false news and harassment, which no one wants on Facebook or Instagram. But when it comes to sexualized but not explicit content that has long been uninhibited and in fact popular on Instagram, or memes or jokes that might offend some people despite not being abusive, this is a significant step up of censorship by Facebook and Instagram.

Creators currently have no guidelines about what constitutes borderline content — there’s nothing in Instagram’s rules or terms of service that even mention non-recommendable content or what qualifies. The only information Instagram has provided was what it shared at today’s event. The company specified that violent, graphic/shocking, sexually suggestive, misinformation and spam content can be deemed “non-recommendable” and therefore won’t appear on Explore or hashtag pages.

[Update: After we published, Instagram posted to its Help Center a brief note about its borderline content policy, but with no visual examples, mentions of impacted categories other than sexually suggestive content, or indications of what qualifies content as “inappropriate.” So officially, it’s still leaving users in the dark.]

Instagram denied an account from a creator claiming that the app reduced their feed and Stories reach after one of their posts that actually violates the content policy taken down.

One female creator with around a half-million followers likened receiving a two-week demotion that massively reduced their content’s reach to Instagram defecating on them. “It just makes it like, ‘Hey, how about we just show your photo to like 3 of your followers? Is that good for you? . . . I know this sounds kind of tin-foil hatty but . . . when you get a post taken down or a story, you can set a timer on your phone for two weeks to the godd*mn f*cking minute and when that timer goes off you’ll see an immediate change in your engagement. They put you back on the Explore page and you start getting followers.”

As you can see, creators are pretty passionate about Instagram demoting their reach. Instagram’s Will Ruben said regarding the feed/Stories reach reduction: No, that’s not happening. We distinguish between feed and surfaces where you’ve taken the choice to follow somebody, and Explore and hashtag pages where Instagram is recommending content to people.”

The questions now are whether borderline content demotions are ever extended to Instagram’s feed and Stories, and how content is classified as recommendable, non-recommendable or violating. With artificial intelligence involved, this could turn into another situation where Facebook is seen as shirking its responsibilities in favor of algorithmic efficiency — but this time in removing or demoting too much content rather than too little.

Given the lack of clear policies to point to, the subjective nature of deciding what’s offensive but not abusive, Instagram’s 1 billion user scale and its nine years of allowing this content, there are sure to be complaints and debates about fair and consistent enforcement.


Social – TechCrunch


Instagram now demotes vaguely ‘inappropriate’ content

April 11, 2019 No Comments

Instagram is home to plenty of scantily clad models and edgy memes that may start to get fewer views starting today. Now Instagram says, “We have begun reducing the spread of posts that are inappropriate but do not go against Instagram’s Community Guidelines.” That means if a post is sexually suggestive, but doesn’t depict a sex act or nudity, it could still get demoted. Similarly, if a meme doesn’t constitute hate speech or harassment, but is considered in bad taste, lewd, violent or hurtful, it could get fewer views.

Specifically, Instagram says, “this type of content may not appear for the broader community in Explore or hashtag pages,” which could severely hurt the ability of creators to gain new followers. The news came amidst a flood of “Integrity” announcements from Facebook to safeguard its family of apps revealed today at a press event at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

“We’ve started to use machine learning to determine if the actual media posted is eligible to be recommended to our community,” Instagram’s product lead for Discovery, Will Ruben, said. Instagram is now training its content moderators to label borderline content when they’re hunting down policy violations, and Instagram then uses those labels to train an algorithm to identify.

These posts won’t be fully removed from the feed, and Instagram tells me for now the new policy won’t impact Instagram’s feed or Stories bar. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s November manifesto described the need to broadly reduce the reach of this “borderline content,” which on Facebook would mean being shown lower in News Feed. That policy could easily be expanded to Instagram in the future. That would likely reduce the ability of creators to reach their existing fans, which can impact their ability to monetize through sponsored posts or direct traffic to ways they make money like Patreon.

Facebook’s Henry Silverman explained that, “As content gets closer and closer to the line of our Community Standards at which point we’d remove it, it actually gets more and more engagement. It’s not something unique to Facebook but inherent in human nature.” The borderline content policy aims to counteract this incentive to toe the policy line. Just because something is allowed on one of our apps doesn’t mean it should show up at the top of News Feed or that it should be recommended or that it should be able to be advertised,” said Facebook’s head of News Feed Integrity, Tessa Lyons.

This all makes sense when it comes to clickbait, false news and harassment, which no one wants on Facebook or Instagram. But when it comes to sexualized but not explicit content that has long been uninhibited and in fact popular on Instagram, or memes or jokes that might offend some people despite not being abusive, this is a significant step up of censorship by Facebook and Instagram.

Creators currently have no guidelines about what constitutes borderline content — there’s nothing in Instagram’s rules or terms of service that even mention non-recommendable content or what qualifies. The only information Instagram has provided was what it shared at today’s event. The company specified that violent, graphic/shocking, sexually suggestive, misinformation and spam content can be deemed “non-recommendable” and therefore won’t appear on Explore or hashtag pages.

[Update: After we published, Instagram posted to its Help Center a brief note about its borderline content policy, but with no visual examples, mentions of impacted categories other than sexually suggestive content, or indications of what qualifies content as “inappropriate.” So officially, it’s still leaving users in the dark.]

Instagram denied an account from a creator claiming that the app reduced their feed and Stories reach after one of their posts that actually violates the content policy taken down.

One female creator with around a half-million followers likened receiving a two-week demotion that massively reduced their content’s reach to Instagram defecating on them. “It just makes it like, ‘Hey, how about we just show your photo to like 3 of your followers? Is that good for you? . . . I know this sounds kind of tin-foil hatty but . . . when you get a post taken down or a story, you can set a timer on your phone for two weeks to the godd*mn f*cking minute and when that timer goes off you’ll see an immediate change in your engagement. They put you back on the Explore page and you start getting followers.”

As you can see, creators are pretty passionate about Instagram demoting their reach. Instagram’s Will Ruben said regarding the feed/Stories reach reduction: No, that’s not happening. We distinguish between feed and surfaces where you’ve taken the choice to follow somebody, and Explore and hashtag pages where Instagram is recommending content to people.”

The questions now are whether borderline content demotions are ever extended to Instagram’s feed and Stories, and how content is classified as recommendable, non-recommendable or violating. With artificial intelligence involved, this could turn into another situation where Facebook is seen as shirking its responsibilities in favor of algorithmic efficiency — but this time in removing or demoting too much content rather than too little.

Given the lack of clear policies to point to, the subjective nature of deciding what’s offensive but not abusive, Instagram’s 1 billion user scale and its nine years of allowing this content, there are sure to be complaints and debates about fair and consistent enforcement.

Mobile – TechCrunch