5 Journalistic Techniques To Raise The Level Of Your SEO Content

A significant amount of time, effort, expertise, or talent. 

This is what it takes to create high-quality content in Google’s own words.

In fact, the official guidelines they give their raters constantly include these 4 elements —time, effort, expertise and talent— as basic criteria that make the difference between high and low quality content.

In other words…

There are no miracle tricks to help us create better SEO content.

It is not a big surprise. It is something that all of us who are dedicated to content marketing and SEO know and that Google has repeated ad nauseam. Just like the content creation strategy for Damascus Steel Knife as resulted in massive sales and growth for the business.

But it is difficult to accept it and it is difficult to put it into practice.

What does it mean to create quality content? What does it really mean?

  • On the one hand is the what: understand the audience, know what they want and give it to them.
  • On the other is the how: to understand how you prefer to consume the content, how it should be written or structured so that reading is entertaining and attention is maintained.

To answer these two questions, marketers need to think a little less like marketers and a little more like journalists.

Why not be inspired by the sector that leads the production of quality content?

The media and journalists understand better than anyone the business of audiences and how to work information to gain their attention.

And they know how to produce multiple items simultaneously (sometimes on the same day) following high quality standards.

So there may be no shortcuts or hacks, but if we talk about quality, these 5 journalistic techniques could help you raise the level of your SEO content.

1. Choose the angle better

There are endless possibilities for tackling a topic. And when a journalist writes a story or a report, he does so by deciding what information he is going to leave out and what is going to stand out.

That is, you select a certain point of view, the one that you consider most interesting for your audience at a certain time.

That point of view is what is known in journalism as an angle.

And the importance of the angle in SEO content is vital, although it is a topic that you probably have not heard much about.

In fact, of the six criteria Rand Fishkin sets for 10X content – content that is 10 times better than the best organic result for a given keyword – three are closely related to angle.

To find the best angle for SEO content, you need to research two things: what angles have already been used and what other possible angles could be used to satisfy that search intent.

Investigate which angles others have chosen

SEO is a competition discipline. The space in the top positions of the rankings is limited, therefore if you want to make a hole you have to do something different, something better.

And although there are different ways to differentiate, one of the most basic and simple is through the angle.

Tip: review the top 10 Google results for the keyword you want to rank for and analyze its format and angle: news, analysis, listicle (‘the top 10 …’), in-depth article, chronology, etc.

Find other useful angles to satisfy your search intent

The ultimate goal of good SEO content is to deliver a satisfactory answer for a given search intention, and in that sense, not all angles work equally well.

Imagine you’re writing an article about online visual content creation and design tools for marketers. These are some possible angles:

  • History of online design tools
  • What are online design tools and what are they for?
  • Top 10 Free Visual Tools Rated by Marketers
  • Basic design guide with online tools for marketers

The four angles are valid, but the first two seem less interesting than the last two: they are less practical and in this case the search intention is associated with knowing visual tools (the newest, the best …) and / or learning how to use them. .

Tip: What are the most useful angles for your audience? Among these, choose one that has not been used by your competition yet. If it is not possible, decide in what aspect you are going to surpass your competition (quality or originality of the information, extension, etc.).

2. Highlight the news

It does not matter if it is journalism or SEO content. The information should always be useful and valuable to an audience, so it is necessary to understand what aspects of the topic make it newsworthy or relevant.

Why is it worth talking about? What is the interest? 

There is no single answer to these questions, but in journalism the news usually has to do with one of these aspects:

  • Is it something new or different
  • It’s something that has changed
  • It is recent or recently discovered
  • Causes an impact or affects the lives of a group of people

In the case of SEO content, we do not deal as often with news as with practical and actionable content that intends to be useful, but we can enhance the newsworthy by highlighting:

  • The problem for which a new solution is provided
  • Unexplored opportunities related to the topic
  • Original or underrepresented related viewpoints
  • The consequences and impact of the topic on the audience

Another option is to link the topic to a particular date, time of year, event, or trend.

Have you noticed that the media writes more about diets after the summer holidays and Christmas?

They deliberately exploit the time factor and the reason is simple: there are times when a topic becomes more relevant and generates more attention.

hink about how you could relate the topics you want to write about with what is happening today and with the most important dates.

For example, if you are publishing an article about the best copywriting books for marketers, maybe you can take advantage of one of these moments:

  • The international day of the book (April 23).
  • The day the death or birth of David Ogilvy, one of the best copywriters in history, is commemorated.
  • Just before summer (to focus on as a summer reading list).

In addition to the novelty and the time factor, journalists often highlight other newsworthy details that act as magnets for attention.

This is particularly important in the context of content oversaturation in which we live.

Tip: guide your audience’s attention to the most relevant parts of the content by highlighting eye-catching elements such as titles and subtitles, relevant statistics, actionable tips or surprising data.

3. Contact expert sources

A source of quality information is for a journalist what sap is to plants: an essential nutrient.

To write quality SEO content, we must go beyond online research and offer expert points of view and opinions.

And this, again, is not said by a journalist or a marketer. Google says it in that quality guide that I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

“The highest quality pages and websites have a very high level of expertise or authority, or are highly reliable.” 

Or what is the same: for Google, quality content and expertise go hand in hand.

Obviously, this depends a lot on the subject and the sector for which it is written and the knowledge that the author himself has.

It is not the same to write about the best gifts for Father’s Day than about the evolution of investments in artificial intelligence.

But what does expertise and authority mean in your field? Who are the experts in your sector? Where can you find reliable sources of information?

Just like a journalist would, the best thing you can do to create relevant, reliable and quality content is to talk to the experts.

In content marketing, we call this contacting Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who are those people who know a certain topic from top to bottom.

Depending on the subject, SMEs can be from commercials or managers of your company, to specialized journalists, through scientists or members of an organization.

Tip: identify the possible experts with whom you could talk about a certain topic, prepare your questions and interview them in person or by video call or email. Edit their responses and use them in content as part of arguments and as expert quotes.

4. Use storytelling

The stories usually include details that help to visualize a scene, elements of change and / or conflict that maintain tension and a more descriptive prose that tries to involve the reader and create an emotional bond.

All these elements can have a great impact when it comes to improving vital metrics for SEO content such as bounce rate, time on page or the number of pages per session.

And it turns out that in English news stories or articles published by the media are called news stories… by chance? No way.

Journalists are professional storytellers.

They know how to discover the conflict, the change or the potential that is hidden behind a topic and turn it into a story that connects with the audience. That’s what all good writers – journalists, novelists, or content marketers – actually do.

But as much as it is fashionable to talk about storytelling in marketing, this is a point that is still difficult to apply to SEO content.

Especially in the case of B2B content, when we are not dealing with human interest topics, but highly specialized and technical topics. In these cases, finding an attractive way to tell the story costs more.

However, journalists manage to give that magic touch to any subject in which they propose it. It is a matter of perspective.

For example, consider introducing a blog post.

You can open the article with basic or statistical data on the topic you are going to talk about. But you can also start by telling a personal story that is related to the topic.

Check out these two examples of storytelling applied to blog post introductions.

Both start from personal experiences apparently unconnected with the subject to create expectation and include small details, which might seem expendable, but add color and flavor.

5. Become a good editor

Half journalist, half marketer.

That would be the ideal definition of the content editor, a figure that companies with more sophisticated content strategies already have.

One of the requirements for effective SEO content is that it be entertaining. That is, not only useful, but engaging and enjoyable to read.

And that’s where a good editor comes in, whose mission is to make the reading experience optimal.

What if you don’t have the resources to hire an editor? A good SEO content writer can also take on this role.

Editing involves making many small changes, but the fundamental idea behind all of them is the same: discard the parts of the content that do not contribute and rearrange what is left in the best possible way.

Does your sentence spark joy? Editing is like applying Marie Kondo’s method to writing.

Tip: if you are going to assume the role of editor yourself, think about everything that is not necessary and eliminate it. Mercilessly. More specifically, you should look for:

  • Phrases or paragraphs that are repeated. Even if it is not in the same words. Why waste the reader’s scant attention?
  • Explanations that are left over. This depends on the context, but think about how much information the reader needs to understand the idea in your head and give it to them. No more no less.
  • Specialized jargon or complicated words. Ask yourself if you can use words that don’t require additional explanation.
  • Very long sentences. Are you sure there is no way to put it in fewer words?
  • Complex ideas. Are you sure there isn’t a simpler way to say it? Think about whether it is possible to explain it through analogies, metaphors, or examples.

As you can see, SEO content writers and marketers have a lot to learn from journalists.

The purpose of news is to convey stories that are new, relevant, valuable and have an impact on the lives of those who read it.

In the case of SEO content, we should aspire to the same.

We have a business objective, there is deep keyword analysis and technical optimization behind it. But none of this works if the content does not have a purpose, if it is not useful, if it is not of quality.

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