The Importance of Differentiated Content

Written by Nick Stamoulis

In a recent interview I did with SEO expert Eric Enge we started talking about the role content marketing plays in SEO. In my experience, without great content to propel your brand forward sooner or later your SEO campaign is bound to fall stagnant. After all, content is what fuels your social media campaigns; it earns links naturally, build your reputation and authority, increases your presence in the SERPs and so forth. But Eric made an interesting point in his interview. Having unique content is good, but it may not be good enough to help your brand stand out. What you really need is differentiated content. Here is what he said;

If you search on something like <intitle:”mortgage tips”> in Google you get 8,250 results.  You could write a brilliant, unique, new article on the topic, but no one will ever know.  You will simply be the 8,251st article on the topic written.  So the article may be unique, but there is really no chance that you are going to say something that others have not said before.  The result: it does not stand out…the big key is to create something new that is user and search engine discernible.  Don’t write the 8,251st article on mortgage tips.  Find a way to discuss something new that people care about.  Bring immediate new value that a user can recognize in 2 seconds or less.

Eric makes a great point. As more and more brands realize the value of content marketing and invest in it for their own needs it’s going to be harder and harder to stand out in the SERPs simply because of the sheer volume of content you’re competing with. It’s not going to be enough to write great content, you have to make sure your content stands out in some other way and provides unique value to your readers AND the search engines if you want it to rank well. No matter what market you are in there is bound to be competition, so differentiated content is what will help your brand stand above the fray and actually get noticed by your target audience.

Creating differentiated content means stepping outside of your comfort zone and pushing your content creation efforts to a new level. If everyone in your industry is writing top 10 list blog post can you find a way to create a top 50 or a top 100? That big number might the edge your content needs to stand out. If your competition locks their white papers being download forms could you leave your long form content open to searchers? The information might be similar but yours is more accessible and people can easily find and share it, helping it stand out. Have you ever tried videos? Interviews? Infographics? Or even a unique app on your website? Creating differentiated content means testing and tweaking, finding out what works for your audience and what gets your brand the attention it needs to survive online.

Creating differentiated content might also mean centering on topics you haven’t written about before, creating new parallels (like what did SEO and the Romney tax plan have in common) that makes you readers stop and think, or even focusing on keywords you never thought were all that important. The amount of unchartered waters out there is shrinking, so you better start forging ahead while there is still territory to claim!

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