How editorial content can save your SEO

What is editorial content and how can it save your SEO? It’s a tall order. I know. But if you’ve been doing SEO content marketing but haven’t been getting results, this is the blog post for you.

Here, you’ll learn:

What exactly is editorial content and how can it friggin’ help SMBs with blogging?

Editorial content is anything published online or in print that serves to inform, educate and entertain, rather than sell. This is any type of content that people don’t pay for you to do.

In content marketing, this is your blog and all types of content to bring awareness to your brand. This includes how-to guides, FAQs, infographics, videos and so on.

On the other end, there’s commercial or advertising (or ad) content. This is any type of content that people pay for to get featured. In print, you’re probably familiar with magazine ads. And they’re rarely subtle. When you’re being paid to promote another product on your blog, this paid mention is called an online ad.

The distinction between editorial and advertising content has become blurrier in recent years. More magazines are positioning paid content as editorials. It’s a whole lot of politics that is too complex for this blog post.

In terms of content marketing, some editorial content may read like ads. But this is an example of content marketing that you shouldn’t do.

Why? Ads are based on disrupting the readers’ attention toward something else that’s not directly related to the content you’re reading. Most people hate this.

The best type of content marketing reads like an editorial. It is not salesy but helpful. It celebrates your brand and your customers. And most importantly, by merely upholding the principles in editorial content, great content marketing converts.

As such, editorial content can save a failing SEO strategy with blog posts that either aren’t climbing up the search results or are too generic for your target audience.

But how?

How can editorial content save your SEO strategy

I’ll cut to the chase: an editorial-first SEO content strategy will help you create articles that you aren’t ashamed to show to your customers.

Many marketers make a distinction between content for the community and for SEO. This is a huge mistake that can lead to a waste of content resources in the long-run.

Great SEO content needs to be editorial and helpful. Here’s a Venn diagram to illustrate what I mean by this.

editorial content and seo venn diagram

Simple enough to remember, right? To create damn good SEO editorial content, you need to find the positioning and message that will resonate with your existing audience while attracting organic search traffic by targeting relevant keywords.

For example, this blog post is optimized for search and targets editorial content. But writing simply about editorial content would be weird for my audience without placing it within the context of SEO. So I’m writing this topic on how editorial content principles can help you on your SEO strategy.

Branding is everything. And SEO keywords are just waiting to be branded. For an SEO keyword to be effective, you need to center the topic around what your customers love to read about. In fact, SEO is not just publishing a number of blog posts to rank on Google. It is converting the people from organic search who might want to purchase your offering.

Why and how does this work? Here are the reasons:

Editorial content principles to consider

Content that you post on your own blog is editorial. Even if your blog has a specific product to sell, this is still an example of editorial content. So how do you effectively apply editorial principles in content marketing?

Help. Don’t sell. Offer your product as the solution.

The power of having your own blog is that you can sell your product at any given moment. But this doesn’t mean that you should simply do what I just told you.

Great content marketing creates solutions based around the offering that they’re highlighting. Content that doesn’t convert tries to sell to people who don’t care about your brand. It’s as simple as that.

But how do you do become helpful? Here’s an example. Suppose you’re writing a guide to email marketing. If you’re an email service provider (ESP), it’s very easy to just start selling your product early on. But don’t do that.

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, who’s stumbled upon your guide via search. As the reader, you read this guide because you want to learn about email marketing. But after the introduction, you get propositioned to use this email tool. This can get irritated.

It’s not because the tool necessarily sucks. It’s because you’ve started reading the article under the assumption of learning something. But then it’s suddenly trying to sell you stuff. That sucks.

So, yeah, don’t try selling early on. Here’s the “help” funnel to, umm, help you make sure that you’re helping and not selling:

Why do people click on your article? Whether they come from Google or social media, people click because the title or summary piqued their interest. Now, they’ll continue on reading if the article is interesting and helpful. If not, they’ll stop reading.

Throughout this process, you need to make sure that your content correctly identifies their issues and that you offer relevant solutions. When positioning your product, put it as part of your solution. Remember, here, you want your reader to trust in what you’re saying. People don’t trust ads. I mean, do you trust ads? If your reader feels like you’ve been truthful throughout the blog post, they might turn into a loyal email subscriber.

By positioning your product as part of the solution, you’re helping the reader solve their problem, rather than trying to acquire their attention. The best content marketing is editorial. Why would you try to disrupt their attention when they’re already in your blog?

Create editorial guidelines centered on your branding

This is especially important to those who use blogging as a customer acquisition funnel. When writing an editorial, you have to respect some editorial guidelines.

These guidelines show the writer how content for this publication should read like. Yes, even first-person accounts get into a crushing editorial process that can leave even the very best of writers weeping in their sleep!

I’m not saying that your writers should cry in their sleep. But your blog should at least be at least cohesive, especially when it comes to the way it communicates with your readers. Essentially, you want to make sure that your blog writers have the following information:

These guidelines serve one main purpose: to help you bring in conversions. Case in point: you might want to get into the nitty-gritty behind email coding for an email marketing blog, but you’ll need to target readers who are email developers! Otherwise, most email marketers won’t have any idea what you’re on about.

Have a vision

In my opinion, the best type of editorial content is not afraid to take a stand or have an opinion on certain topics.

In content marketing, your primary goal is to help the reader. I’ve made this clear in the first point. But whenever it’s appropriate, don’t hesitate to tell your readers about what you stand for and the values that render your product or service unique.

The first point is based around the idea that you need to help solve your readers’ problems. Having a vision brings character and flavor to your overall brand.

People don’t just buy and use products and services because they’re useful. They also use you for your brand. I mean, as a consumer, think of the times that you’ve decided to use one product over the other purely because it appealed to you on an emotional level!

Here’s a counter-argument. You may argue that people don’t use tools in B2B because of the “brand”. Well, then, if you do email marketing, what is the tool that you’re currently using? Is it Mailchimp? If so, then how did you come about into using it?

Chances are, you chose your emailing tool because many people recommended it. This is a fine example of how word of mouth can give you new clients.

Branding can mean so many things. But in terms of content marketing, just making sure to talk about your vision or your brand’s raison d’être can turn your readers into at least supporters of your brand.

Talking about your vision is an excellent way to bring some personality into your writing. It also attracts people who feel similarly and very strongly about the same topic.

The best type of content marketing is editorial

All right, editorial content won’t save you if you already have issues on your branding and communication. But learning about key principles behind great editorial content will help your content marketing get more conversions and clients.

Ultimately, it’s all about age-old frameworks that have worked well in other types of writing. These are tried-and-true methods that have worked well for writers and even content marketers who have learned how to apply them.

As such, when creating your content marketing strategy, please focus on helping your reader in every relevant way possible. Whatever “helping” means within your context, you need to highlight your offering within this context. You definitely don’t want your blog to read like one huge sales pitch or ad. It’s not attractive.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post. As always if you need help on creating darn good SEO blog posts, don’t hesitate to contact me: julian@embarque.io. I’ll be more than happy to help you create great editorial content. Thanks for reading!

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