Creating content that reliably reaches your existing and prospective customers, regardless of their role or stage in the decision-making process, sometimes means covering the same topic more than once. This often creates a bit of anxiety in many companies - if we just write about the same thing all the time, won't people get sick of us? In this episode, me and Alexander tried to put this concern to rest.
Yep, you read that right - Alexander is back! The original host of The Onlinification Pod returned from paternity leave this week, and I took advantage of his knowledge of content creation to record a more content-focused episode this week.
It's understandable when companies get worried about repeating themselves too much. When launching a new knowledge hub, you want to make the best possible impression on your readers, both internal and external. But the fact is that performing well on search and reaching your required audience often requires retreading familiar ground. There's probably a large number of popular search keywords around your target topics that your audience is searching for, and it's definitely the case that your audience is made up of individuals with different roles, responsibilities and challenges. This means that to get the maximum possible reach, you need to cover the same topics multiple times.
This shouldn't worry you, for two reasons - firstly, no-one, not even your most dedicated followers, reads absolutely all of your content all of the time, word-for-word. As an internal stakeholder, you probably have a really clear overview of everything you've ever published - but your external audience doesn't. Due to the unpredictability of search engines, social media algorithms and personal taste, different parts of your audience will only consume a small fraction of the content you've produced during a specific time period. So to reach all of them, you need to present the same knowledge from different angles and viewpoints.
Secondly, with quality content creation, you can create this kind of content without boring your readers. In our discussion, me and Alex discussed some tips and best practices around how to avoid being too repetitive with your content - I thought it was an interesting chat, and I hope you will too.
You can listen to this week's episode and subscribe on the podcast platform of your choice using the links below. There's also a full transcription of the episode further down, if you're in a rush.
DB: So, hello Alexander.
AE: Hello, Doug.
DB: Welcome back!
AE: Thank you.
DB: It's nice to have you back, you went on leave in November?
AE: Yeah, end of November.
DB: And then this is your first week back to normal?
AE: Yeah, exactly.
DB: How do you think it's gone with the pod over this winter?
AE: Yeah, I have listened to every episode while going out with the stroller with my kid during my paternity leave. So I have had time to listen and, yeah, I really like you as a host, you've been very good, and also the guests. So yeah.
DB: It's very flattering. I know that Anders has been trying to drum up some kind of tension or rivalry between us on the pod, but I think we can put that to bed.
AE: Yeah. Yeah.
DB: Good. Well, since you're back today and you're also a content creator at Zooma, I thought we would take a kind of more content-focused episode, and the title or the question, or statement I kind of came up with when trying to think about what it would be about, would be why it's okay that not all of your customers read all of your content all of the time. And that idea kind of came from a question that I've had a lot in this role and in previous roles, both when creating content for Zooma and for our customers and for other companies that I've worked at, that people sometimes get concerned that like, you know, we've got a new article coming this week, you kind of present it and you discuss what it's going to be about. But that's then someone says, "Wait a second, we had a very similar article to this a few weeks ago. Have we not already covered this topic? Are people not going to get sick of, you know, reading the same thing over and over again? People are just going to think, you know, we're copying our own work, they're going to unsubscribe, they're not going to like us anymore." Do you recognize that objection or problem from these stakeholders, I suppose?
AE: Yeah, yeah. I've heard that before as well. The quick answer is, we often talk about relevance and creating relevant content and, and every content which you create is not relevant for all your customers. So for example, I mean, this episode, for example, it's, it's maybe relevant for someone who has exactly this discussion in their marketing team or organization, and that's relevant for a person who is able to either watch this podcast or listen to it. But if we would write about this in the blog posts, maybe that would be more relevant for another person who doesn't have the time to listen to this episode or just, getting it in a news email or something. Or what do you think, Doug?
DB: Yeah, no, exactly. I was trying to think of a good example from Zooma, but I suppose I could just make one up. Like, you know, we write a lot about marketing automation quite often, and I think actually we probably do have more than one article where the topic basically is 'the benefits of marketing automation', they maybe have different titles or something. But you know, they're both focused on, on that main topic, what are the benefits of marketing automation? But like you said, those benefits look very different depending on who you are. Like if you're someone in a role like what you and me have, except at a company, you know, the benefits of marketing automation might be that you can get more subscribers to your blog, you know, because you could use automation to send some kind of promotion email to leads who have downloaded some kind of guide from your blog and encourage them to subscribe. So that could be one benefit for you. But if you're like a sales manager or something, that'd be a bit further up the hierarchy or in a different part of the company, in a different part of the building. Those benefits of automation might look very different, like it becomes more effective and less time consuming to kind of nurture leads and stuff that you have in your CRM. So, so that's a kind of typical example, and that's the way we work at Zooma and that's kind of the way we encourage our customers to do. And you know, like we said, even though you sometimes get the objections, you have to be aware of the fact that not everyone who knows your company or even not everyone who subscribes to your blog actually reads absolutely everything that comes through into their inbox. I guess you can recognize that from your own online behaviour, you know, you don't click on exactly everything you see on LinkedIn, right?
AE: No, exactly. It's I was thinking about that right now, how I consume content on the web from different companies. For example, take HubSpot, for example. They have a lot of topics about inbound and there are so many different angles which are relevant for a content creator like us or inbound for written from a different angle, for example, in customer support or something, you need to have different angles on topics and covering it all.
DB: And it's probably also good to mention the SEO aspect as well because, you know, if we go back to our example of the marketing automation thing, when you plan out your content, you might have a load of keywords that you want to cover because they have high traffic and they're relevant for you and your company and your customers and things. But sometimes they are pretty similar. Like maybe you have one keyword that's like the benefits of marketing automation, and another one that's the advantages of marketing automation. They're synonyms, really. They literally mean the exact same thing. But I suppose if you, if you really want to optimize for search and make sure that you get found when people search for automation, then you kind of have to cover these things. But I mean that, you know, we've been talking about how people perceive this kind of content, but it's tricky for the content creator as well. Right. I know that you've we've spoken about that before outside of the pod that you're working on an article. But it's becoming difficult to formulate the same thing in a different way for a very similar keyword, right?
AE: Yeah. Yeah. You often find your favorite explanation of, of a product or service solution or some part of it. And then it's very easy to like get stuck with that and use it over and over again. But that's really harmful for SEO, or could be harmful for SEO . So it's important to have variations. And I think the easiest way to find those variations is to actually think about the persona. And for example, if you're writing to a decision-maker in an organization, try to use some formulations which are in their world and talk about more organizational wise, while if you would create content on the same topic, but for more like influencer or practitioner, maybe you can use another vocabulary or explain it in a slightly different way.
DB: Yeah, exactly. I think that's kind of the way to do it, it really is to keep the target group or the persona really at the front of your mind and think, "okay, this article is getting pretty similar to the one that I sat and wrote three weeks ago," you know, but try and think about who do I want to be reading this? Is it a decision-maker in an office, or is it a practitioner, also in an office I suppose, but in a different kind of job. But even so, you know, despite us trying to get rid of this kind of concern, that you repeat yourself with your content too much and they do have a point, I think, you know, maybe you do have a few keywords that you want to target that that focus on the same thing, but you can't have too many that are too similar. I would say, you know, maybe you have like marketing automation benefits and you have advantages, but you don't need another ten or 15 synonyms that mean the same basically the same thing, because then you probably will end up repeating yourself a bit too much. But like, can you think of any other best practices that you could use as a content creator really just to stop yourself from, from duplicating things too much.
AE: Yeah, I'm, I'm thinking about the objective of the content, the purpose of the content. If we are about to, if we have an objective to, to really rank high on a specific topic, then it's very important to cover it very wide, but, but also narrow in, in the articles. And but as you said, if you have like subscribers who get each week another synonym about the same topic they got last week, that news letter is not really relevant or it quickly becomes not so valuable because they feel like they read about that last week. So I think, yeah, you need to balance those two and maybe you can build up that wide and narrow library of, of topics which you, you can update the old blog post and so on and make sure that you cover everything, yes, for your SEO purpose. But then you can balance and vary creating new topics which you are using in the newsletter and and updating and so on. It feels like you need to balance this to. Yes, yeah. I think about my experience as a subscriber.
DB: Yeah, there always needs to be a good mix I suppose. And I mean, that's what we do on our. On the online application. Hope. You know, we have we publish a lot of content that we want to perform well on search. But in between that kind of content, we often have things that are still interesting and good, but maybe not so search friendly. You know, we usually say things that are a little bit more philosophical, you know, kind of usually this is reflections on online and digital and stuff is kind of hard to get those kind of articles really optimized for a particular keyword, but it doesn't really matter because we have so much of the SEO focused content and we need that other, other kind of content for a good mix. Great. Well, I think we can finish this for today, but a nice, short and sweet episode to get you back into the podcast.
AE: Yeah, it's nice to be back.
DB: Yeah. Do you think we should do like a teaser of what sort of episodes were we're going to be recording in the future? We've spoken about basically we have an idea that we want everyone at Zooma to be on the podcast at some point, but quite a lot of internal guests right now. But there's still like ten or 15 people maybe who haven't been on yet. So that's going to be good. There's going to be some new voices or faces, I suppose, in the pod pretty soon. Is there anything else?
AE: Yeah, we're talking about doing this series of getting to know each Zoomer. So we're going to do more interview about what what people are doing it to. And so you can get to know each and everyone that's at Zuma. Are you who partner with Zuma. So we think it's nice to be able to get to know each other.
DB: We've spoken about more external guests as well. We had Linda from Comactiva on a couple of weeks ago.
AE: Yeah, that was a very good episode.
DB: We want some more non-Zooma people as well. So maybe if you're listening you'll get an email arriving in your inbox fairly soon inviting you. Fantastic, well, I look forward to it very much. Thanks for joining today, Alex.
AE: Thank you.
DB: And we'll speak to each other soon.
AE: Yeah. Bye bye.
DB: Bye bye.