Beyond Content

The phrase "content is king" has been around for years. It suggests that the content you publish online—websites, social media, email, etc.—defines your brand or business more than anything else. This still holds true… with one key qualification.

These days, authentic content is king. It's not enough to pump your website full of blog posts or wordy landing pages "for SEO." Both Google and the average customer demand more. They're demanding authentic content.

Connecting with your customers via authentic content is a strategy you can (and should) apply to any digital channel in 2021. Let's take a closer look.

What Is Authentic Content?

First, authentic content communicates to your audience using clear, plain language—the language they're used to. It's less concerned with keyword stuffing or making sure NEW and FREE are always all-caps. Instead, authentic content tries to be human.

A common example. Are you doing any automated email sends? Using some personalization with “first names” might sound like a good step. However, this can be a big red flag of inauthenticity. When I see an email that says “HI TARA", I know that it came from some lead generation form that's just trying to push me through a sales funnel. It doesn’t look natural, even if the point was to be personable.

Authentic Social Media Content

Instagram or Facebook stories are great channels to show off a more authentic version of your business. It’s a quick way to talk directly to your customers without a polished video script or setting.

You can easily give glimpses behind the scenes, show off your team, and present a more approachable, authentic, version of your company.

Authentic Content Can Help SEO

Using clear and authentic language also connects to how people are searching for products and services. After all, customers don't use complex business jargon to find what they're looking for. They (like all of us) search using simple, efficient language. "How often should I change car oil?"

Google wants to "teach" its ranking algorithm to think like a human so it can provide the most relevant results for every search. So, in May of this year, Google will launch a new algorithm based on user page experience. This includes factors like load speed, security, intrusive ads, and so on. But also judges the quality and accessibility of your site content. Imagine the algorithm asking: "Does it feel like a human wrote this"

Authentic content should improve user page experience—which should improve your SEO.

Related to this, voice search is continuing to rise, now accounting for almost 50% of all Google Local Searches. Make sure your paid search campaigns are taking into account different search queries, because how you type a question and how you speak a question are probably different.

You may need to do some keyword research to make sure the content and copy on your website resonates with what people are searching for.

But it’s not just your website that needs an authentic content plan. Think of all the digital means you’re using to communicate with your customers. Social channels, email, media placements—all of those contact points should be telling a story that's relevant and valuable to your customers.

Authentic Local Listings

Many brands fail to fully utilize their Google My Business pages. But this is an easy—and sometimes necessary—way to prove your authenticity to customers. Current and potential customers should be able to get a feel for your business, see your reviews, and be able to access the most important information without much effort.

Let's be honest: it doesn't look very authentic when a business's local listing—a restaurant for example—is missing updated business hours, meaningful customer reviews, or responses to those reviews. Pass.

But with solid local listing content and a review management strategy, your likelihood of showing up in local search increases both from a normal and voice search perspective.

Authentic content can still be professional and refined. But it's more concerned about meeting customers where they're at than sounding smart or trendy. So in 2021, leverage all your technology tools with an authentic content plan with your customers in mind!

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