Content Confidential | Miss any of our top blog posts of 2013? 

What lessons are there to be learned from our best-performing blog posts of 2013? And what do they say about how to approach content marketing strategy for 2014?

 Content Confidential | Miss any of our top blog posts of 2013? 

What does Google’s Hummingbird update mean for copywriters? 

Google’s (fairly) recent Hummingbird update is its most significant overhaul since 2001. It’s about making search more human and more responsive to conversational search – that is, asking Google a question, just as you would a colleague.

As for what it means for content, it’s pretty simple: you don’t need to over-use keywords or cram them in. Instead, create content that speaks to your customer. Offer valuable, practical and useful pieces that speak to them about what they care about.

Key takeaway: It’s all about quality. Google will reward content that is sophisticated, valuable and human. If you’re already doing that, bingo. If not – rethink your approach.

Readability versus cloze tests: How good are they for checking how understandable your content is? 

Our post argues that while there are a variety of online tools to help you audit the readability of your content, it’s crucial that you build smart thinking into your content marketing. 

User experience, site responsiveness and ease of reading are all crucial if your content is to succeed.

Key takeaway: Use mobile as your test case. If your content isn’t clear enough to be understood on a mobile device, you’ll need to implement a mobile content strategy.

9 words & phrases copywriters should avoid 

As our State of digital copywriting report amply demonstrated, everyone has a content pet hate. It might be empty superlatives, claiming that your offering is ‘unique’ (really?), or presenting everything as a ‘solution’. 

Such vague or stale phrases only work to muddle meanings and diminish the impact of your messages. If you use the same clichés as everyone else, your users will end up not even noticing your words. 

Key takeaway: Clarity and freshness are key. Take a long, hard look at your content and identify any weak areas. Weed out those low-value phrases – and don’t allow them to slip back in.

Why you shouldn’t dismiss the corporate blog 

Website blog? Bit 2002, isn’t it? Not a bit of it – this post on the value to be found in corporate blogs shows that they can be hugely beneficial in generating leads and driving ROI.

Many businesses are ditching traditional digital content platforms like the corporate blog in favour of newer social media. But, as our post argues, a blog helps to drive search traffic and can act as a central content hub from which all your other activity flows. It’s also a low-effort way to inject freshness and momentum into your content marketing. 

Key takeaway: It’s about what works for you. Don’t think that just because everyone is on Twitter and Facebook that you have to be too. Develop a strategy that suits your goals and audiences.

Qualitative or quantitative audits: Which one do you need? 

Both. Our post on quantitative audits – what content you have – and qualitative audits – whether it’s any good or not – suggests that they both have an important role to play.

Quantitative audits allow you to get a wholesale view of how much content you have, what types of pages, who wrote them and what links where. Qualitative audits are about judging the value of your work. Does it support business goals? Is it easy to read? Bringing the two together can have real benefits.

Key takeaway: Combine data and insight. Audit, audit, audit – then take your findings and refine your content strategies for 2014.

Is the ‘web magazine’ obsolete? 

While web magazines can be useful, a common problem is that companies try to graft on traditional print approaches to them.

As our post on the subject suggested, web users ‘won’t rush back to your website each month to grab the latest release of content, mulling over it until next month. Websites aren’t newsstands.’

Key takeaway: Think digitally. Make sure the strategy behind your online content is based on online behaviour.