Keeping it real: using news in your SEO content strategy

Using the news in your content marketing mixThe rules of SEO have fundamentally changed – and I welcome it! Long gone are the days where a client will ask me to optimize a page to a certain percentage of density. Hooray! I can’t tell you how hard and frustrating that was. Now that quality is the cornerstone of online marketing and SEO, I’m having a lot more fun – and my clients are getting better results.

But I’m not going to pull a Pollyanna. Creating quality content – and lots of it – is not without its obstacles.

The biggest challenge for the new rules of SEO is producing enough content at a high enough quality to keep your ideal customers and search engines happy. It’s gotten even more complicated now that your brand has to be socially active in order to rank well.

You’re tasked with being interesting, helpful and shareable along with covering the topics that your clients might be looking for. With each Google update, we’ve gotten hints that social activity is important to search engine results – and Google Plus authorship is a further indication that you need social response to your content to rank well.

So there are two major content publishing challenges your brand is looking at if it wants to rank well – frequency of content and interest to your audience. Without these bases covered, SEO is going to become harder from here on out.

What’s the solution? It’s news.

By using news articles as part of your SEO content strategy, you can build authority with search engines, maintain your production schedule and create social conversations.

Why News?

News-based content marketing helps you position yourself right where your target marketing is looking. 78 percent of Internet users use the web as a source for finding and reading news – and 137 million Internet users get news online at least three times per week. You can bet that your target audience is part of that number.

By developing a news component to your existing website or integrating news-based articles into your existing blog, you can develop content rapidly without sacrificing quality. Research has shown that consumers love brands that they associate with the news – and search engines do too.

When you publish industry news on your website you:

  • Continually update your website with fresh, SEO-optimized content.
  • Keep your readers coming back to your website – or RSS feed.
  • Create a large pool of content to share on social sites.
  • Increase the chances of spreading your brand name (and awesome content) across social sites.
  • Create multiple inbound links to your site from other sources.

And best of all – you can do it without having a full-time journalist on board.

How to Create News Content for SEO

So now that you know the benefits – how do you get started? It begins with keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry. If you haven’t already, set up a listening board for your target audience. Subscribe to blogs that they are likely to read and create a “swipe file” of great resources that you can rely on. I use a combination of Feedly (to prep for Google Reader’s exit), email newsletters sent directly to Evernote, and Google Alerts.

Then I look for something eye-catching, news-worthy and super timely. For example, the recent LinkedIn algorithm change would make a great news-based article for a marketing company. If you’re working on this strategy for a client, you’ll need to spend some time determining what would be considered news worthy and interesting for their target market. I have a short swipe file of what makes great news for my clients (also in Evernote).

Once you spot a worthy news article, put your spin on it – but make sure you keep it news focused and not like a standard blog post. For example, if I were writing a standard blog post for a client on the LinkedIn algorithm change, I’d come up with some tips or ways to apply the new tool for the best results. The algorithm would be an aside to the article.

But with a news article, your approach is a little different. It’s “just the facts” – you need to cover the who, what, where, when and why of the story. Read a few separate articles on the news piece and then create an original piece based on your research (always making sure to cite your sources).

Work in your important keywords naturally, just like you’d do with a web copy page, then publish your content on your site and on social media. That’s it! Listening, summarizing, optimizing and publishing are all you need to do to make use of news content marketing for SEO.

In addition to the SEO benefits, you’ll also be able to keep your regular blog post idea file growing strong. Since you’re keeping a closer eye on industry news, you’ll run across ideas and angles that others might not be considering.  In the case of that LinkedIn example, I’d probably create both for the client – the news piece and then the longer, in-depth “how to” article to maximize the topic completely.

Are you going to make news a part of your SEO content strategy? Or have you already?

About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez

Courtney Ramirez is the Director of Content for Endurance Marketing and owner of Six Degrees Content. She’s an SEO Copywriter and content marketing specialist who creates clickable content for clients in both B2B and B2C markets. As a proud graduate of SuccessWork’s SEO Copywriting Certification training program, she geeks out on algorithm updates and content marketing metrics. She’s always in the mood for a good cat-based meme. You can connect with Courtney on Google Plus, LinkedIn or Twitter.