999,999 Tips for Creating On-Brand SEO Content
This article’s title is obviously ridiculous.
The purpose of this title is to intentionally trigger all digital marketers who lie in fear of SEO-focused content degrading their brand voice. I hate to say it, but your fear is well-founded. SEO agencies’ reputations for spitting out copy-cat content with clickbait titles are well earned.
It doesn’t have to be this way though! With the right strategy, search-focused content and brand-focused content can live in harmony within your content strategy, each driving their respective part of the funnel without stepping on each other’s toes.
This guide is a compilation of all the current best practices we follow when working with our clients to integrate search-focused and brand-focused content production into their content marketing strategy.
The Difference Between Brand-Focused and Search-Focused Content
If you’re unfamiliar with the differences between brand-focused and search-focused content, brand-focused content is content that exists solely to help build your brand. Whereas, search-focused content is content that has a significant SEO focus, and helps your site rank higher on Google (or Bing if that’s your thing).
If you were to try and isolate both content types, you’d see that most good content exists somewhere between search-focused and brand-focused (in the middle of the funnel). To put this into perspective, let’s take a peek at Konstruct’s marketing funnel based on these content types.
Looking at the funnel allows you to understand your goals. Obviously, conversion is your end goal, but it’s not likely that someone will come across your search-focused content and convert immediately. That’s like if you want to buy a house. You don’t usually just wake up and say, “I’m buying a house today”. You spend time researching neighbourhoods, learning about mortgages, and finding tips for how to KonMari all your junk that doesn’t bring you joy.
I’m not saying your dreams of conversion aren’t possible with search-focused content; they are! It’s just not the primary goal of the content.
Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between brand-focused and search-focused content, it’s time to dive deeper into how they exist on their own.
If you think about your content hub on your homepage, you probably have blog content, a learning centre, and maybe a resources centre (if you don’t, I guess you found the right company to help you with that!). For someone to land on one of your index pages, they have to hit it by coming in from another page, unless your index page gets searched–which is pretty rare. This is the journey of brand-focused content.
Brand-focused content lives at the bottom of our funnel, so its primary goal is to convert readers. Since the reader is on your website and already gets the gist of who you are and what you do, you’re just trying to tell them “pick me, choose me, love me”, like you’re Meredith Grey and your readers are Derek Shepherd.
The Benefits of Brand-Focused Content
Well, the main benefit of brand-focused content is conversions. I know you’re probably thinking, “you just said that in the section above”. But truly, that’s your goal, and that’s your benefit. When you write brand-focused content, you aren’t only writing it to inject brand voice on your site. Sure that’s a huge part of it, but also you’re writing it to push your readers to convert.
When to Write Brand-Focused Content
Let’s say you discover that you’re attracting a ton of traffic. Right on! Except, cue the suspense; you’re not converting…Your mind is racing, thinking, “how can I get people to actually buy what I’m selling so I can get more money in the bank”? The answer: try brand-focused content.
Deciding what content type to write is an empirical process of identifying your weakest area and focusing on it. In this case, you have the traffic, but you lack conversions, so you need to prioritize brand-focused content.
Tips for Writing Brand-Focused Content
When you write brand-focused content, make sure that no matter who’s writing it, it all has the same brand voice.
Picture this, you’re planning to go for dinner to your favourite restaurant: Boston Pizza (gotta support one of the biggest Canadian franchises, right?). You’re so excited to dive into the Spicy Perogy Pizza, yum. You order it, you’re so excited, and then it comes. You’re salivating at the look of it, you take your first bite and then…it’s not spicy! What the heck! You waited all day to eat this delicious pizza, but the pizza just isn’t the same as what you’re used to. After this experience, you might just skip Boston Pizza and visit another restaurant next time.
This is what can happen when you disregard your brand voice in your content. Losing your brand voice can make users step back, and maybe even choose another brand over yours.
So, when you’re writing brand-focused content, think about how you can create content that shows off your strong brand voice, and makes readers choose you over your competitors.
When someone decides whether or not to choose your company, it’s important that your branded content answers their questions. These questions may include:
- How do you stack up to the competition?
- What makes you unique?
- What can you bring to the table? If you’re Boston Pizza, probably a SPICY perogy pizza. If you’re Konstruct, probably amazing results.
Highlighting these key elements will build your brand awareness, make readers trust your brand, and hopefully, pick, choose, and love you.
From a process standpoint, it’s important that you identify an internal marketing resource who is your “brand guardian”. This person should know the brand through and through and can own the brand voice. At Konstruct, we write internal and external content on a wide range of topics. Whenever we write blog content, we always ensure that we have an SME who is highly advanced on the topic and ensures that the content is accurate and speaks to the brand voice. With every content piece we write, we aim to avoid copy-cat content or content that is ingenuine to our brand or our client’s brand.
Typically, for smaller businesses, the owner will be the brand guardian, whereas for larger businesses, you’ll need to assign SMEs with particular brand expertise. At Konstruct, our SMEs are whoever specializes in that topic of our blog. For example:
- 8 Blog Promotion Techniques to Increase Website Traffic. SME: Hannah, our content lead.
- How to do Keyword Research: A Step By Step Guide With Tools & Tips. SME: Brady, our SEO Specialist.
- How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on Facebook in 2022? SME: Alicia, our PPC lead.
At the end of the day, the biggest tip in writing brand-focused content is to make sure that no matter who’s in the kitchen, the pizza tastes the same.
On the other end of things, we have search-focused content. Write search-focused content when you’re looking to gain more traffic to your site.
- Looking for traffic: search-focused content
- Looking for conversions: brand-focused content
Think of search-focused content as an introduction to your brand. If someone searches “Best digital marketing agency to ever exist” and finds Konstruct, they’ve just been introduced to our brand.
Benefits of Search-Focused Content
The number one benefit to writing search-focused content is extending your reach beyond sales. Simple as that.
When to Write Search-Focused Content
When you want to drive your car, you need gas. When you want to connect to the internet, you need a router. When you want more traffic to your site, you need search-focused content.
If you’re unsure of what your business needs, reflect back on your marketing funnel and see which area you need to focus on. If it’s gaining additional traffic or awareness, write search-focused content.
Tips for Writing Search-Focused Content
One of the most important things to remember when writing search-focused content is to optimize as you write. You don’t want to write content and optimize it later. That’s like if you washed your hands before you went to the bathroom. You still did it, yay, but did it help? Nay…
When you optimize your content after the fact it can easily lead you to degrade your brand voice. So, don’t optimize your content after you write it!
Degrading a Brand Voice With Search-Focused Content
Are you worried about degrading your brand voice? You’re not alone! Let’s dive into 3 ways you can degrade your brand voice with search-focused content.
How Keyword Stuffing Can Degrade Your Brand Voice
First off, when you’re optimizing your content, it’s not Thanksgiving. Just like you wouldn’t stuff a turkey to the point of having unevenly cooked stuffing, you shouldn’t keyword stuff your content to the point where it no longer makes sense.
Not only is keyword stuffing VERY obvious, it’s also really bad for your SEO and your overall brand voice.
How Content Writers Can Degrade Your Brand Voice
You can also degrade your search-focused content by having a content writer who doesn’t understand your brand voice. Or, even worse, not having an SME double-check the content.
It’s like a comedian trying to tell jokes in a horror movie. Having a comedian in a horror movie that’s not intentionally humorous pulls you out of the thriller and makes the “horror” pointless. Imagine if the Silence of the Lambs added Chris Rock to their script. He randomly appears, and says some joke about Will Smith’s family…(too soon?). That would completely throw off the movie, just like how a writer who’s unaware of your brand voice can throw off your search-focused content.
If you think about a law firm, no content writer without a law degree can write content with the same institutional knowledge as a real lawyer. Content writers are constantly up against this knowledge barrier that surpasses their level of expertise.
At Konstruct, we write search-focused content that answers a broader question but doesn’t require that super deep level of institutional knowledge. This allows us to craft beneficial search-focused content without harming the brand voice.
How AI Can Degrade Your Brand Voice
Have you started seeing content that is obviously written by AI? Nowadays, copy-cat content is so easy to do. It’s at the point where AI can almost analyze the SERP space and pump out copy-cat content on its own. Unfortunately, this is getting increasingly popular and also growingly obvious.
I know using AI to write content is an interesting concept, but as of now, it’s still not mature enough. Trust us; we were also eager to see how AI could write content for us. So, we tested AI to write a social post for us and let’s just say it didn’t go so well… Take a look at our post, This Post Was Written by AI, and see for yourself.
Degrading your brand voice starts with letting AI write your content. I mean, would you let HAL, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, write your content? AI is logical, but that human connection that is needed for brand voice just isn’t there.
How to Maintain Your Brand Voice in Search-Focused Content
Honestly, the best way to maintain your brand voice is to write like you own the brand. If you do own it, cool, you now have the upper-hand in successfully conveying the right message to your readers.
At Konstruct, when our content specialists write search-focused content, they adopt a specific personality, character and writing style based on our clients’ brand voice. We sometimes refer to them as Kevin Wendall from Split. Just kidding. (If you haven’t seen Split, it’s about a man who has a multiple personality disorder–highly recommend!). Still, when the content is written, it goes through 2-3 more “brand guardians” to ensure the content is speaking with the most accurate brand voice.
With one of our clients, Souper Cubes, so much of their traffic is branded because they’ve done such an amazing job at creating their brand voice. If you’re unfamiliar with Souper Cubes, they make durable freezer-safe containers that are perfect for freezer meal prep. Their product came from an idea of “I wish this product existed for me; therefore, I’m going to make this product”. Souper Cubes made those initial connections from other people who realized they too were missing this product, which helped them develop such a strong community and brand voice.
So, when we write search-focused content for Souper Cubes, maintaining their strong brand voice is our #1 priority. Need an example? Check out their blog, The Absolute Best Containers for Freezing Food: Souper Cubes® vs. the Rest, written by our Content Lead, Hannah. This is a prime example of how a search-focused blog does not have to diminish your brand voice.
Achieve Results With the Middle of Your Marketing Funnel
If someone searches for Konstruct (yay for us), hits our homepage and decides to look at our blog page (maybe that’s the story of your last 5 minutes), we ensure that our content highlights our brand voice. Regardless of whether it’s search-focused or brand-focused, we don’t neglect our brand voice for any content type.
Take a look at our other clients’ content like Bio Flame, Shane Homes, Accomsure, Jonas Construction, …you get this gist. We know that the best way to achieve results with search and brand-focused content is by ensuring that the brand voice is there and by writing content that fits in the middle of the funnel (incorporating brand content in search content). In case you’ve forgotten what the middle of our funnel is, here’s another image:
How to Use Both Brand-Focused and Search-Focused Content to Your Advantage
Personally, my philosophy (I’m obviously a very famous philosopher), is to create a content mix. Luckily, in marketing your endeavours never end so you’re just constantly picking from your next lowest hanging fruit. Take a look at your sales funnel, discover which areas are the weakest, and try to write your content accordingly.
The ultimate goal with creating content is for each content piece to work on different ends of the spectrum but end up meeting in the middle. Like Andy and Woody in Toy Story, they started off on separate life journeys, didn’t get along for a while, but ultimately came together to find Andy.
I know you’re thinking, “why do you keep referencing movies?”, the answer is BECAUSE I LOVE MOVIES!
Don’t Struggle Writing Content Alone, Let Konstruct Do it With You
I know, I know, 999,999 tips turned into just one tip: use brand-focused and SEO-focused content in harmony. If you’re looking for more tips on creating content or really anything digital marketing related, be sure to check out our other blogs. We guarantee these ones will provide you with your other 999,998 tips (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating again, but you get the point)!
At Konstruct, we know the importance of content marketing first-hand. Balancing between search-focused content and brand-focused content is like standing in the middle of a teeter-totter; it’s hard to do, and if done incorrectly, you literally fall face-first on the ground. So, don’t hit the ground with only search-focused or only brand-focused content. Find a way to position yourself so your content always meets in the middle.
We hope this guide of our current best practices for integrating search-focused content into our client’s marketing strategies gives you some insight into how you can gain more traffic to your site without losing your brand voice.
If you’re looking for more expert advice, let’s talk! Every member of our team at Konstruct lives for the thrill of achieving your goals. Contact us today, or be sad tomorrow!
Updated: April 6, 2022