13 Jun Interview With Leah Baade: Content Ninja

I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down with copywriter and content ninja Leah Baade here in Victoria BC. It was nice to finally meet more people face to face instead of just Twitter or some forum. Leah is someone who knows quality content, something a lot of people still struggle to do well in this day and age. While we have our own perspectives on how to produce link worthy content, it’s always good to hear from the industry pro’s who frankly just do it better than the rest. I’d like to thank Leah for taking the time to meet with a stranger, and thanks for introducing me to Habit coffee here in Victoria…they have excellent beanage!

Introduction

I’m a copywriter and I also offer content marketing and social media consulting and management. I
recently took a video sales letter course with Chris Haddad and Lou D’Alo. It’s the new school version
of the old school direct mail approach – people are so much more highly engaged with video. It’s a lot of
fun to tell the sales story via video.

Content strategies that actually benefit the user:

A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the amount of content that needs to be created for the various platforms that exist now. And once that content is there, how can it be crafted into useful information that engages and converts?

It’s really not that scary when you start with the knowledge base within your company. And all of that information can be gleaned from your employees and repurposed for the various mediums.

The blog is a great platform for demonstrating your expertise and knowledge in your market. Answer questions, comment on recent market trends, interview other experts, post how-to videos – you’re limited only by your imagination. Hosted on the company’s main website, the blog is a huge boon for SEO. Not only are you helping your customers and readers, you’re helping yourself!

Don’t overlook repurposing information. For example, take the information from news releases and
work them into blog posts, videos for your YouTube channel, photos for your flickr stream, and post
links to those places on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The same information can trickle down
into each place, all driving traffic back to your website in the process.

Of course, finding time within your organization to facilitate this process can be a challenge. It can also
be difficult to figure out how to use the content in your favour, not just to get hits on your site, but
to get repeat visitors and, in time, engage those visitors and convert them to customers. A consultant
will be able to put together a cohesive content marketing strategy and even help put the information
together.

Have any tips for creating content that attracts links?

It’s all about providing value that is interesting and accessible.

It starts with eye-catching headlines that coerce people to click through to read/view the content in the
first place. In her book, Web Copy that Sells, Maria Veloso talks about the Zeigarnik effect; it’s the idea that people are compelled by the mental tension that comes from uncompleted tasks – this is ultimately what drives people to click through and keep reading.

Next, the content needs to be clear and easy to scan with a secondary readership path. Very few people actually take the time to read right through webpages unless they’re absolutely sure that it’s valuable content. Include bullet points and numbered lists, and emphasize keywords and phrases by putting them in bold or italics.

Make your content relevant and unique, and answer questions and solve problems. Break solutions
down into step-by-step instructions, or offer checklists that people will find useful in your niche. Provide
content that makes you an invaluable resource for your visitors. Other content ideas include everything
from an app or widget to contests and free giveaways.

Finally, reciprocation works – particularly on social platforms. Build up your network of like-minded
individuals, have conversations, and share their links. You’ll see your network grown exponentially.

Any thoughts on how brands should direct their content focus post Google Panda?

The whole point of Panda was to give legitimate websites a leg-up over content farmers, and help their web content rank better in the SERPs. Unfortunately, a lot of good businesses have been penalized despite having great quality content, while others have jumped up to the top of the search results. While Google’s algorithms remain a mystery there are some things you can always do to avoid being penalized.

The same factors as ever apply here – and they’re pretty much common sense. Pages with original, quality content, lots of backlinks, and low bounce rates will rank higher. Focus on your keyword strategy and SEO your content. And authority is key. It’s not going to be enough to outsource your copy to just anyone any more. Your content needs to be really good, written by real experts in your niche, or at least someone who will spend the time to thoroughly research the topic. Posts need to be longer than before to have impact – think at least 1,000 words, or even upwards or 2,000 or 3,000 words in length. Guest posting also works in your favour – get your name out there and start writing or providing interviews for other sites.

It’s a good idea to develop an integrated social media strategy for your brand or business; that can
contribute backlinks and SEO benefits, a process that take a good deal of time. It will also be a great
traffic source if have been affected by the Panda update. Social media ads an element of social proof for
Google, and a trail of links to follow.

Would you recommend a different content strategy for social media vs your company website?

Your company’s website is where people go to find your address, services, quotes, etc. It’s formal and
probably doesn’t change very often.

Social media is great for showing the human element of your company. It’s on all the time, 24 hours
a day. This is where you can really respond to comments, join conversations, and get to know your
demographic by asking questions or listening to what they’re already saying. It’s also a place where you
can give your fans and customers a behind the scenes look at your business. You can post pictures of
your office golf tournaments, lunch parties, etc. so that they can get to know your staff.

When you’re starting, make sure that your company has clear social media guidelines laid out.
Depending on the type and size of your business consider encouraging all of your employees to
participate. Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra), coauthor of The Now Revolution recently said that social media is currently a position, but in the future it will become a skill; just like we used to hire typists, today we’re all expected to have typing as a skill.

How can people get in touch with you?

I’m pretty much always on Twitter @leahbade (http://twitter.com/leahbaade) – just send me an @mention. You can also send me an email [leahbaade@gmail.com] or visit my website: http://www.leahbaade.com.