With the coming Googlelopalypse, as chronicled by NineByBlue, content’s going to become even more important.
How many more times can we all say ‘content is important?’
I dunno. How many more times can you ignore us when we say ‘content is important?’ I can say it 1 more time than that.
Want great SEO? Tell a story.
One by one, Google’s taking away all our fun little tricks, from keyword optimization to link acquisition. Unless you’re a serious pro, you’re risking a major butt-kicking in the SERPs if you focus on class SEO tactics.
Instead, you need to attract attention the old-fashioned way. With great storytelling. Great stories get fans, and links. You can tell a fantastic story about anything. Anything.
And, storytelling is universal. It’s the ultimate content. We’re raised listening to stories, and our response to a good story is always positive.
An example: Life insurance
Say you’re trying to rank for ‘car insurance’. You’ve got a few options:
- You can purchase 10,000 links and pray.
- You can spin 500 versions of an article and pray some more.
- Or you can find a way to actually stand out from the crowd. With a great story.
- I need a character who my audience can either identify with or dislike. Or both.
- Who, because of a situation, needs/wants something.
- They go and get it. Or it gets them.
- And either suffer for it (because they didn’t do what they should have) or come out the better for it.
Car insurance? I’m going with someone my audience can identify with: Carl. Carl’s a good guy. But he’s kinda cheap. He doesn’t want to spend any $ on car insurance. So he’s going to take his chances.
10% of Americans admit they’ve driven without car insurance. So a lot more have actually done it. This is a good market that I haven’t tapped yet. Carl is my ticket in.
He wants to buy himself a new car. So he’s saving up his pennies. One way he’s doing that? By not buying car insurance. After 12 months of scrimping and saving, he’s got $1500 in the bank. Enough for a down payment on his next car. Sweet!
He jumps in his jalopy and heads to the local car dealership. He’s got his car all picked out: An Econobox Ultimate. Sure, it’s a plastic box. But it’s going to be HIS plastic box, and he’s dang excited. For the first time in his life, he’s going to get to breathe in that new car smell in his own car.
He gets got
Oh dear. What Carl forgot is that he has a busted taillight on his jalopy. Couldn’t afford to fix it, you see, since he was saving every penny, and because he was working 2 jobs to save up enough for the down payment on his Econobox Ultimate. Did I mention he wants a blue one? With power sunroof? And the 19″ rims?
He’s driving down Route 18 (if you’re from New Jersey you know whereof I speak), happy as a clam, when Jane, the policewoman, sees his busted taillight. She lights him up and pulls him over, figuring she’ll give him a fixit ticket and that’ll be the end of the story.
Alas. Carl has no car insurance. Instead of a ‘free’ fixit ticket, he gets socked with a $500 citation for driving uninsured.
Carl is sad. So sad. Now, he can’t afford his Econobox Ultimate. He can’t even afford the Econobox LE (Lame Edition).
Stories are easy(er) to sell
Why does all this work? How will telling the story of Carl’s pathetic-ness help you sell more car insurance? Here’s how:
- Stories are easier to promote, because they’re not usually a sack of over-promotional keyword-stuffed drivel.
- Every now and then, a story can go viral where said sack of drivel cannot.
- Stories can build on themselves: It’s pretty easy to come up with Carl: The Sequel. However, coming up with yet another ’50 reasons you need car insurance’ post is pretty much impossible.
Researching a great story
You don’t have to guess at story ideas.
Stories drive community. Community drives SEO.
Ian, I cannot believe there’s no kudos in the comments for this article. It’s fantastic advice (and not too bad a story, either!).
Thanks for writing! Now to go spread it around a bit more.
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