Make your content more helpful to win business

To improve your organic SEO performance, you should publish helpful content. Google’s helpful content algorithm ranks this kind of content more highly.

But SEO shouldn’t be the main reason for creating helpful content. Put your audience’s needs first. What are they searching for? How can you give them the answers they need?

Of course, SEO remains critical for improving your visibility and attracting prospects. But don’t let the tail wag the dog. The intrinsic value of your content should drive your SEO, not the other way around.

This requires well-written copy that resonates with your target audience and helps to establish your position in the market.

Successful content is searchable

What makes your content helpful?

You can’t simply rely on keywords to do the heavy lifting for you. Google Search’s helpful content update aims to reflect people’s real needs in its content rankings.

This sounds straightforward – create and publish helpful content to boost your rankings and grow your audience.

 But it’s not as easy as it might first appear.

You’re competing all the time for attention in a pressurised environment. Everyone wants a bigger slice of the pie. Where do you begin?

Start with the information hierarchy. This breaks down information into broad categories of ascending value.

The information hierarchy explained

Not all information is equal. Some offers more value to users.

To ensure your content is helpful, it must sit higher rather than lower in the information hierarchy.

A handy way of picturing this hierarchy is a structure known as the DIKW pyramid.

DIKW stands for:

  • Data
  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom.

The DIKW pyramid has its origins in knowledge management, which the dictionary describes as:

Efficient handling of information and resources within a commercial organisation.

Here, data is at the pyramid’s base. At the opposite end, wisdom sits at the summit.

The hierarchy that the pyramid illustrates can also help you define the value of your content.

Understanding what gives your content value is vital for producing the helpful content that will grow your audience and help your organic SEO rankings.

DIKW pyramid

What gives helpful content its value?

The answer is your audience. Your content is only as valuable as your audience perceives it to be.

However, before your content reaches its audience, you can gauge its value by how it correlates to the different levels of the DIKW pyramid.

  • At the base of the pyramid, data has value as a source for analysis. But this value is limited if there is no further information explaining its context and meaning. Data alone lacks sufficient detail for the non-specialist.
  • Once you add information to data, you add value. Information provides crucial context – who, what, when and where.
  • But what does this information mean? You could leave it for the audience to figure out for themselves, but that’s not very helpful. Boost the value of your information by analysing it and explaining its meaning to your audience.
  • Wisdom sits at the apex of the DIKW pyramid. Wisdom is knowledge plus experience. It’s that extra dimension in your content that builds trust in your audience. You add value through wisdom by showing your depth of knowledge and specialist insight.

Information for decision-making

People like to make informed decisions. Information is more accessible than ever before.

If you want to buy a product, you check the online reviews first. If you’re planning to have a meal out, you do your research on TripAdvisor. If you’re going on a business trip, you check the most up-to-date travel information you can find.

The most successful content is searchable. People want answers. This drives the digital economy. It forms a basic building block of online content:

  • 93% of consumers think that online reviews help them make more accurate buying decisions

You can add another level to the top of the DIKW pyramid: decision-making.

The content that adds the most value is the content that helps or encourages people to make decisions.

This isn’t restricted to consumers. Carrying out due diligence and detailed research is essential across a range of transactions and business activities, including investment, recruitment, mergers and acquisitions.

How to make your content helpful

You can use the different levels of information to strengthen the credibility of your content. How you do this depends on what you’re trying to achieve and your relationship with your target audience.

  • Data can provide useful headlines. Quoting a percentage, especially if it appears surprising or unprecedented, offers a hook to attract the reader’s attention.
  • Following this up with additional information that explains the statistic adds background and establishes the credibility of the data.
  • If you then include analysis, you help the reader by doing the hard work for them, and you add to the sense of your subject matter’s importance.
  • Wisdom is the true differentiator. It adds value to your data, information and analysis, elevating your content. Applying wisdom isn’t easy. It requires a distillation of your accumulated knowledge and experience that makes it specific to your audience and user-friendly.

This isn’t a dry exercise in content creation. It’s fundamental to good storytelling.

A powerful narrative is more than a matter-of-fact description of what happened when and who this involved.

It explains the context for the action, analyses the motivations of the protagonists and establishes momentum through the style and tone of voice of the story’s narrator.

Helpful content isn’t just practical, it’s inspiring. It evokes possibilities in the mind of the reader. It gets them to buy into a concept and prepares them for a call to action.

When this call to action comes, your content should have made a strong enough case that taking that critical next step feels right for the reader.

Helpful content takeaways

  • Your content must compete to make itself noticeable and being seen as helpful will help it do this
  • Helpful content is the content Google ranks more highly, boosting your organic SEO
  • This content adds value to your target audience and helps them make decisions
  • The DIKW pyramid shows the hierarchy of information that you can apply to your content to ensure it is helpful
  • At the top of the pyramid, wisdom is the basis for high-value content that differentiates you and builds trust in your audience.

I can help you create helpful content that boosts your online visibility and attracts your target audience.

07896 711853
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