Many link building techniques rely on you creating truly unique and high quality content. But if you’re new to search engine optimisation or have little experience in content marketing, knowing how to create link-worthy content can be a minefield.
Much like link building, there is no silver bullet when it comes to content creation. You could also argue that there is no such thing as the perfect formula. After all, the tone of voice and target reader can vary from brand to brand.
Through creating thousands of pieces of content, however, I’ve gained an understanding of which factors influence the number of backlinks a piece of content gains. From the holistic elements to rudimentary structure, link-worthy content typically shares a number of traits.
Throughout this article, I’ll be revealing these characteristics for you to consider. I’ll also be sharing a simple yet proven process I follow when creating linkable content on behalf of my clients.
Before you continue reading, however, it’s important to remember that creating content alone isn’t enough. It is vital that you also have an outreach campaign underway that promotes your newly created content.
What is Linkable Content?
It’s easy to confuse ‘shareable’ and ‘linkable’ content. However, content that is shared a lot on social media platforms isn’t necessarily going to receive the most backlinks.
It is, therefore, important to grasp the difference between the two styles of content. Ensuring you are producing content that large publications and independent bloggers want to link too.
Shareable content is purposely designed to receive a lot of engagement on social media platforms. This engagement could include reactions, comments and shares.
For this content to be successful, readers must be able to quickly consume it with minimal effort required. Hence snappy videos, short listacles, and catchy graphics being ideal.
Whilst shareable content may prove popular on Facebook, it isn’t typically linked to as a source of reliable and insightful information.
Linkable content can be seen as the older, more responsible brother of shareable content. Whist it may not garner as much engagement on social media, it provides more value.
For this content to be successful, it must be a reliable and insightful source of information. Meaning readers expect a lengthy, thorough piece of content to consume.
Heavily researched articles, informational infographics, and unique studies are all great types of linkable content.
What Makes Content Link-Worthy?
Now that you grasp the difference between shareable and linkable content, let’s focus on exactly what makes content link-worthy.
In my experience, linkable content has five common traits. The combination of which produces an insightful yet engaging piece of content.
Any content you create should be sought-after by publications and their readers. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to scale your link building efforts.
Before creating any content, use a tool such as Keyword Planner to gage the popularity of a topic by using both broad terms and specific phrases.
For example, if you’re an accountant you may enter a term such as ‘tax return’. This will reveal the overall popularity of that subject.
You may then enter a more specific phrase such as ‘how to file a tax return’. This will help shape the specific topic of your content.
If you don’t know where to begin, Answer The Public is a great tool for discovering sought-after topics and is certain to give you dozens of new ideas.
It’s vital for any content you create to be original. If not, there is little reason for publications to link to your website.
Creating original content isn’t as difficult as many would have you believe. You just need to be able to spot and seize opportunities.
For example, you could carry out a survey with existing customers revealing future trends or give an opinion on an event impacting your sector.
Whatever approach or subject you choose, ensure that your content provides a unique viewpoint on the topic at hand.
To scale your content creation, use Feedly to track the latest posts from industry publications. You may then spot a trending subject to create content around.
Journalists and bloggers love timely content. Afterall, it typically receives far more engagement on social media sites such as Facebook.
Ensuring your content is timely will, therefore, make gaining links far easier. Although, it must be balanced with evergreen content too.
To keep your finger on the pulse of relevant topics, use Google Alerts. It will notify you of the latest news articles, blog posts and more on a given subject.
You’re then able to create a piece of incredibly timely content, which is likely to be sought-after and should be original.
If you’ve got the budget for a more rounded content marketing tool, consider using BuzzSumo. It helps with content discovery as well as research.
As the devices we consume content on change, so too does the type of content we choose to consume. Requiring content creators to adapt if they are to maximise performance.
The type of content you produce is largely determined by your audience. This includes both the target publication and their readers.
This is as different audiences prefer to consume content in different ways. This could be influenced by many factors, such as how confident they are with certain tech.
Visually rich content such as video is universally popular, as shown in Statista’s recent study. Although, there are dozens of other styles of content to consider.
From creative infographics to downloadable whitepapers, you’ll find a type of content to suit your audience and budget in OptinMonster’s article.
At the heart of Google’s E.A.T algorithm update is trustworthiness. But the importance of trust is far fetching and vital when creating linkable content too.
Whenever a major publication or independent blogger links to your content, their readers are expecting to discover accurate and insightful information.
In order to create such content, you must be willing to invest time and other resources. It is also essential that you’re consistent in the frequency and quality of your content.
In time this flow of content will strengthen the trust others have in your brand, whether that be influencers in your sector or prospective customers themselves.
This increased trust will make it far easier to obtain backlinks. Particularly from larger publications, whose links typically have the greatest impact.
How to Create Linkable Content?
With the common traits of link-worthy content explained, the challenging task of creating it begins.
Whilst this can prove laboursome, you’ll refine the process to maximise efficiency whilst maintaining quality.
From researching your topic to creating complementary assets, there are seven steps I follow when creating linkable content.
Each is designed to simplify the process whilst maximising the visitors and backlinks obtained for years to come.
Determine Your Topic
Before you can begin performing research, you must select a topic to focus on. This requires you to understand what questions or quandaries people may have.
There are several tools that can help at this stage. One of my favourites is Moz – a premium tool for content creation, link building and keyword tracking.
Moz’s keyword research tool allows you to enter a broad term to understand its overall popularity. You can then filter the results to discover common questions asked about it.
For example, before writing a recent post on building backlinks I wanted to gage the popularity of broad terms such as ‘backlinks’ and ‘link building’.
Once I knew that these were popular subjects, I began to explore particular topics surrounding them by researching long-tail phrases.
If you’re using Moz, this can be done by filtering the results to those that ‘are questions’. I will often cross check these with Google’s ‘People Also Asked’ snippet.
You may find that the individual questions get few searches. However, they are often asking the same question but with different expressions.
For example, I discovered phrases such as ‘what is link building’ and ‘what are backlinks’. Both of which can be answered in the same article, infographic or video.
Collating a list of these common questions can also help you structure your content and perform optimisation at a later stage.
Research Your Topic
Once you’ve determined your topic, you can begin with the research stage. This ensures that your content is insightful and reliable.
The amount of research needed is entirely dependent upon your experience on a particular topic. Although, even the smallest amount will reveal new insights and viewpoints.
If you read a lot, you’ll probably have a catalog of studies and articles to reference. But Feedly is a great way to discover new content.
You’ll also benefit from saving and cataloging what you’ve read. I love using Pocket – a freemium app for saving and rediscovering your favourite content.
If you’ve not got research and articles on a particular subject to hand, Google’s search operators make it easy to discover relevant articles, videos and more.
Google Scholar is also great for unearthing studies, theses, and books from academics. It’s particularly good for subjects such as law, medicine and finance.
Outline Your Structure
Now that you’ve determined and researched your topic, you can begin structuring your content with sections and subheadings.
This does not only impact whether you will rank in Google for particular phrases, but also affects the overall readability of your content.
Traditionally readers expect your content to comprise of three sections. These are an introduction, main body and conclusion.
However, each of these sections can contain multiple subheadings. It is these that readers are most conscious of and, therefore, impact the flow of your content.
Defining your subheadings can be difficult. However, tools such as Moz make it surprisingly pain free.
For example, before writing my recent explanation of SEO I wanted to understand which questions people were asking about the topic.
By entering a broad term such as ‘SEO’ I was able to discover plenty of questions. These included queries relating to on page SEO as well as off page SEO.
In this particular example, these questions would decide the structure of my content. And this approach works in the majority of circumstances.
Besides being easy to follow and read, you’re expanding the reach of your content. This is as you may begin to rank for these individual queries too.
Create an Initial Draft
With a clear structure outlined, you can begin writing the initial draft by pulling on the information gathered during the research stage.
First it’s important to find a writing tool that works for you. Not only must it have the desired features (i.e. comments) but also remove any friction (i.e. markup).
There are lots of great tools for writing content. But one of my favourites is Google Docs – a free word processor that packs in both basic and advanced features.
When writing a first draft, try not to focus on the fine details. This is as any rough edges can be polished out during the second or third edit.
It’s great to add comments throughout that remind you of missing information, absent images, or any other stray thoughts.
Certain topics will also rely on expert sources, such as law or finance. You should reference these sources in the footnotes of your content.
These comments and footnotes will make the editing stage far easier and are incredibly helpful to those providing feedback on your draft.
Make the Required Tweaks
Once you’ve finished your initial draft, you can begin reviewing it and making the required tweaks.
However, you’ll likely benefit from leaving a few days between finishing and reviewing your draft. You’ll be amazed by the mistakes you overlook otherwise.
Before I begin making tweaks, I ask myself the three questions below. These could transform your draft into a great piece of content.
Is the content succinct?
If the content doesn’t serve its original purpose, the likelihood is that you’ve gone off track a little. Whilst this doesn’t mean the content is bad, you may need to rethink its focus.
What is the tone of voice?
Every person or brand should have a recognisable tone of voice. This must be consistent throughout each piece of content as well as your entire portfolio of content.
Can you cut out drivel?
It’s easy to delve into examples and opinions. But these can add unnecessary length to your content and waste your reader’s time. Try to cut out any drivel and focus on the topic at hand.
You should then check other aspects of your content. These include the overall structure, supporting material, plus spelling and grammar.
If, like me, you often find yourself overlooking poor grammar or missing punctuation in your content, you may benefit from the free tool Grammarly.
Create Complementary Assets
Now that you’ve made the required tweaks, you can begin creating graphics and other assets to accompany your content.
With the brain processing images far quicker than text, these make your content far more consumable.
Publications and bloggers can also use these assets alone, with them linking back to you as the source in most circumstances.
Content will also be shared more throughout social media if accompanying assets are suited for platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit.
You don’t need to be experienced in Photoshop either. Tools such as Canva are fantastic for illustrating data or highlighting quotes.
If you lack a stock image subscription, there are plenty of free alternatives. My favourite is Unsplash, whose stunning images can be freely used.
Review Your Final Version
With the final tweaks to your content made and complementary assets created, you can begin to review your final version.
You’ll benefit from asking the same questions you did earlier in the process. Ensuring your content is succinct, has a consistent tone of voice, and is free of any drivel.
Asking others to review your content and provide feedback is also valuable, especially if they match the persona of your target reader.
When I’m writing about digital marketing, I’ll ask for feedback from a business owner in my network. Whilst they understand the principles of marketing, they are not an expert.
There it is – everything I know about creating linkable content! From its common characteristics to the process I follow, I hope that this article proved enlightening.
As you begin to create content yourself, your content will develop its own traits and you’ll tweak the process to work for your.
When paired with a strategic outreach campaign, you’ll soon begin to gain backlinks from reputable websites.
But remember that there are no shortcuts. You must consistently create sought-after, original, timely, consumable, and trustworthy content.
Thank you for reading and, if you enjoyed this article, please share it.