How good does your content REALLY need to be? If you've been interested in affiliate marketing for more than a week, you've probably read before that content is king. People state that this is for all sorts of reasons; conversions, seo, link building, authority, even the difference between success and failure.
I'm not for any second contesting that content is important, or indeed King of everything the light touches (Lion King anyone?), but I also think that a lot of people recite mantras online without fully understanding what they mean. In other words, it's easy to tell people to focus on quality content, and it's what Google wants you to say. However, it can also lead to many people misunderstanding what it means when content is ruler of the lands. WHY is content so important, and as I asked at the start of this article, how good does it really need to be?
In a recent email I had from a follower, I tackled this question head on. Said follower was worried that she'd never be able to provide value to an audience, that she would be going up against bigger sites, with more knowledge, and a bigger budget.
Aside from the competition, she was also worried that she wouldn't exactly be able to “help” anyone in whatever niche she ended up choosing.
Sound familiar? These fears are nothing new, and are perfectly logical as well.
How Do You Define Quality?
But here's the thing…quality content can simply be writing a summary of the pros and cons of a particular product. Adding value to your niche can simply be helping people identify the best product for their needs.
If you send Facebook traffic to a landing page that summarises the benefits of a product, then links to the best selling models of that product, are you providing value? Hell yeah you are. Is this quality content? As long as the sentences are coherent, and help the reader, then damn right it is.
Different Situations Call For Different Content
Of course there are situations where you really do want to make sure your article is the best on the internet. This is when you're doing pillar articles, epic posts for outreach purposes, or guest posts. Equally, if you're trying to become a huge authority in a niche, you'll need excellent content.
I'll admit, HumanProofDesigns wouldn't work if I put out crap content, but HPD was a very long-term project with a huge payoff. I'm also not “worried” about whether or not I'm the best, because I have other things to do, like serve my niche.
I don't expect you to try and do this kind of “Super duper authority” thing with your first ever website, even your fifth.
For the rank & bank affiliate websites most people are building, you can still be delivering value, earning your place on Google's first page, and running a respectable website without spending hours pouring over (and getting frustrated about) your content.
Think About The ROI
Additionally, if you're relying on organic traffic, you need to understand that not all of your content is going to rank. That's not to say you should just half-ass all of your articles, but is it worth spending hours on each one if it's not going to rank?
Why not put out some “just ok” content instead, and when it starts to gain traction, come back to it and see how it might be improved? This way, you're not wasting time or money on something that isn't necessarily going to rank.
Speaking of returning to new content once it has started to gain page 2 or 3 rankings, check out this post Josh Shogren did about tweaking your content to bump it up to page one.
But Quality Content Is How You Rank In The First Place
Is it? Not really. This depends heavily upon your ranking method. Sure, super duper quality content allows you to reach out to other webmasters for guest posts, features, or white-hat links, but are you going to do this with every page you write? I doubt it.
Certainly there's no evidence (or possible way) that Google analyses your content and decides whether it's OMG Amazing or just quite good, and adjusts the ranking accordingly.
If you're writing content for a niche site, such as an Amazon affiliate site or other, and you're assuming that just by putting out the best content on the planet, you'll be guaranteed success, then you're in for a surprise.
Again, I'm not trying to hate on good content or dismiss it. If you can write the best content on the planet, then go for it. What I'm trying to do is alleviate your fear that you'll not be able to succeed without it.
On Being The Best
It's important to consider this fact. You're probably not going to be the best. Even if you were, how would you ever know for sure? Some people will argue that iPhones, Samsungs, or HTC phones are the best. Who really cares? They all provide value, and they all make bank.
Even a Nokia 3210 would probably still do ok.
I don't want to head off tangent too much here, so I'll leave it as this. Your content needs to be good enough, that's all.
How To Approach Content Creation
Here are a couple of examples of ways I've succeeded in niches that I knew nothing about, and how I recommend you do the same.
One of the very first sites that made me money, was a site about Kettlebell exercises for women. At the time, I didn't use kettlebells, and I definitely wasn't a woman. However, I knew how to use Google to research the topics I wanted to rank for, I knew how to find Youtube videos showcasing different exercises, and I knew how to find products to promote, so off I went and did it. I was upfront about the fact I was a man by the way, so don't think I'm advocating you to be deceptive.
I spent at least an hour a week researching my subject, but when it came to writing articles, I just answered the question. Did I care if somebody else had already answered it before or had done it in more depth? Actually I didn't.
I wasn't trying to be the ONLY source on the planet, and I wasn't trying to be the best. As long as what I was writing was true, and would help someone out who read it, that's all that mattered. This site went on to earn me $500 per month for quite some time, until I slowly let it die because I moved on to other projects.
I did the same thing with my next site, one about shaving, and that site went on to rank for dozens of keywords, earn me a lot of money, and eventually sell for over $25,000. Was it the best shaving site out there? Probably not. Did I get some of my facts wrong? Probably did.
However, a lot of people just wanted me to tell them what the best straight razor was, so I wrote an article talking about some of the best ones, and let them decide. That article ranked (and still does) in the top 3 of Google. Nobody complained that it wasn't the best article in the world.
Got The Point?
I could keep going on with more examples, but hopefully you get my point.
Make sure what you write is accurate, clear, coherent, and even concise (so don't take this 1200 word article as an example). After that, worry about how you're going to promote it and what your next article is going to be about, and move on.