It’s hard to sift through the sheer volume of content that you and I are exposed to every day.
I have more feeds filling up my Google Reader than I have time to read, I have more email newsletters filling up my inbox than I have time to read. And let’s not forget about tweets (and other social media streams), ebooks, magazines, books, and client-recommended research.
So. Much. Stuff.
And every day, there’s more and more of it flowing in.
Since I can’t possibly read it all, I scan the headlines and I bookmark stuff that seems like it’s worth coming back to later.
I’m pretty selective when I bookmark, with one key exception: I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS bookmark SEOmoz’s email newsletter (of their blog content) without first reading it… because I know it will be good.
It’s weird because in the scope of my business, search engine optimization (which is SEOmoz’s focus) is only a tiny fraction of my work. I don’t call myself an search engine optimizer or an internet marketer, and when I promote my services, SEO and internet marketing are secondary benefits that comes after prospect/client engagement. And SEO does play a part in helping me promote my businesses, but it’s still only a part of the much bigger picture.
So even though I don’t have time to read all of the content flowing to me, I bookmark the stuff that looks like it will be helpful but I also always bookmark stuff from SEOmoz.
So I’ve been trying to figure out why their content is SO bookmarkable… even to someone like myself who might only get some relevance from their content.
I try to provide good content on my blog but I wouldn’t define my work as “bookmarkable” so I’m hoping to reverse-engineer what they have achieved. Here are the qualities that describe SEOmoz’s content, which makes them so darn bookmarkable:
Their content is always engaging. They have truly mastered the art of copywriting for an email audience (great headlines that get opened, great links to other content that beg to be clicked-through). Their content is highly readable and even when I’m scanning, I can’t help but read all the way through. There’s a good mix of text and graphics, stories and instruction, step-by-step and bullets. Their copy is riveting.
Their content is practical: It’s useful, it’s easy to read and follow, the benefits are clear and obvious and I can draw a straight line from their content to the benefits my business and my clients’ businesses will receive.
I’ve never done a word count on SEOmoz’s content but it seems long. At least, longer than some of the other stuff in my inbox. And because of that, it’s more bookmarkable. I scan it and think “this looks helpful but I can’t possibly read it all right now.” So BAM I hit the little star in Firefox and come back to it later.
This is very powerful and it’s underappreciated. A lot of writers use terms like “you” and “I”… that’s okay but it has the tendency to sometimes feel instructional — like a teacher talking to a student. But SEOmoz writes as a peer to a group of peers. They use “SEOs” as a collective noun for search engine optimization practitioners (“SEOs do this” and “SEOs do that”, etc.) It has the feeling of a slightly-more-skilled-than-you peer who is sharing a valuable insight that you didn’t know. What a great way to get buy-in from readers!
5. TIMELY AND TIMELESS
This is another powerful quality that SEOmoz has mastered that I jealously aspire to. Their content is both relevant to right this moment but it also has good content that will be just as relevant next year. This makes readers WANT to read their content right now and later. Most blogs I read pale in comparison — their timely content doesn’t seem relevant next week, while their timeless content doesn’t seem important to read right now. Frankly, that’s a struggle I face in my writing — I’d love to write more about the movement of the stock market but no one wants to read that on the day AFTER!
6. PUSHES THE READER
Here’s what I mean by this: SEOmoz’s content can sometimes delve pretty deeply into statistical analysis and other types of numbers. They aren’t afraid to push their readers to know more. This is such a huge difference compared to other blogs that assume all readers are at a certain point and stay there.
SEOmoz’s content is always good. That’s why I always bookmark it. Other sites might produce good content one day and mediocre content another day (hey, I’m the kettle calling the pot black on this one!) but SEOmoz jams out good content always. That’s why I sometimes catch myself just bookmarking their content before I even finish reading the title.
And that’s the ultimate goal for any blogger: Are you writing content that is so good and so consistently bookmarkable that your readers will see your email, open it, and bookmark the the content before they bother to see what it’s about? I don’t but it’s such a great goal to work toward.
Do you have any blogs that you consistently bookmark to read later? What must-read recommendations (besides your own blog of course) do you have? Put it in the comments below…