Have you ever worked with someone who had thousands of shiny thing content ideas?
Sure, the company focus may be B2B SaaS solutions for enterprise systems. But the boss wants to see blog content on SEO, how to run virtual meetings, and online presentation skills.
Why? Because he thinks by scattering his content efforts and focusing on topics outside of their core competency, a whole bunch of backlinks and new traffic will flow his way.
In his head, readers will see the unrelated article and scream, “Sure, I wanted to learn more about group dynamics. But, this article is by a company specializing in B2B SaaS solutions. I need a B2B SaaS solution! I’m so glad I stumbled across this post!”
(Yeah, like that ever happens.)
I’ve even seen people say, “I just read this article in Forbes, I loved it, and I want our company to write something similar.”
(Even if the company sells industrial equipment and the Forbes article is about cryptocurrency.)
You may also encounter this shiny things syndrome if you’re working with a small business or consultancy. Often, the owner wants to blog about whatever she wants because “she knows her audience.”
These folks are usually under the misconception that anything they write will immediately build loads of links. Why? Because they’re THAT INFLUENTIAL (insert eye-roll here).
Yeah, so that’s not how this works. The reality is…
Off-topic posts won’t help your SEO.
Sometimes, it makes sense to write about something off-topic. Maybe you feel strongly about a cause, so you use your blog to amplify your message.
For instance, REI does this in the The Trees Remember series. The content relates to REI’s mission, but it’s not written with Google in mind.
This example of unrelated content is SEO-OK because REI has a tight-and-wired content strategy. Their posts are typically on-topic, written well, and masterfully address searcher intent.
Plus, many of REI’s blog posts position for hundreds of keyphrases.
REI is that good.
But would REI still get those tasty links if their content team focused on shiny things content and strayed too far away from their target audience?
In fact, Google’s John Mueller said that creating unrelated content is a “wasted opportunity.” After all, why would a site owner want to gain a reputation for topics that aren’t important to their business’s bottom line?
According to John:
“From a business POV: ranking, impressions, & clicks are nothing without conversion.”
I completely agree. For more than 20 years, I’ve been saying, “Getting a top ranking doesn’t matter if it doesn’t help conversions.”
So think twice before you allow your CEO’s ego to dictate your content strategy. And if someone suggests that writing unrelated content will help your site position and drive traffic — run. Run fast.
It’s not about attracting ALL the traffic. It’s about converting that small customer segment that needs what you have to offer.
There’s your content sweet spot.
What do you think?
Have you been asked to create weird, off-topic blog posts? Leave a comment and let me know!