Table of Contents
Content marketing challenges
Creating content is easier than ever, thanks to AI tools such as ChatGPT.
But the real problem is more than just creating AI-generated copy. It is about creating content that sounds and looks similar to other articles – with no differentiation.
A typical process of how a content piece is written:
Step 1. Research the topic.
Step 2. Read and understand what top-ranking articles have covered (Or ask ChatGPT for brainstorming ideas).
Step 3. Write an article that just sounds and looks similar to the top-ranking pages.
Notice that there is no strategy behind content differentiation in most cases.
As a result?
- Lack of content differentiation.
- Difficult to create content that stands out.
- Struggle to rank in the SERP when competing with high-authority sites
This is what we call – Copycat content.
An example of copycat content:
Google ‘Productivity tips for work from home’ and notice that most of the top-ranking pages are talking about:
- Take breaks
- Set goals
- Designate a workspace
- Exercise regularly, and so on.
The problem here is not about the accuracy of the information.
We’re not against the factual accuracy of any of the articles. All these tips might work well for some.
But the real challenge is the lack of content differentiation.
- When everyone creates similar content- it becomes difficult for brands to stand out.
- Google rewards sites with information gain – meaning unique information that others haven’t covered well.
- Driving conversions and convincing readers become difficult when there is no content USP.
Here are some actionable strategies that help you create content that stand out from the top-ranking pages 👇
Content differentiation strategies
1. Replace ‘word count’ with ‘content depth.’
If you have been using ‘word count’ to justify how much information you’ve shared in the article, it’s time to replace it with ‘content depth.’
Use ‘content depth’ to measure the information gain from your article compared to top-ranking pages.
Here are ways to improve information gain/ content depth:
First, review the top pages and list all the questions and topics they have covered. This is common that other results are also talking similarly on their page.
To get one step ahead, think of what topics or questions are necessary to the topic yet not covered by the pages.
One way to increase content depth is by answering all related questions about your topic.
Problem driven approach is one of the easiest ways to increase the content depth meaningfully.
You must identify people’s real questions and challenges regarding your topic.
You can get real problems from:
- AlsoAsked (freemium)
- MarketMuse (freemium)
- Ahrefs/Semrush (paid)
- Sistrix keyword tool (free)
- Quora (search through real questions and answers)
- Reddit (search through real questions and answers)
An example from the Sistrix keyword tool:
Compare which questions are ignored by the top-ranking results but are important to the main topic. Then, turn questions into H2s in your content if it suits the page’s context.
2. Include insights from subject matter experts (internal or external)
Sometimes adding insights from experts and influencers can improve the content’s credibility significantly.
For example, if you’re writing an article on ‘productivity management tools for marketers,’ you may pitch marketing experts via LinkedIn, email, and Twitter to get their quotes on their favourite productivity management tools.
If you’re writing a guide on ‘product management,’ you can research through interviews and webinars by industry experts.
Here’s one on the product management topic: Product Management & Its Tools & Techniques | Priyank Ahuja, PM – Accenture, ex-Vodafone, ISB Alum
Here’s how to make this process effective:
- You don’t need to watch a video for 30 minutes straight to extract insights from an interview/webinar
- Instead, use tools to get a summary of YouTube video transcript – YouTube Summarizer Tool
- Or, Copy the video transcript text from Google and ask ChatGPT to summarize.
Here’s an example:
This will help you find key insights from an expert.
Note: Always look for videos, interviews, or webinars by experts, not random content creators. Otherwise, you’ll get similar ideas that everyone is talking about.
Likewise, if you have access to the technical team with subject matter expertise, interview them and get their opinion on the topic. Even a quote of a few sentences on a specific topic will add much value to your content.
How to apply:
- You may include a dedicated heading that says, ‘What experts are saying about topic X.’
- Or, you may integrate expert insights throughout the content.
- Ensure to give credit to the expert.
3. Share your personal experience
Have any experience with a product?
Or can you share your personal experience angle with the topic?
If so, turn it into a story to make the content useful and credible to the users.
How to apply:
- Create a subheading with my personal experience using this product (or similar)
- Share your raw experiences and include screenshots if available.
Here’s an example where the writer has tested the products (silicon rings in this case) and shared the raw experience:
Note: You don’t always have to test the product practically. But when you’re writing about a tool or anything you can try yourself, you must share your experience.
4. Product-led approach for driving conversions
Product led content approach is when you integrate the product into your content to solve the problem.
- Assume you’re writing on the topic ‘How to find technical issues of a site’; this article will be published on the SEO software company’s blog. Then, your content should show users how to find technical site issues using your SEO tool.
The goal of blog posts is to solve users’ problems or help the users perform a task. Now, with the product-led approach, your product is a part of the solution.
Here’s an example from Shopify:
Shopify published an article about “How to Start Dropshipping in India.”
Users’ need: To learn the dropshipping process
But Shopify didn’t just share the process to start dropshipping. Instead, they have turned their product (eCommerce platform) into a solution to teach about the dropshipping process. And throughout the guide, they have shown how to start dropshipping using the Shopify platform.
This solves users’ queries and drives users to the bottom of the funnel — ultimately bringing conversions.
Another example from Notion:
Notion publishes a lot of helpful articles for startups.
One of them is about “How to improve knowledge sharing within your startup,” where they have presented a notion as a solution by adding:
- Product screenshots
- Product features, etc.
This is what it looks like:
5. Use business USP to build credibility
Alternatively, we can call this strategy a ‘Product-led approach for service businesses.’
For a service business, there is no product to showcase within your content.
However, you may use business USP to build credibility and differentiate.
Here’s an example from GrowAndConvert (a content marketing agency):
GrowAndConvert’s business USP: They already have a lot of successful content case studies.
One of their popular articles is about “SaaS content marketing.”
In the traditional approach, you might have seen sites sharing the strategies of SaaS content marketing or some marketing examples of brands.
And at the end of the blog post, there will be a CTA to promote the content marketing service.
But not in the case of GrowAndConvert.
The GrowAndConvert team did a great job by turning their service into a part of the solution.
These articles share the strategies and case studies where they get results for their clients using the same strategies.
This informs the reader that the brand is a content marketing agency and works as social proof for its work.
The key message here is:
Try to integrate the client’s case studies with the content.
For example →
If the article is about product positioning, share strategies for product marketing and how the same strategies helped your clients.
1. Writing introduction:
Some business USP examples:
- 5+ years of experience
- Worked with 120+ clients across various industries
- Delivered >80% ROI for the recent clients
- And so on…
6. Go beyond text content
When everyone focuses on delivering value with text-based information, you may consider additional materials to help the readers.
As a writer, you may support your content with original templates, directories, databases, etc.
Is there any public database available on the topic? Think about how you can align them.
💡 Why not create a Google sheet listing the average content writer’s salary in each Indian state and then create a simple chart? All these data are publicly available on job portals.
This way, you’ll have unique datasets (say, the highest and lowest average salary in states) that no one talks about, making the content interesting.
💡 Why not study the top 10 eCommerce sites (of a specific country worldwide) and find what’s common in their CRO strategy?
This way, you’ll get an understanding of what’s trending actually. You will also find interesting angles to cover. For example, you may find that 50% of the top 10 eCommerce sites use ‘review ratings’ along with the product price.
You don’t need to copy these ideas for every blog content. But you might get the idea of going beyond text-based content (say, creating databases, sheets, simple charts, etc.
Before writing any content, ask yourself:
What unique and related information can I add to this topic that no one talks about?
If there is no solid answer, think again or take help from your seniors.
- Optimizing your content for SEO is required to drive traffic.
- Optimizing your content for UX helps drive engagement & conversions.
- Optimizing your content with a content differentiation strategy will make your brand stand out.