Every so often, we happen on pearls of marketing wisdom that have the power to reset our thinking and simplify concepts that mystified us before. Like a potted seed that finally crawls out into the light, these ‘Aha!’ moments strike a chord and surface new ways of thinking that can have a profound bearing on how we mature professionally. Rand Fishkin’s guide to 10X content had this effect on us and on the industry.

Rand’s 10X concept introduced a new approach to digital content. In essence, 10X content refers to digital content that is ten times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given query or topic.

google seo - digital marketing 10 x - meltwater africa blog

At its core, 10X is a quality standard for content creation as its the antithesis of an infinite quantity of arbitrary content that exploded all over the Internet more than ten years ago when marketers discovered SEO. In recent years, search giants such as Google have accelerated brands’ adoption of 10X content principles by forcing them to act like real publishers – well-researched, accurate and convincing, 10X content satisfies a users’ search for answers better than any other brand publishers in a vertical.

By being quality-conscious in the results algorithms serve for a search query, and rewarding those who create useful content, search engines have emphasised the importance of producing superior resources that help people. Simply put, spammy or thin content and suspect online PR tactics have largely been wiped out and are no longer sustainable if you’re serious about building a sound digital brand presence.

At best, subpar branded content will turn customers to your competitors. At worst, it can get you penalised, or in Google terms, sandboxed (eliminated from search results).

10X content is somewhat anti-SEO as it steers creators away from crafting content for “SEO purposes” and forces them to prioritise what humans want from your content. Contrary to creating content for the sake of search optimisation, 10X is about providing unique, relevant and standout information that improves the overall quality and human experience of search, outperforming your competitors in the process.

So, what makes 10X content a cut above the rest? Let’s unpack the components that, when applied in unison, can elevate public perception of a brand.

1. Study the competition

Study your competitors, their position in the search results and the content they make to achieve a top rank is the most sensible place to begin when you set out to create a 10X asset.

Arm yourself with the most popular keywords and phrases in your niche and get acquainted with who you are up against and how much you need to level-up to outrank the brands that occupy prime position in search results.

2. A positive user experience

While UX is a highly-specialised domain, in the context of 10X it’s somewhat narrowed in terms of the basic criteria you should concentrate on.

The primary areas of user experience in relation to 10X highlight developing a sound technical foundation – content is cross-device friendly, fast to load and responds well no matter what device or browser a user chooses to engage with it on. Your content should present well, be tested regularly and optimised. It should be free of too many display ads and offer a clean interface so that even the most severe technophobes can navigate effortlessly. The format should accommodate viewers who scan screens by using short paragraphs, numbered lists and bullet points, sub-sections and high-quality images and graphics.

But, creating 10X content is not only about providing a remarkable user experience..

3. Substance and Quality

One of the hallmarks of a 10X content piece is that it is in-depth. It delivers facts and a unique voice in comparison to what else is out there and it builds trust with the people it reaches. For a piece of content to be substantive does not mean you should aim higher in your word count.

Fishkin describes the substance part of 10X content as being, “Considerably different in scope and details from other works serving the same user intent.”

4. Rich Media

Incorporate custom-designed images, animated GIFs and videos to breakup long-form content making it more visually-appealing and easier to digest. Embed videos, presentations and relevant social media posts from industry authorities where applicable; this drives trust and makes for a more compelling user experience.

Ensure the home of your 10X content piece is interactive by linking to anchors and sub-sections within the page; it makes it easier for users to navigate and jump between sections and supports the many people who scan their screens for the info they need.

5. Relevancy

Instead of blindsiding your audience with clickbait headlines and excessive sales talk, do research and create relevant content that speaks to their wants, needs, interests and most importantly the intent of their search.

Find out your customers’ pain points and address their problems by providing deep insights, expert analysis, original angles and current information. Revisit old content pieces that had traction with your users in the past and assess what can be done to modify it to bring it in line with 10X qualities and grow its relevancy factor.

Lessons learnt in creating 10 x digital content

6. Shareability

As with most brilliant content pieces, we usually discover quality resources via someone in our network sharing or recommending it on social media. Content that makes a splash and is amplified by social sharing does so by provoking an emotional response in people, at the right time.

Play to peoples’ emotions by delivering content of such a high calibre that a user should feel a sense of pride when they are the first to find and share the information with their network. In addition, content that is shareable is more likely to be a cited resource resulting in inbound links from authoritative domains – this being one of the most decisive influences of search visibility.

sharability of 10x content - meltwater africa

If you’d like to learn more about creating content in a digital world, and improving the quality of what you’re putting out to prospective customers, sign up to our blog, or networking events and online webinars, for the best free resources.