Creative content is a piece of content which is so engaging and interesting that it naturally encourages people to link back to a website with the intention of boosting its online presence (and thus its visibility on search engines like Google).
Being intrinsically viral, creative content can be almost anything from fascinating and unique research to something simple and creative. Successful examples include blog posts, videos, audio clips, and images, whilst the only unifying characteristic is that it grabs people and engenders a seductive impulse to promote that piece of content by linking back to it.
We’ve compiled a list of the ten top examples along with the defining attributes which make them successful creative content:
1. BE EDUCATIONAL: ‘The Beginner’s Guide To SEO’
Beginner’s guides generally provide good creative content but this particular instance from SEOmoz is one of the most successful. In addition to the initial boost it received on release, the truly successful strategy has been to continually update the information in line with crucial changes to the SEO industry, this ensures that its ranking dominance for searches such as “SEO for beginners” continues to remain immensely strong.
The Results: As of Jan 2013 this campaign has received over 1,564 Facebook Likes, 2,599 Tweets, and 528 Google +1s, along with a plethora of links from a staggering 40,000 sites including SEOBook and Distilled.
2. BE UNIQUE & RELEVANT: ‘Google - Evil or Not’
Ugo Cei found that so many people were asking questions like “Are Google evil or not?” that he decided to let the internet decide. He aggregates post covering the latest Google events and lets the online global population vote “Good” or “Evil”; this data is then transformed into a monthly graph depicting Google’s “Evilness”
The Results: Whilst this requires a certain amount of upfront work it has generated over 100 hundred quality links including one from Matt Cutts’ Blog, Search Engine Watch, and Blogoscoped.
3. BE THE FIRST: ‘Gizmodo Unveils The iPhone 4 Early’
Another great example of creative content is Gizmodo’s early report on the iPhone 4, which left many of their competitors for dust as they gave an in depth analysis of all the new features and published it before anyone else knew it was released.
The Results: Despite the controversy surrounding the worker who “found” the early prototype for this report, the fruits of their labour were bountiful with over 245,000 Facebook likes, thousands of Tweets and over 4,000 all important links including TechCrunch and Engadget.
4. BE INTERACTIVE & RESOURCEFUL: ‘OkCupid’s Politics Test’
This two-page mini site gives users a summary of their political views based on answers to a series of questions. OkCupid is a dating site which specialises in personality-matching via crowdsourced questions, as a result they already had hundreds of popular political topics to draw on. This resourceful use of their existing content along with its engaging and interactive format ensured that they received a large amount of viral buzz and quality links from a variety of sources including news sites and political blogs.
The Results: This page was shared on Facebook over 1,000 times and has received over 2,100 links from sites whose audience would usually be outside of their reach.
5. BE ENGAGING: ‘The Evolution of Western Dance Music’
Despite their recent fall in favour, a list of creative content would not be complete without an infographic. It is hard to ignore the incredible success of the dynamic infographic created by Thomson which charts the global dispersion of modern dance music. This cleverly connects an interest in dance music with Thomson holiday offers to the dance haven Ibiza. Its dynamic nature makes it incredibly engaging and easy to watch, whilst the option of manually scrolling through the various decades to find the origins of your favourite musical niche makes it immensely sticky.
The Results: 6,590 Tweets, 34,000 Likes, and 1,613 links from top sites like SEOMoz as well as hundreds of music and travel blogs.
6.BE ADDICTIVE & FUN: ‘Gangnam Style’
Now bear with me here, because although PSY’s catchy korean-pop record obviously wasn’t designed to build links, the essence of its success can be extracted and hopefully recreated for any campaign. Not every company has the budget to produce their own professional standard music video, however
The Results: 35,058 Links, 686,000 Likes, 9.7m Tweets, 2.8m Google +1s, 6,894 Linking Root Domains.
There have been recent rumblings that creative content for its own sake will increasingly be devalued by Google, consequently there has never been a better time to take stock and really ask yourself - is this content really adding value to the internet?
The six examples above could all answer yes to this question and that’s because they are; unique, relevant, educational, interactive, resourceful, engaging, addictive and fun. So next time you create content to promote your site, tr