Note: This post was originally published at / on September 19, 2011 and was updated and moved to BizAmmo after that blog’s retirement.

I talk a lot about what’s wrong in the social media world — from the circle jerk phenomenon of “tribes” to ways poor social media marketing can make you look like a scammer, spammer, or worse. Instead of hearing what he shouldn’t do to grow traffic using social media, one reader named Damon wanted to know what he should do. More importantly, he was tired of the sleazier side of SEO advice when it comes to site rankings.

We talked about the importance of quality content and how that’s the key to combining social media and long-term SEO benefits for increased traffic. Today let’s explore some simple ideas in content marketing. We’ll look at things you can do to improve your site’s content to build more organic links both inside and outside of social media, leading to better rankings and more traffic. Let’s get to it.

What is Content?

Sometimes the issue of quality content is a simple one — people don’t have a full grasp of what that content includes. Some, for example, limit their view of content to mean the text on their sites. But it’s much more than that. Your content might include:

  • Web copy
  • Blog posts / Articles
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Apps / Software downloads
  • Games
  • Comics
  • White Papers
  • E-books / Reports
  • Forms / Worksheets / Templates

I’m sure you can think of more. Your content is everything that appears on your site.

For example, on my writing blog we feature a blog with several contributors, an audio play series, a new job board, forums, free downloadable worksheets and templates, online calculators and tools, and e-books. We’re also planning to launch a podcast series based on the blog posts (audio versions readers can take with them) and a screencast video series for tutorials.

I turned a basic blog into a “resource site.” And that’s one of the best tips I can give Damon or anyone else when it comes to improving social media sharing and SEO at the same time.

Why Resource Sites Work

The old digital brochure type of website just doesn’t cut it anymore. The Web gets more competitive every day. In both SEO and social media, it’s therefore important to stand out. Converting your website into a resource site can help you do that.

People love to bookmark, share, and link to resources they find useful or entertaining. The more of this content you provide, the better your chances of ranking well in search engines and getting visitors to interact with you via social media outlets. A typical website or blog can be just fine for some niches. But in others a more comprehensive resource site allows you to reach a broader audience.

Remember, people don’t only learn in different ways. They’re also entertained in different ways, and they make buying decisions based on different factors. The more people in your target audience your content can appeal to, the better you’re likely to rank in search engines and the more likely visitors are to spread the word via social media.

Pick and choose from the list of content types I’ve included here, or add your own suggestions in our comments. What works with your website’s audience? What kinds of content can you add or improve?