You feel confident that your brand is a leader in your industry. A great way to showcase that knowledge and expertise is with an “ultimate guide.”
Internet users turn to these ultimate guides when they want thoroughly researched, straightforward information all in one place. The key for you is to present your know-how in the right format and with the right information.
In our ultimate guide to ultimate guides, we are going to walk you through the process of creating one for your company to highlight your thought leadership.
- A well-written ultimate guide can showcase your industry expertise.
- Focus on trending topics that let you use your perspective and industry knowledge to fill in information gaps.
- Follow good optimization practices, such as using long-tail keywords and incorporating images, videos, and infographics.
What Is an Ultimate Guide?
An ultimate guide is a definitive source of information that provides extensive details on a subject. After finishing your guide, readers should feel satisfied that they learned all there is to know about your chosen topic.
An ultimate guide on your site can be an effective way to drive traffic, shares, and links to your content. This guide is the ideal format to present your industry expertise.
It should also make your readers feel like they can trust you. If they trust your guide, they may want to trust you with your business.
In fact, I put just about everything I know into this ultimate guide to content marketing and this ultimate guide to employee activation. It took me days to write them! (We create these for almost all our clients. Contact me if you want to learn more!)
A vital step in making a high-quality ultimate guide is sticking to what you know and presenting it in an easy-to-understand format. Follow these steps to get started.
Put Your Thought Leadership on Display with These 7 Steps
You want to create a guide that is more than just a list of items. You want a thorough piece of content that will climb the search results and bring in new readers and customers.
1. Choose Your Industry-Leading Topic
Before you start writing, you need to choose a topic that your company knows well. You want to create a guide that will hopefully fill a void and answer new questions. The best way to find your topic is by researching your competition and focusing on your audience’s questions.
Read other blogs related to your industry to learn about currently trending topics. By seeing what the competition is writing about, you can create a guide that offers new information.
Even if you feel like a topic has been thoroughly covered, you might realize you have a new perspective on the issue. Focus on the ideas that you think are missing from other content.
2. Create an Outline with a Simple Format
A guide with a clean format will be easier to read and understand than something disorganized and jumbled. You want to keep your paragraphs short with about two to three sentences each.
Recall your days of high school English and create a simple outline with your main points, or headers. Include subheaders where you can break down information in more detail. Internet readers do not like large blocks of text.
Many ultimate guides will be about 3,000 words long. However, some can be longer if you are covering a more detailed topic. Avoid breaking off into tangents that are not related to your topic.
If you have a longer ultimate guide, you can use a table of contents at the beginning with links that will jump to the desired section.
3. Do Your Keyword Research
One of the most important ways to optimize your ultimate guide and any other content for search engines is to incorporate keywords. These are words or phrases that people might search for to find your content.
Don’t forget to focus on these keyword principles:
- Concentrate on Keyword Placement: You want your keywords to appear in the right places without feeling forced. Headers and sub-headers are crucial places for keyword placement. You also want to incorporate them into the text, but do not fall back on keyword stuffing. You want the keywords to feel natural and conversational.
- Use Your Outline for Ideas: With your outline complete, you can see what topics you cover the most. Think about what you would search for if you were looking for your guide. Use those ideas to start your keywords.
- Consider Long-tail Keywords: To get the biggest impact from your focus keywords, use long-tail keywords. These are going to be longer phrases instead of just one or two words. For example, if you are writing an ultimate guide on camping, you could choose keywords like “camping equipment” or “how to go camping.” While these might lead someone to your guide eventually, you would have better results with more specific words, such as, “camping equipment for first-time campers.”
4. Add Visual Media to Break Up the Text
A long block of text can be tiring to read. Adding images, screenshots, or even videos can add some visual interest along with offering more information to your readers.
A study says that about 65% of people are visual learners. This makes sense because the brain is much faster at processing visual information than text. It is 60,000 times faster managing visual information.
Here’s a graphic our design team created to explain our client onboarding process for content marketing services:
5. Amp Up Your Credibility with Pertinent Statistics
Sharing facts and statistics can easily increase your credibility. You probably use statistics every day without even thinking about it. You might check the chance of rain, see who is leading in a political poll, or how your stocks are doing.
Using valuable statistics (like we did in the previous example), can give your readers concrete information and real-world examples.
To combine steps four and five, you can hire a graphic designer to create an infographic. Infographics are popular because they transform text information into a visually appealing format. In fact, (here’s another statistic) adding an infographic to a site can increase its traffic by an average of 12%. This infographic from Lifehack shares nine reasons why you should use infographics in your content.
6. Make Sure Your Content Is Evergreen
You are putting a lot of time and effort into your ultimate guide. Make sure it can withstand changes by focusing on evergreen content. You want your guide to lead the industry, and the search results, for years, not just days.
Evergreen content, like the trees it is named after, stays fresh and relevant years after it is published. The best way to keep your content evergreen is by avoiding pop culture references or mentions of current events. You also need to use specific dates instead of general timeframes. For example, instead of writing, “over the past five years,” write “between 2016 and 2021.”
Finally, you will want to go back and update your guide regularly. Once a year is an ideal timeframe.
7. Use Expert Editing Techniques
Once you feel like your ultimate guide is complete, it is time to start editing. This process may take longer than the actual writing.
Here are a few tools that expert writers and editors use:
- Read Your Copy: An easy way to find simple errors is by reading your copy out loud. This can help you find awkward transitions and other problems with flow.
- Use Editing Software: Word processing software can check your spelling and other grammar mistakes. You can also use an internet plugin like Grammarly to help improve your word usage.
- Get Some Help: Ask someone else to read your copy. A new set of eyes can often point out problems that you missed. You can also consider hiring a professional for the best editing results.
Focusing on creating an expertly edited document will give you the best results on your site.