It can be frustrating working in digital publishing, navigating the science of SEO and ever-evolving algorithms. A lot of my feature ideas never get written because, despite being right for my readership, Google would dictate that they’re rarely seen.
The fact is, I can cannibalise my own content if I’m not careful. Forgive me if you know all this, but say, for example, I wrote a new story about retinol – skincare’s star ingredient. It might have a different hook to the more generic story I have already written on retinol, which ranks well, but as it would likely target a similar key word (ie ‘retinol’) I’d then be competing with myself – which freaks Google out. Instead, I’d be better off updating my original story with the new information, and only writing another article on the subject if it was genuinely newsworthy.
All this leads me to the point of today’s column: given that digital journos – working in beauty/fashion/lifestyle – have to justify doing new pages on topics previously covered, when planning features we often consider what could become niche wins. With SEO in mind, focussing on the lesser known or minutia might be more worthwhile than chasing the obvious.
So yes, I’m all ears for ideas that are a little unusual or under the radar – provided they’re relevant for my audience. Another thing I gather about playing the Google game is that there’s little point producing content outside of your authority as, realistically, it won’t rank and therefore won’t be seen en mass. Non-cooking titles can’t compete with dedicated cooking titles, for example – and while the Harper’s Bazaar readers cook (sometimes!), they wouldn’t know to come to the website for culinary inspiration, no matter how exciting our recipes might be.
But anyway, back to beauty. My advice here is, when pitching, don’t dismiss details that might seem trivial or too specific. Often that’s exactly what we – and engaged readers – are searching for.
What Bridget thinks…
“A study demonstrating the most popular bridal nail shade is a simple idea, but an interesting one. I’m not sure analysing nail polishes advertised for a wedding on Google shopping paints the full picture, but it certainly got my attention – and got me thinking about the impending wedding season.”