Google doesn't actually say "It's all about the content."
Do you know what they say?
"It's all about the user"
Its funny how often they repeat themselves when people ask them (Google) questions in regards to SEO. Their standard answer is always "make a site which is interesting/good for the user, then the rankings will come...
Maybe this is actually not that stupid...
I say this because as a SEO and marketer i see myself very OFTEN in that "trap" to write content simply "for SEO" in the hopes of ranking.
I blog about something simply because i am an affiliate for the product and i hope to make some sales. I am writing articles where i researched the keywords in advance, in the hopes to get good SERPs
You write a comment on a blog, NOT because you actually care about the blog...simply because you want a fricking backlink.
You design sites around LSI keywords and SEO research...you chose categories and post title names NOT because they might be interesting for people, but rather because of your "SEO mind" ...you get the idea
Sometimes i think...i would be good to have an "anti SEO" mind and make sites where i "willingly" ignore all those factors...and i actually would NOT be surprised if it would pay off somehow also in terms of Google rankings.
How to start with this:
Take off your "SEO Mindset" and simply go out and look what the buzz is, what people are talking about...think about what people might be interested to read. Simple as that. I admit that i often "forget" that and Google might be right, in some way ...