Content is King in website marketing

content-is-king

For a long time now, most web folks have known that “Content is King”. What does that mean? Great content can get visitors to your website. Great content can keep people on your website. Great content gets people to link to your website. Great content can get search engines to rank you well. Keeping content fresh can help maintain your good search engine results (SERPs).

What do I mean by content?

The content I’m referring too can be text, products, photos, videos, social media, blogs, white papers, comments, polls, rankings and anything else that adds something to your website.

What makes content so important?

As a search engine optimization (SEO) geek I know, right after the very basics like meta information, the most important thing to consider in trying to rank high is content. The search engines love text, especially when it is relevant and supports the rest of the websites content. By relevant I mean, adding a chocolate chip cookie recipe to an architecture website probably won’t help your relevancy. Adding an article about computer aided design (CAD) might.

Google will tell you that one way to get better rankings on search engines is having quality inbound links to your site. You can hire a link building person to scour the web looking for opportunities, or you can develop content that someone might be interested in linking too. I hate the term but “Link Bait”, or creating content with the intent to encourage links, is a great way to increase where you rank in the SERPs.

Besides the search engines, believe it or not visitors to your site like good content. Using the example above, let’s say a visitor comes to your architecture website and the first page they come across is an article on chocolate chip cookies. The likelihood of the visitor staying on the site is low; the likelihood of them turning into a conversion is even lower. Alternately, if you have content the visitor is interested in, they are much more likely to stay or comeback.

Where can I get great content?

The biggest problem with great content is getting great content. Most companies don’t have the resources such as technical writers and content marketing specialist on staff. It can be expensive to generate and maintain content. In an article I came across on eConsultancy entitled, “Your company is awash with great content” they demonstrate all the resources companies can leverage. Below is an exert from that article listing resources you might not have thought of.

Hiding in powerpoint decks. Sales decks, investor presentations, process-focused slides…

Inside the heads of your people. Not just your smartest or most senior people; your front-line sales and support people too; and your product people.

In customer communications. Your customers are a prime source of Grade A content. Almost every interaction has at least the germ of a blog post.

In sales proposals. The things you use to get people to take out their checkbooks.

In promotional bumf. These days, marketers discount all those data sheets and product brochures and case studies as ‘old-school’ content. But there’s gold in those pdfs (if you’ve got the pan to swish it out).

In what other people say about your world. Journalists, bloggers, analysts and experts are all paid (in one way or another) to secrete content. Get your paper towels out.

In everyday working docs. Those banal process documents meeting reports, project summaries and status updates.

In emails. Your email store is absolutely packed with content ready to discover and unleash. In your In box and your Sent folder. Internal emails. External emails. Marketing emails. Viagra spam. (Okay, maybe not Viagra spam – although I did once write a post on it).

In your social channels. Stop tweeting and just listen to every one else’s tweets for a few hours. Dig under the self-promotional layer in every LinkedIn group. Peel back the social veneer of Facebook. Shine a light into the darker corners of YouTube, Slideshare and Pinterest.

What makes great content?

That is a difficult question to answer. The short of it is, it’s different for every website, company, market, etc. My suggestion is do your research. Figure out what your customers are reading, viewing, liking, retweeting and do more of that. Posting one article will not help, be consistent. Ask your sales people or heaven forbid, ask your customers what they might be interested in seeing. Having great, relevant content is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

Our Favorite Blogs – 2011


Here is a list of our favorite blogs to read to stay current on SEO, Design, Tech, social media, common sense and comedy. What are your favorite blogs?

For Advertising, Branding and Marketing
Adrants
AdFreak
The Brand Builder

For Search Engine Optimization
SEOmoz
The Search Engine Guide

Tech Stuff
TechMeMe
LifeHacker

Website Design
Six Revisions
eConsultancy

Any Blog by Google
Google’s Main Blog
Google Webmaster Central
Google’s Inside Search

Comedy
The Onion

News
Wall Street Journal

To Blog, or not to Blog, that is the question.

To Blog or not to Blog?

Recently I was discussing an interesting topic with a colleague; should every one blog? If you are in the web design or search engine optimization (SEO) industry you know the benefits. Blogs are a great (and cheap) way for companies to easily communicate with customers. Search engines love blogs; it is a major component to many of the SEO campaigns we initiate. Much of the news and information we get these days come from blogs. So the question remains, should every one blog? My answer is NO.

In a frenzy to “stay current”, clients come to me and ask how to start a blog. I generally have a few questions I ask them:

What is the purpose of this blog? The first question is easy. “I read that we can provide information about the business and offer another line of communication with customers.”

What will the content be? The first hesitant answer generally is to the second question. “Well, we can talk about our business and our latest news, I guess.”

Who will be responsible for updating this blog? The third question is the most uncomfortable. “Well, I can put the content up, and my assistant and ummm.”

The reality is sometimes it is better not to blog. If you have the content and resources, it can be a great asset for your business. Many small business, especially these days, just don’t have the time to create content. If like many blogs (including this one:-) you don’t keep it updated, it doesn’t really serve its purpose.

This rant doesn’t even address whether or not a blog fits the company’s business model or if a business is ready for this type of communication with the customers.

I would really welcome feed back on this topic…I could be totally wrong.