Content is King, the undisputed ruler of the online world, (about 791,000,000 results in Google say so).
You’ve probably heard the phrase bandied about by digital marketing types but what does it actually mean?
Well firstly it means your content is important, that should go without saying, but it’s worth mentioning straight away as many organisations only seem to consider it as an afterthought. The content or copywriting phase of a new site build can often be rushed as people underestimate the effort required to get the words on the pages. This leads to many sites going live with ‘placeholder’ copy that somehow is never updated.
Once a site is up and running, the ongoing commitment to expand the content of the site can be lost in the general noise and excitement of the next new shiny thing. The tendency to view filling the pages as a necessary part of a web build project causes issues once the project is complete. Building a new site is a sizeable undertaking and one organisations are right to carefully consider. With the current drive for efficiency and pressure on budgets experienced in many industries it can be hard for the marketing manager to justify the ongoing resource required to produce content. However not having a strategy for curating and developing your content once the build is complete is leaving the job half done.
This is often down to the lack of hard metrics around content production, and the fault can lie with the agency as much as the client. As an agency we should never lose sight of the fact that we are in business to make our clients as successful as possible, and in the majority of cases this means making as much money as possible. Expressing content generation projects in these terms will help to get content marketing projects considered in the same light as pure acquisition channels such as display and PPC.
So that’s the problem, what’s the solution?
Great! Go home write in a darkened room and don’t show your work to anyone…ever.
If I own a site selling sports equipment I don’t want a page saying:
“Are you looking for a pair of tennis shoes? Sportysports.com sells a number of different types of tennis shoes from men’s tennis shoes to women’s tennis to tennis shoes for tennis players…”
I’m sure you get the idea but in case you don’t:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SEO CONTENT
Copy like this used to be able to get sites to rank but not anymore. The problem with this type of content is it’s not written for a human. There is no context and no thought in the tone of voice as to which segment of the customer base this is speaking to. As such anyone who visits the page is likely to bounce and visit another site where some effort has been made to engage with them at a level that matches their stage in the customer journey.
Only if you put it in the wrong place. The flexibility of websites mean you can present long form passages of content in easy to read formats. Larger blocks of content can be broken up with intro paragraphs leading through to larger articles.
Content should complement and draw people into the conversion funnel on your site rather than fighting with the CTAs for visitors’ attention.
The prevalence of testing programs (such as our very own CRO service) can help brands find the optimum mix of promotional and informative copy.
This is a common concern for organisations but one that can be solved by looking at the people you work with in a new light. Within any organisation there are enthusiasts and experts it is these people you need to identify and encourage.
That’s great but what if they’re not natural writers?
Give people some coaching, provide them with a framework to write within, ask them to answer some questions on their favourite subject or just talk them through some ideas. All of these techniques will help people develop their ideas and produce content that you can use.
In my opinion many people can get too hung up on needing the proper vehicle for their content. A well written blog is great but blogs can also be viewed as a panacea solution for a site’s content issues. Many corporate blogs die a slow death in some untended corner of a site after an initial flurry of activity. If you choose a section of your site, use an existing template and start building out the content from there you will soon begin to see the benefits.
Good content is well written, pertinent, original content that people will find interesting (and maybe even want to share and tell other people about). It is often written at length (although doesn’t have to be). It’s written with your customers or target audience in mind and language that they will understand.
That’s nice, but is good content good enough? We should ask ourselves what great content is and what we can add that separates ourselves from the crowd? That’s a post for another day – have a go and let me know how you get on.
The feature image that accompanies this blog is an original creation by Joy Schofield.