Monday, November 1, 2010

"Is ALL content king?" or "How I was able to convert quality traffic"

Many digital strategists admit/proclaim that content is king, and I couldn't agree more. However, having said that, I think some elaboration is necessary before we embrace the adage wholesale. I'm all about content and insist that any online strategy include more than traditional site copy. When we operate online, regardless of our business(es), we become content publishers. And like any media, if you don't refresh your publications, people won't find you as relevant or useful as you may have been the last time you posted something "new". But not just any content will do. This may sound obvious to many, but not only do we have to constantly refresh our content, we have to create/publish relevant/resonating content that engages our target audience.

Just like any ad strategy, you need to target the right people, and once you get them to the desired destination, you have to provide them with (more of) what they were looking for. If you sell widgets, your content has to be relevant to your desired audience be they widget buyers, widget builders or widget enthusiasts. Perhaps you will grab the attention of an unenlightened widget newbie, but always keep your sites trained on the target, and continue to develop content based on that.

Once your content has hooked the reader and directed them to the desired destination, then you have to create content that provides them with more information, more value... ultimately your role as publisher is to help them make an informed decision and ideally lead them further down the path of conversion (sale, request for more information).

Maybe you want them to learn more about widgets before they actually commit to buying. Maybe they're not in the right stage of the buying cycle. How do you qualify that widget lead? How do you become relevant regardless of what stage of widget knowledge they're at? Give them more information about why you're different from the other widget sellers out there. Explain the differences between widget "A" and your competitor's widget "B". Explain why widgets in general (not just yours) are amazing and how they've helped multiple different sectors accomplish their goals. This content can take many forms and may even lead them away (gasp) from your site, but ultimately you'll have an engaged almost-customer who wants to hear more, and will tell others about your vast knowledge of widgets.

So, it's not all about a press-release-every-week until you get published in a trade or daily, or random microblogging about your day-to-day activities. It's not about (or only about) paying bloggers or other relevant media to spread your message. It's about providing value and informing your audience. It's about engaging them in conversations and helping them to make better decisions. And, yes, eventually, if the content has resonated and as a result they've come to trust your voice and brand, they will buy-in to what you're selling.

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