What is content?
For the purposes of this post, content is anything that you post online. While typically when someone refers to your content they are talking about larger elements such as articles, blog posts, or videos, content can also be social media posts (i.e. a tweet on Twitter) or podcasts, among other things.
For more information, check out these posts:
Using content for SEO
Content is one of the most important (and controllable) elements of SEO that you can utilize for your business. Your content can be your mouthpiece; customers are engaged by content so it is one of the best ways to communicate with them and share what your business is all about. Because you can control your content, you are able to tailor it to your audience and give them something they really need: good quality information.
Get more in-depth with these posts by top bloggers:
And if that wasn’t enough content – SEO goodness, feast your eyes on this:
(Click on the image for a larger version on the creator’s website)
Creating good content
Check out a post we made a few weeks ago, Newsflash! Seven Steps to Creating Amazing Content for tips and advice you can use to create content that will get people to stop and pay attention to what you have to say. For a great walk-through of content from the ground up (which is a great foundation to understanding content and learning how to create your own great content) check out this video:
What Is Website Content? (Pt. 1)
And if you’re interested in Part Two, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbfObU83zQ&feature=relmfu
Where Should Your Content Go & Why?
There are many places that your content can be placed, and depending on the type of content you have to share and the audience you want to reach with it, there are plenty of options available to you like:
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
And these are only a few of the most popular choices!
The location of your content should match the audience you are trying to reach, or at the very least be a relevant and appropriate place to place content that you own. For example:
On a blog – a blog can hold anything you want it to! With platforms like WordPress making it easier than ever for businesses to self-publish, you can easily post videos, add written content, post graphics, etc all on your own blog! Customers have a lot of control when it comes to viewing content on a blog, so you can post whatever you like and customers have a choice as to when they visit your blog to see it; if they want to get updates on your posts they can subscribe to your RSS feed, otherwise they can stop by at their leisure. In short, with a blog, everybody wins.
In a newsletter – a newsletter is a great way to communicate with existing customers, potential customers, or even employees and other businesses. With services like MailChimp available for a very affordable price, you don’t even need to know HTML to design a smart-looking email newsletter. Newsletters are ideal for written content like articles, and photos / graphics can be included as well to break up the text and make it more visually appealing. Newsletters are also voluntary viewing, meaning someone has to sign up to receive it, and they can cancel at any time. There is a certain understanding that a newsletter for a business is going to be at least semi-promotional so a little bit of self-promotion is okay, but the focus should still be on delivering something useful and informative to your readers.
In an article – articles are the go-to point for purely informational content. Want to tell someone all about your business? Write an article about it! Think you have a great system for achieving a goal such as writing a great piece of content? An article can help you share that idea or process with a lot of people. Articles are most often found in article directories like EzineArticles; most directories are free, and some also have membership fees for special perks such as faster approval times. Articles are most often read by people who have searched for a particular topic and are simply looking for more information about it. This is definitely not the right place to talk about your business, instead focus on delivering maximum informative content in the space that you have.
On video – videos are the perfect way to demonstrate something or explain something to people with visual learning styles. The ideal medium for tutorials, how-to pieces, and product demonstrations, videos can be created in a variety of formats and posted to many places online. The most popular place for videos to appear is directly on the site that is hosting them (i.e. YouTube) and/or your blog or website. Videos are one of the more popular types of media online and are viewed by millions of people from all manner of devices from PCs to iPhones. A video is a great place to promote your business, provide information, or both. If your target audience is made up of more mature adults, this might not be the best choice for your message.
In a podcast – podcasts surged in popularity a few years back, and have since dropped out of favor slightly; this does not mean that they should be passed over however! A podcast is a great way to present a piece of content that might be text-heavy (like an article) in an audio format that people can listen to while they do something else, making it a great format for people on the go. Podcasts are still great ways to reach people and are best for people who enjoy listening to their content; it should be noted that podcast capability has expanded to include video and imagery, but the default is still pure audio delivery.
Via social media – social media is another go-to distribution point for content because it is (at least in theory) a quick and easy way to share things with a lot of people. The type of social media you use should depend on what you have to share (text, video, etc) as well as who you are looking to share it with. Pinterest is the place to go for visually appealing content, or content that at least has a snappy image to use while Twitter is the best place for posting small amounts of text on the fly. Facebook is a bit of a marriage between the two and is ideal for many different kinds of content while allowing for easy to track customer engagement. Social media is the best way to distribute your content if you are looking for feedback, because by nature social media is just that…social. If you put something good out there then people are going to share it!
Get some extra insight here:
- Where Should The Content Go? – by Kirsty Pitkin
- Content Marketing Playbook 2011 – 42 Ways to Connect with Customers – by Joe Pulizzi
- Similar Content Different Delivery – by Lorraine Ball
- Content Marketing + Social Media = The Perfect Marriage? – by Mark Evans
The Real Benefits of Content Catering
Content catering? Never heard of that before…
Content catering is much like food catering; you are evaluating what you have, what your customer needs, and finding the best way to give it to them. Catering your content means that you can fine-tune your marketing in ways that you never could before. Because you have so many different ways (read: media types) you can serve up your content, you already have the ability to deliver your content in different ways based on different learning and entertainment styles. By adding a variety of distribution points (blogs, etc) you are able to hone your message even further and focus your campaigns on much more specific groups. The end result? Potential for higher conversion rates based on the ability to appeal directly to specific consumers versus having to broaden a campaign for exposure to a more diverse audience.
When you cater your content, you are making sure that the right content reaches the right people, and does so in the right way. For example, someone who enjoys graphic content in a laid-back atmosphere is going to be on Pinterest; let’s say you’re a travel agent selling tickets for a cruise, and you have some really amazing shots of the locations the cruise would be stopping at. Put the two together, and you’ve just discovered a perfect way to advertise your business. Link this Pin to an article on your blog about cruises, and you’ve just set up a connection and increased your chances of exposure. While it is possible to reach people by posting pretty much the same content across a wide range of distribution methods, you might be spending more time, effort, and other resources overall working this way versus taking a more targeted approach. The face of content marketing is changing, and those businesses that can learn to adapt quickly and roll with the punches are going to be the ones who come out on top every time.
Content catering also allows you to diversify your link-building profile, something that is becoming more and more important as more algorithm updates are made by Google such as Panda and Penguin. Not only does posting your content as different types of media in different places allow you to really narrow down your market and target them more effectively, it also gives people more of your content to share. More shares means more links on more sites, and it also means more activity in general, something that is also becoming very important in the website rankings equation.
But wait, there’s more! Get even more information here:
- What Makes Good Content Marketing Great? – by Darren Rowse
Great! So Where Can I Get Content?
There are two ways you can get great content:
- You can create it
- Someone else can create it for you
Creating your own content gives you maximum control, but it also can take up a lot of your time, something few business owners have to spare. If you have at least one employee other than yourself you can potentially have this person help you with creating your content and at least keep things in-house. If it’s just you, or if you have the resources to outsource your content, that is certainly a possibility that can also yield good results.
If you decide to let someone else create your content, make sure that they are a specialist in the type of media you need, and it is always an added benefit if they have experience creating content for SEO purposes (this is especially important for text-based content creators.) Another thing to look for is experience in your market, i.e. if you make kitchen appliances, does the person you are hiring have any experience creating content for the types of products and services you offer?
There are many different places to get connected with someone who can create content for you. You can advertise locally as well as online via classified ads, and there are several virtual job boards on the web that offer to connect clients and contractors for a small fee. Whatever method you choose, make sure you interview your chosen candidate carefully and take your time to consider all the angles. A good relationship with your content creator can lead to a low-maintenance content marketing campaign that stands the test of time, so it is well worth the time and effort to find someone you can work with easily, and for the long term.
Before You Go!
Before you leave, please keep one very important thing in mind: duplicate content. Duplicate content (content syndication excepted) is a big no-no, and it is easier than ever to avoid it! Simply have an interactive spreadsheet or other file/application that you and anyone who works with you to use where you can collaborate on who has posted what and where they have posted it. This simple step can help you avoid double posting, posting the wrong thing in the wrong place, and much more. A simple solution to what could easily become a large problem is a win-win for everyone!
What kind of content do you post online?
Do you separate your content and spread it out across different distribution methods?
If yes, where? If no, why not?
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