Dec 9, 2010

Content: You Don’t Have An Option

Ten years ago some people argued they didn’t need a website. They felt their business was too complex or their customers just weren’t online, which meant a website was irrelevant. You don’t hear that argument anymore, but you do hear people arguing today that they don’t need content.

It’s gotten to the point now where you can’t survive without a content strategy. It’s that simple. To have a modern and relevant brand you have to produce content.

The reasons are straightforward.

Content drives Google, and your search rank. If you want to come up first in Google, you have to produce relevant content your customers are searching for.

Content builds relationships, and helps your customers try before they buy. They follow you on Twitter or read your blog to gain useful information. At the same time those posts garner trust and respect. Your customers get to know you by your content, and that encourages them to call when they’re ready to buy.

Content generates leads. I mentioned SEO already, but you also use content in newsletters, social media and other activities to build brand awareness and reach new audiences. The greater your reach, the more prospects will call.

Content builds your brand. Content is the glue that holds your digital marketing together. Your content defines your brand. It helps customers understand who you are, what you do, what you value and what sets you apart.

What’s your content strategy?

No matter how you slice it, content is essential for your marketing. What’s your strategy?

2011 will quickly be upon us. Now is a great time to consider your strategy and tactics for producing and distributing content online. In an earlier post I discussed the 3Vs (Volume, Velocity and Value). Use the 3Vs as a guide to focus your content strategy.

Are you looking to generate leads? You have two content prongs in a Volume strategy. First is SEO. Work on optimizing your content, as well as producing more content with targeted search objectives. Secondly, focus on lead nurturing. Create useful and interesting content that builds relationships. Email newsletters, blogs and podcasts are excellent options here.

Are you looking to accelerate the sales process? To increase the Velocity of your sales cycle consider how you can assist your customers in their purchasing cycle. What information do they need to make a decision? Would videos, tutorials or other types of content make it easier for them to select you?

Are you looking to increase your margins? Value is truly a brand strategy topic. To increase Value, use content to develop the prestige and awareness of your brand. Your customers have to associate a high value to your service, and choose you first when they’re ready to buy.

You don’t have to do it all in-house

One of the obstacles to a content strategy is time and talent. Many organizations are not embracing content development, because they just don’t have the in-house resources to produce it regularly. Don’t let that slow you down.

You don’t have to do it all yourself. There are plenty of talented journalists, videographers and speakers that can help you produce and distribute content. As you develop your 2011 content strategy, consider your customer first. What do they need? What value can you bring them? Then work on finding the talent required to produce the content, and get it into your customers’ hands.

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