Over 20 years ago in January 1996 Bill Gates wrote his “Content is King” essay. Ever since, that phrase (and several interesting variations of it) has been used as a mantra by online marketers. And we’ve been told all sorts of stories about our content, and what we should do with it!
We’ve been told that we need to produce a LOT of content if we want to succeed online… but then Google warns us of producing “thin” content. So the “experts” tell us to write stories that are over “x” words in length, with a lot of ensuing arguments of course about how big “x” should be 🙂 And that you should produce lots of articles for syndication (but then they killed article directories – go figure)! And you should produce content in different forms (articles, posts, PDFs, video, podcasts, infographics etc)… and so it goes. On and on and on. Blah Blah Blah!
Does ANYONE really know what it all means, and who is right or wrong?
To answer that, you have to understand what content can be USED for!
Now remember… before you can get people to take any action that benefits YOU…
- they must firstly get to KNOW (about) you…
- then they must start to LIKE you…
- and then they have to TRUST you
before they part with money 🙂
There’s nothing new in that! You hear it everywhere, but THIS is the main purpose of your CONTENT! To step them through this process!
Basically, people don’t care about you! They care only about themselves! Isn’t that the honest truth LOL.
And if you want them to care about you, then you’ve got to MAKE them by using content that resonates with them! Think about your target customer avatar here 🙂
Getting to KNOW (All) About You
People initially get to KNOW about you from all sorts of EXTERNAL sources like search engines, social media, referrals, advertising etc. so let’s look at them!
You use any/all of these external sources to also generate interest in what you do – ie to get people to start to LIKE you and what you are doing!
All this starts to build that very important TRUST feeling too… so don’t be too silly, rude or spammy in what you do on these platforms!
Your Main Aim?
To get people to visit your website – so then they can really get to know, like and trust you!!!
If the CENTER of the target – the BULLSEYE – is your targeted audience, then your objective is to ONLY hit the CENTER of the target! And get ONLY those people who want your product or service to be visiting 🙂
There’s no point in using a shotgun and hit all around the target. There’s little point in wasting time, energy and money trying to persuade all those people around the outside to visit. They just waste time, bandwidth, and buckshott, because your message/service/product is not for them!
So here are some of the ways your content can be used to achieve that aim!
Search Engine Optimisation
Your content can (obviously) be used for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes. You can “play” with words, titles, length, links etc to “manipulate” the position of your content on search engines.
The higher position you have on those SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is supposed to attract more interested/relevant visitors to that content item, wherever it is on the Internet… whether it’s on your website, or social media platform, or elsewhere.
But unless you are on Page #1 of the SERPs for your magic “keyword”, you can basically forget about that!!!
You are also warned that content written for robots (bots) and search engines… is, strangely, NOT what real people (ie your customers) want to consume. So be careful with this.
And, if you rely ONLY on traffic from Search Engines (using the “If you build it they will come” principle), then you can expect to wait a very LONG time for results to happen (if at all).
So you WILL need to use other methods with your content to help people to KNOW about you, including…
The Internet has always, and will always be, about building LINKS to your website! You want a wide variety of other relevant and useful websites linking to your site!
These links :
- are “signals” to the search engines that your site is useful, so you appear higher up in the SERPs,
- help put your “message” out there in front of many interested people, and then
- drive traffic or visitors to your website!
Again, the “content” you choose to use on all those external sources is vital to the final outcome!
And by this, I mean ANY off-site platform you use to try to generate “interest” in your business that is SOCIAL in any way… That might be any, or all, of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Medium, Quora, forums, groups etc.
Look for the RELEVANT platforms that people in your marketplace might actually USE.
You need to understand WHAT TYPE of content they consume, HOW they use that content on the different platforms, and WHY they use it.
Once you have that understanding, you can decide whether it is WORTH pursuing creating a mix of the right BLEND of content for the relevant platform/s.
Again, the MAIN intention of putting content on these platforms, is for them to KNOW about you… to get them to LIKE you a little more… and then? Get them over to YOUR website!!!
We’ve mentioned several times in the YBI “research” module that you should be looking to identify who the “influencers” are in your target market. These are the people who already HAVE a good sized following and reputation. Why? Well, they could be useful to you in some way if approached correctly.
So you’ll be joining their groups etc., and leaving USEFUL comments wherever possible – eg on their blog posts, in the Facebook groups/pages etc. And hopefully, these comments will also allow you to include a link back to your site!
Despite there being a lot of people who now turn commenting off to avoid the spam hassle, this is still a useful method of at being “noticed” by the influencers in your market, and establishing some sort of “relationship” with them 🙂
Referrals / Sharing Content
And one of the reasons you want to get noticed (for all the right reasons) is to get an opportunity to ask other people if you can write a guest post/article to publish on their website? Or perhaps they might like to link to something interesting that you have written? Or perhaps you can use their content in some special way and link back to them?
Such cross promotions are valuable when done properly to get more referrals to your website.
There are many platforms online which accept paid advertising – the search engines themselves, social media platforms etc.
I constantly see stories of people who “say” they can convert a $1 spend on advertising into $2 (or more) every time they implement it! Hmmm… Be careful here if you decide to work on it. Start small until you learn how these systems work. The problem is that if you aren’t careful, this can end up costing a bomb!
In any business, getting referrals from existing customers has ALWAYS been important to pursue! Or getting new or ongoing work from existing customers. Remember, it’s far cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to get new ones!
So ensure you have systems in place to best utilise that source!
The Final Outcome?
Remember, the main aim of the game so far is to get people to ARRIVE at your website, or article, or landing page… whatever.
Get them to take some sort of ACTION that is going to result in a payoff for you. Now that action could be to:
- ENGAGE with the material on our site to perhaps entertain, educate or inform them
And then, after a while, hopefully then
- CLICK a contact button or COMPLETE a form, or
- PURCHASE a product.
But before your visitor takes those types of actions, there are certain TRUST FACTORS that come into play first!
Actually, before they even ARRIVE at your website, they must have built up a little bit of TRUST that you can do something for them!
But once they get there, they WILL be looking for other trust signals that reinforce that earlier feeling.
Getting to TRUST You
And as far as trust goes, you DO judge a book by its cover! LOL And when people arrive at your website, their first impression is VITAL if you want them to hang around for any longer than 2.6 seconds!
If that first impression doesn’t score well, they’re outta there!
Here we are mainly talking about the immediate “look and feel” of the site. Does it “look” legit? Or is it crappy, dodgy design? Does it inspire “trust” in proceeding any further?
Google would suggest that if it takes too long to LOAD, then you’ve also lost them. After all, people have better things to do than to wait for slow sites to load!
Remember, it IS all about THEM!!! (your visitors… not Google LOL)
But once you’re over that initial hurdle, what else are first-time visitors looking for to decide if you are trustworthy? Even BEFORE they go looking at whatever your brilliant idea or offer is?
On-Site Trust Factors
Apart from your home page, several internal web pages are vital to establishing trust for your new visitors, and should be on EVERY website ever built. You should look very closely at the content of these pages and the language used on them:
- your “About” page – yep – that boring page which you thought no-one reads, is actually one of THE most important ones on your website! If you want to know how to write a killer about us page… you know what to do!
- your “Contact” page – is there an EASY method of talking to you? Are ALL your contact details published, or are you simply “hiding” behind a contact form! How “transparent” are you? Give your visitors a choice of methods to get in touch with you!
- your “Terms of Service” page is also a widely read page… and if you can put it into plain English you can make it even more valuable as a trust factor 🙂 Any “refunds” pages, or “freight” pages etc if you are an e-commerce site, are just as vital!
- do you need a separate “Support” page/section? Maybe a support “desk”, or possibly a “knowledgebase” of important questions? The more complex the site… the more need for such a section to be there! However, even the smallest sites can make great use of the word “Support” in their navigation, and build more trust by linking to the various methods customers can use!
- your “FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)” page is the final page needed (for now). This is a great opportunity for you to educate your buyer more. Such pages provide you with an opportunity to present a whole HEAP of information without worrying too much about the “structure” or the “look and feel” of the page. People expect to see quite a few questions and answers here. Just make sure you make a sincere attempt at building a useful page here.
If these “essential” pages do NOT exist, your visitor might ask “Why aren’t they here?” They might wonder “What are they hiding?”
And where’s that all important trust gone now??? Pffft!
Your Website Visitor Engagement / Conversion
So once you’ve established that trust – often only in a micro-second or two LOL – the next thing your content has to do is to ENGAGE your visitors!
And that’s all about making life EASY for your visitors to NAVIGATE or SEARCH through your website, FINDING whatever content they expected to find (the stuff you promised), and then seamlessly CONSUMING your content!
Does your content – whether it be product descriptions, articles, videos, whatever – do the job it is supposed to do?
Does that content CONVERT them into taking whatever ACTION you want them to take?
These ACTIONS could be:
- buying something,
- clicking something, or
- signing up for something
Are your CALLS TO ACTION (CTA) obvious? You did include a CTA on every page (at least one) didn’t you?
And once they bought something… How important is content in those DELIVERY and SUPPORT channels to make them work better for you?
OR when they sign up for your “list”… What messages do you have set up for them to receive as part of your AUTO-RESPONDER sequences… or as a broadcast message?
But wait! There’s still more…
We haven’t even mentioned other channels such as
- outreach messages and scripts you might use with cold emailing, cold calling, direct mail or messaging (Facebook/LinkedIn),
- affiliate marketing and sample messages for affiliates,
- lead capture pages, lead magnets, follow up messages/emails,
- sales letters and funnels, thank you pages, upsells, downsells, etc.,
- after sales support, and
- customer testimonials.
And we could go on even more… But Woah!
We’ve got enough to realise that content is a LOT more than just a mere “King”!
Your Content Should Be OMNIPRESENT!
Your content should be everywhere, at the same time!
Your efforts should be on writing lots of trustworthy content that targets your selected audience wherever they hang out!
Content IS the focus of Module Five in our course here @ YBI. To take it for a free 14-day test drive make sure you register here… 🙂