In our fast changing digital world we are continually bombarded with exciting new technologies, platforms and opportunities. However sometimes the centre of our attention isn’t new at all. In fact what is required, is that we simply give greater attention to an existing core aspect of our delivery. For years we have touted and repeated the phrase “Content is King” with much enthusiasm. The reality is that probably not many imagined that what Bill Gates first wrote back in 1996, would mean so much to us today. In his famous essay of the time he wrote “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” While we continue to utter the title of his famous essay, repeatedly our actions often don’t pay true homage to this important mantra.
To compound our challenge, we now have a plethora of platforms, channels, followers, challengers, internal stakeholders, and customers who all demand different things from our content!
Even given Bill’s insight, if we are honest about the past, our content development was/is often seen as no more than a necessary evil. Product descriptions were described in terms of word counts and column centimetres, imagery (as in how many have you got, and how many can the template support) and tech specs, as whether there is a PDF of the manual available? It could be argued that content was about ticking some boxes, defined more by the technical limitations of the CMS – Content Management System, and the consistency of how the listing maybe viewed, in a specific view or given a certain search result!
Well that just won’t do today!
Someone told me once that the old adage, “the customer is always right, doesn’t apply on every occasion; however, you sure as hell should recognise they are always king”. Given this, what you need to do, is develop your “Content for the King” , and if you want to succeed, what you produce needs to give them what they want!
I am told it is crass to talk about monetisation or selling stuff when writing a blog contribution, the content is meant to be more subterfuge and subtle …….bugger that! Selling is exactly what we are trying to do! My customers without exception, simply want to know how to sell more! They want to get more customers and grow business with the ones already have. They want to know how working on their content will help them sell more, and they want to know if they will get a return on investment by spending money on improvements to their content strategies and execution!
To do this, today more than ever you need to first develop a sustainable and measurable Content Plan and Strategy. You need to buy in to the concept that this effort is a journey not destination, and the content you develop can’t be looked at like a statue, where once it is built you just stand back and admire it. It is more akin to a relationship that requires you listening, learning and your constant nurturing useful site. Your attention and commitment will result in it evolving and hopefully getting better and better with time.
To achieve this you will need a team who are keen to listen and understand what your customers want and need.
They then need to “Passionately and continuously produce and curate content as if it is for the king”, (your customer).
While this will get you along the journey. It is helpful if you follow Rule 2 also, i.e. “Do what Google tells you to.” As part of Google’s webmaster guidelines they advise, i.e. “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content. Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.” They go on to say in relation to “quality content” “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.”
Your content needs to answer customers questions and be designed to help you convert more site visitors to buyers.. If you develop your content with the philosophy of helping and converting customers, you will overtime naturally attract more new visitors. This as opposed to designing your content to seduce and trick search engines which will likely end in tears and see you penalised.
If you adopt the content for the king approach; to understand whether your content passes muster, ask yourself these 10 questions about everything you produce.
- Does my content give customers everything they need to know to make an educated purchasing decision?
- Is the offer visually appealing and informative?
- Is the supporting imagery compelling, inspirational and memorable?
- Is the content deeper and more appealing and informative than my competitors?
- Does it clearly spell out my value proposition and what is in it for them?
- How appealing is it to them?
- Does the content provide a solution, create a desire or deliver a tangible benefit?
- Does it inspire trust in my brand?
- Does the copy use my customers terminology, and words they are likely to use?
The overriding single focus of every element of your content development should map back to your customers! How many times have you searched for a product or service, and can’t find enough information to make an informed decision. This is an opportunity!
Develop your content to give customers what they want!