Archive for category Web Content
What are you talking about on your blog? If it’s yourself, you’re probably not getting readers. You don’t want to be the guy at the party whose stories about himself only pause when he has time to stuff an hors d’ouevres in his mouth and continue with “and then I….”
When marketers say the 20 year or so old refrain Content is King, what they mean is the stuff you put on your Web site needs to be interesting to your readers, not just you. Your blog is not a mouthpiece for your sales department. It is a virtual conversation that provides something valuable to customers and partners and whomever else you are trying to get to read it. It’s educational, entertaining, and probably informal. The more natural a voice you adopt for your blog, the better. Have fun with it. Your blog is your creative arm. It’s where you connect with people who are like you, who would enjoy your product and the subculture that surrounds it the same way you do.
How to come up with ideas to write about:
Go to places where your customers hang out, in person or digitally, and see what they talk about. What else do they like? What can you tie back into the values of your product? Educate them on how to use your product. Provide profiles and links on people who are doing interesting things with the type of product or service you provide, though not necessarily customers all the time, since that all comes back to being completely about you. There’s nothing wrong with telling a story or two about yourself. Just don’t abuse it. Have other stuff there.
Pay Attention to Subcultures
I read blogs because of the interesting stories they tell about subjects I follow. And I’ll check out a book or product a blogger is promoting because I trust her, because she writes about other subjects that interest me.
I’ll buy a beauty product from a company if it is a natural product company that writes articles about growing organic herbs and aromatherapy, what collagen actually does for the skin, and how bee farming is humane and generates all sorts of useful ingredients, such as beeswax, which are used in products like theirs. A blog like this is not designed to push a product, though it informs me about aspects of the product and reminds me of the natural organic subculture that I have unofficially joined through my interests.
Build (and Join) Community
As a side note, I really really love that company if it also sponsors events with recyclers, crafters, and craft brewers in the local organic community and writes about the festivals it supports, since that fits in with my subculture and helps me connect to their idea of community and my own even better. But events are a whole other ball of beeswax. Though they help immensely with figuring out what to write about.
One way to tap into this community-building and be a local participant is to begin using Twitter to find others like yourself. Put your interests or your business summary in your profile – as well as a link to your Web site. Seek out and follow others by typing the words you used to describe yourself into the search bar in Twitter. People will find you and begin to follow you. Thank them for following you. Comment or reply to others in the industry who put tweets up you enjoy, or people who enjoy the same things you do. It builds on itself until you have a great group of folks who are engaged with your interests, and you can all share ideas – sometimes they are your direct customers telling you what they want, or showing you what they are reading (through the links they put up on their feeds), which is valuable information to have.
Use any or all of these methods to find ideas to write about and good content to link to on your blog. It’s not just about search engine optimization (SEO) or converting sales. You’re relationship building, and you do this through community – and through providing information people care about. Educate. Entertain. Inform. “Convert” comes later.
The “SEO” buzzword still dominates content discussions, and it’s still important. But as marketer Adrienne Waldo points out in Finally: Search Is Starting to Reward Creativity Over Shady Tactics on AdAge (http://bit.ly/pGUu38), marketers, writers, and creatives of all other varieties used to bemoan the issue of trying to write and create content authentically while packing in keywords. We couldn’t compete with those hacks out there using black hat techniques and generally manipulating the system.
The game has changed. Google’s 2011 Panda update is the beginning of something beautiful: A world of real and relevant content. Well, maybe that’s reaching. But this new frontier at least provides a blank screen to start from for those of us actually focused on engaging content. And that’s all we ever wanted.
So get back to quality over quantity in the links and trackbacks. Add some white papers and video to your site because they’re educational and fun for your readers. And get back to being creative. Because even though creativity always mattered, now it’s relevant.
In a fascinating article entitled “Does Your Brand Have a Lame Personality?” on Talent Zoo, Tommy Walker starts out seemingly contradicting some of the basic tenets of branding that I have posted here on Royal Pain. Shocked and dismayed, I read the article voraciously, trying to discern if there was some new idea in branding that I hadn’t seen coming. Has the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) been replaced with a multifaceted personality that works with different audiences in different ways? Maybe. But by the end of the article, I breathed a sigh of relief, for my foundation had not been rattled. Emboldened definitely, but not shaken.
I am intrigued by the concept Walker raised of being a “living, breathing” brand, just as a person has many aspects to his or her personality. He asks, “[D]o all of your friends like you for the same reason?” It is worth pondering how the many faces of Eve can happily coexist in a brand that still manages to define itself. And finding the answer to this puzzle as well as why those friends do actually like you is where the 007 bit comes in.
But before we get to that: the UVP. I’m not quite ready to do away with it. I still think that you should choose a genre and customer personality that best fits you and commit to something, because the worst kind of person is the chameleon who puts on a different show with everyone he meets.
However, if you take Walker’s meaning as a nod to the way we present ourselves a little differently at home than at work, or the way we might love to attend the indie crafts market and show off our tattoos, but we also have a hard-driving business side that feels equally comfortable in a good suit… Read the rest of this entry »