Most of the material on this blog is about improving the online reach of your company’s selling message. Or getting the message out in less time, or for less money, or higher conversion effectiveness.
Of equal importance to the distribution of the message, though is the message itself.
Herewith, some basics about online content…
Is Online Content Important For My Business?
If your customers are online when they do any part of their research or buying, YES.
If you have a national footprint, YES.
If you care about your position in the search engines, YES.
Content is anything you produce other than your product that your customers choose to spend time with, and tells them at least indirectly how your company can fix their problem.
Let’s break that definition down into three parts.
“anything you produce other than your product”
The most obvious example is a description of your product or service – which can be written and/or photographic and/or video. More examples include customer case studies; testimonials; FAQ; user forums; press releases (sometimes); the About Us page on your website; a newsletter; your company blog, your LinkedIn/Facebook page; etc.
“that your customers choose to spend time with”
This bit is here to indicate the context: a person is actively evaluating your product or service. They have a need, they are looking for a solution, and their mind is open. This is your sales and marketing opportunity.
“tells them at least indirectly how your company can fix their problem”
Here is where you convey your own differentiating selling message, conveying the truth about your products in an engaging and relevant way.
Another way to look at content is thus:
Forms and other response mechanisms
What's The Role Of Content In The Buying Process?
- Advertising attracts.
- Content answers questions, engages and educates.
- Systems qualify, move prospects (i.e. develop leads) , and measure.
- People close.
Two Types of Content
The content your marketers churn out is one of two kinds.
- The static, evergreen sort like brochures, FAQ, executive bios, and so on.
- Another sort, which I’ll call the “Steady Stream” of content. This is the rest: the engaging, the promotional, the conversation, and the personality. Steady Stream comprises blogs, bylined articles, PR, newsletter articles, photos, videos, tweets, Facebook page updates, and so on.
The time and money commitment for Steady Stream content is an order of magnitude greater than that for static content, but the upside is equally great.
So Why is Online Content Important?
First off, content is the best way you can develop your leads, without talking to a prospect. And it’s scalable. Content usually doesn't generate leads on its own. But better content helps revenue by improving your conversion to sale.
Second, content is the most important factor in search engine optimization. If you want a long-term high position in Google for high- and medium-traffic search terms, you need good content.
Third, the effectiveness of online content can be measured, and thus optimized through A/B testing.
Last, Not all companies produce online “steady stream” content effectively. (As compared to producing basic websites, business cards, voicemail etc.) Since your company’s peer group will have “haves” and “have-nots”, there is a competitive opportunity for the firm that creates online content consistently well.