How Online Content Can Enhance your Company Branding
By: Ann Handley
Your web site doesn’t get much traffic, yet it’s key to your business’s visibility on the web. How can you retool your web presence to improve both your search engine rankings and up your engagement with your would-be clients? You need a content strategy. In this multi-part series, content expert Ann Handley explains how to rethink your site content to make it more engaging to enhance your small business marketing and social media strategy. This article is excerpted, in part, from her book, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley, 2011).
Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms are giving organizations like yours an enormous opportunity to engage directly with your customers or would-be customers. That’s a lucky thing, because instead of creating awareness about your company or your brand solely the old-school way you now have an unprecedented and enormous opportunity.
Thanks to the advent of the Internet and, more specifically, the rise of web-based tools and technologies, you can create online content — blog posts, videos, webinars, and web sites — that will attract customers to you, so you won’t have to chase after them. What’s more, you can entice your customers to share that content with each other, all across the Web.
Produce great online content and your customers will come to you. Produce really great stuff, and your customers will share and disseminate your message for you. More than ever before, content is king! Content rules!
Content is King, so Make it the Rule
Of course, content may rule, but your online content must be the right sort of content: Customer-focused. Authentic. Compelling. Entertaining. Surprising. Valuable. Interesting. In other words, you must earn the attention of people.
That sounds like work, doesn’t it? It is. It’s work to create and publish compelling content.
But here’s a fundamental “Content Rule” to follow: Share or solve; don’t shill.
Be sure your content shares a resource, solves a problem, helps your customers do their jobs better, improves their lives, or makes them smarter, wittier, better-looking, taller, better-networked, cooler, more enlightened, and with better backhands and cuter kids. In short, your content should be of high value to your customers, in whatever way resonates best with them.
Good content creates value by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of vendor-agnostic information.
Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and the co-author with C.C. Chapman of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley, 2011).