Short on time? Here’s the Bottom Line!
This article covers a technique from the create phase of our three-phase online marketing method. Read this article if you want to know one of the best kept secrets on creating quality content QUICKLY on your web site or blog and how this can increase your search engine rankings and attract more local buyers in the process.
Content is king.
That’s the saying that I probably heard invoked more often than any other around the newsroom when I worked for one of the largest newspaper publishers in the world. It’s a pretty good mantra when your business IS CONTENT, as is the case for newspaper companies, broadcast T.V. or radio and other media.
But when it comes to making content for our own business, web site, or our blog, we often strike out before even reaching first base. Why is that? I’d argue that it’s because of an outdated assumption.
For starters, many people hold on to the old idea that creating good content requires talent, and most of us don’t think we have the talent in question. But hold on, let’s consider what makes content good and then I’ll reveal the best kept secret for quicklycreating great web site and blog content.
What is good content?
Most people think of good content as good writing, or if we’re thinking about movies and T.V. we think about great cinematography, dialog, or acting. Sure, all of these are aspects of quality. What the explosion of blog and user generated content has shown us is that relevant information, fresh and unbiased voices, even untrained voices, are often as good and even sometimes better, than their ‘expert’ counterparts. Someone may not be a good writer, but if they know far more than average about a news item or how to fix water damage, or what the best mobile phone is for $100, then people have shown through blogging that this expertise is more valuable than elegant prose or professional video programming.
It’s relevancy that makes for great marketing and relevancy that drives a great deal of how we value content. As someone who wants to connect with local buyers via the Internet, YOUR relevant content is your proximity to your local buyer and your expertise in solving their problem or meeting their needs. As long as you’ve got that – you’ve got what it takes to make good content. Oh, and one other thing that I’ve been meaning to get to.
So what is the best kept secret about creating content?
The secret is that ‘great’ content is already out there, and the web gives you the means to quickly leverage it. That’s right – you don’t have to start from scratch! Let’s say you realize that publishing a handy report or guide is a great way to educate your potential customer and establish that you’re an expert who can help them. Great idea! But when you sit down at your computer you quickly realize that you don’t even know where to start. Since people have already made these kinds of reports and guides before, what’s to stop you from finding three or four really good ones on the web and using them as a template for your own, re-writing the basic concepts and interjecting your own experience and knowledge in them along the way? Nothing – that’s what. We learned how to do this in high school (even elementary school). This is a model that can get you making good content quickly. In fact, the web has opened up so much new expert content to us that we’d be crazy to try and reinvent the wheel all the time (just stay away from plagiarism!).
A good friend of mine who recently left the corporate world to re-establish himself as a consultant in the recruiting field made this very point to me over coffee a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that he’s a very engaging writer, with a quick wit and informative style, he sat and asked me why he should bother to write tons of new content every week for his blog when there is already so much great content already. Why would he be so arrogant he asked me? Just by pointing his readers to other relevant content on the web and quickly interjecting his own two-cents he gets to be associated with that quality content while also doing his potential customer a big favor.
Blog or web site readers often rate the quality of a site by how good the links to other stories and content are. You’re providing a valuable service to your reader (and customer) but empowering them with this knowledge. You’ve saved them time and you’ve connected dots that you already connected yourself that make them smarter, faster. Bloggers have shown that linking to quality content creates goodwill and respect for you from your readers, even though you’re just acting as a guide. And as I wrote about recently about commenting on other blogs, this related tactic of linking to quality content often wins you thanks from fellow bloggers that often turn into reciprocal links that increase your blog traffic and search engine rankings. It’s a real win-win situation if I ever saw one.
Let’s bring this home
In summary, go looking on the web for what you feel is great content. Think about why it’s good content and how you can add your own experience to it. Write your new content in your own words using the quality content as your template. Quote and link to that content to give readers a flavor for what they’ll be getting if they click off your site. Put yourself in the position of acting as a guide and showing your customer information that will help them become better educated about your own product or service. By extending this helping hand you’ll earn the trust of your own web site reader, you’ll save tons of time on making your own content, and you’ll start receiving reciprocal links from other web sites and blogs that can increase your web visitors and your search engine rankings. You’ll help sell the value of your own business without having ever come close to ‘selling’ your client.
I’ve got one more secret to let you in on.
I’ve been blogging since 2003 and as you can tell, I’m not a professional writer and make plenty of mistakes to prove it. But as I progressed from personal blogging to professional blogging I found that just writing more made my writing better. No shocker right. Even so, after a while I got more help by soliciting feedback from others and researching methods of improving my own writing and blogging skills. If you’re still with me in this long article, my point about relevant content has been made. You must be someone who values this kind of information, otherwise you’d have tuned me out back in the first paragraph. Probably the best web site I’ve ever come across on copywriting is from a gentleman named Brian Clark who publishes what has now become a highly successful and popular blog called CopyBlogger. I read every article Brian publishes, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been reading Brian from very early on in his CopyBlogger days. Recently, Brian published Best of CopyBlogger in 2007 and I can’t think of a better place to learn how to create better copy content for your own business. I’ll leave you with this quote from Brian.
“Blogging and Copywriting: A Perfect Match Good blogging and good copy share many of the same attributes — plain spoken words designed to focus on the needs of the reader by using stories, education and a clear demonstration of benefit and value. In an overly-crowded marketplace, copywriting allows you to catch people’s attention, and smart blogging allows you to capitalize on that attention by building trust, sales and profits. It’s not about fancy writing and big words. It’s also not about being contrived or cheesy. And it’s absolutely not about inappropriate high pressure sales techniques that simply don’t work. So go ahead… subscribe today and join us for the fascinating opportunities that continue to develop with blogging and other online marketing strategies.” – Brian Clark, CopyBlogger