Wait a minute! This blog is about the power of content and its ability to persuade. Am I saying that content is no longer King? To that I say both yes and no.
Yes, content is King and publishing it is the most persuasive tool a marketer has. But publishing content is not the end goal, but a means to an end. Content that educates or entertains can attract an opted in audience of potential customers, every marketers dream.
No, content is no longer King: many failing traditional publishers are loosing business thinking their end game is content distribution. A recent article in Time magazine documented how traditional content companies are being devalued:
“Content is rapidly being devalued. The first people to press that case are accountants. They have insisted that companies from News Corporation (NWS) to The New York Times (NYT) to Time Warner (TWX) to CBS (CBS) write-down tens of billions of dollars in assets. Cablevision (CVC) bought the large daily newspaper Newsday less than a year ago. Its accountants reduced the value of that property by 70%. That was not simply the value of the Newsday building. What they were saying is that the income from the property has been impaired, probably permanently.”
Don't fall into this trap. It is not enough just to create and distribute content as an end goal. Content has a new function on the web. Ben Elowitz, writing in PaidContent, advocates four qualities that make web content effective. What Elowitz describes is content on a mission. Once released this new breed of content travels the Web and builds an audience in its wake:
"Relevance. When users are skimming thousands of pages from a hundred sites per month, without question the most important factor is whether your content is relevant to the audience.
Make experiences, not content. In old media, the editors made the content and that was the product. Not any more. Technology and content today are fused like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese’s, and together they go by the name of “experience.”
P.O.V. information is proprietary for a few minutes, and then – if it’s valuable – it spreads like a cold in a grade-school. While a minority of publishers build a business around sourcing proprietary information, the vast majority offer something far more valuable and ownable: perspective. In digital media, that is far more important, as the same information appears in hundreds of places. The Huffington Post has a paucity of proprietary reporting, and yet earned an audience of 23 million monthly U.S. users by offering points of view that are meaningful to its progressive audience, while ABC (NYSE: DIS) News has tons of original reporting but less than half the online viewers
Distribution. In the old days, content was assigned and written to appear in one place. Now, it appears everywhere—in blogs, in Facebook, in Twitter, and in search engines. This distribution ability is built-in to the content itself. The words in the writing determine whether it will show up at the top of Google or on page 10. The names you drop in the content determine whose vanity Google Alerts will be set off, beginning a chain reaction of tweet and retweet. And the style and hook of the content and its headlines will determine its virility. Content that has no destination draw, no pass-along, and no search indexability is plain and simple dead-end content. And like a tree falling in the forest, even the most beautiful content is irrelevant if it’s unseen or unheard."
On the web, content is the ultimate audience building tool. If you can assemble an audience of your customers or potential customers, you have a the ultimate marketing opportunity. Content is still King, but audience is Ace.
Read Ben Elowitz's excellent PaidContent article
Read the Time article Content, Once King, Becomes A Pauper
Here is an aticle that ran this morning:
Josh Gordon Group Conducting Sports Video Production Survey
By: Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director
Friday, June 14, 2013 - 9:03 am
The Josh Gordon Group Research has announced the launch of its first Sports Video Production Survey, which has been designed to help all members of the sports production community better understand the tech trends and challenges they face every day. The study will identify trends, including the introduction of 4K production technology, as well as address real industry issues such as “what slows down the setup of a location truck production?”
Leading SVG broadcast, mobile and league members were interviewed in the design of the survey questionnaire. The study, which is strictly educational, has been underwritten by Miranda. A summary of findings will be available to anyone completing the survey which contains no marketing questions, and no mention of manufacturers or supplier products.
“This is a critical time to conduct a study on sports video production because of the pivotal role sports programming will play in the future of television, “ says Gordon, “Because sports is one of the last forms of television consumed almost exclusively in real time, advertisers place a premium on it. While national sports programming accounts for only about 1.3% of all TV programming, according to AC Nielsen, in 2012 it accounted for 23% of national TV ad spend. Considering the economic impact it can have, how we produce that programing becomes very important.”
Please contribute to this survey by clicking on this link.
Read the story on the Sport Vidoe Group webite at THIS link
In the sales trade, a salesperson who “shows up and throws up” pushes his agenda at customers with no concern for their needs or pain points. His canned presentation is only about his products and bores customers to tears.
Better salespeople realize that selling is about motivating customers, which rarely happens by just dumping product information on them. These salespeople work to understand the customer’s point of view and to put their product into the context of their customers world. Before talking product they might ask questions to find out...
• What are the problems or pain points unique to the customer?
• How does this customer fit into his or her competitive market?
• Are there technical, regulatory, or financial trends that will affect their needs?
• Which applications or best practices might affect this company's purchasing decisions?
Better salespeople focus on solving customer problems first, product information follows. They collect information and advice helpful to the customer not just with a purchase, but in using the product successfully.
Now, let’s get back to your website. Which of these two approaches describe the content on it? Is your content just about your company and products, or do you also have information helpful to solving customer problems?
Today, with 70% of the customer product evaluation occurring online, before company salespeople are contacted, simply showing your products is not enough. Smart companies are using their websites as the core part of a digital salesforce. The content on a website does more that show product information, it starts to sell the products as well.
There are two kinds of content needed:
First, problem solving content to draw potential customers to the site. This content:
• Helps customers feel like you are committed to their success. Don’t you think this is more meaningful than just telling your customers how committed you are?
• Motivate registration (for a newsletter or webinar etc.) and capture early stage sales leads.
• Helps customers become familiar with your website before they make a purchase. Wouldn’t it be better if they were familiar with your website before they head into their next product purchase?
In a recent blog post, Junta 42 founder Joe Pulizzi shared a great example of this this on the Monster.com website. Pulizzi noted that the needs of Monster's customers, as they look for jobs in the recession, were addressed directly on the site:
"Let's take a look at challenges faced by those people looking for or trying to keep their job:
What jobs will be readily available with the passage of the stimulus bill?
If I'm downsized, what do I need to do now to protect my career?
How much am I worth in a downturn?
How do I protect my job in a tough economy?
Can I still get a raise in a recession?
Those five questions that employees are struggling with are actually the first five articles on the Monster.com site."
Sure, Monster.com provides a job search service, but the content on the site does not hype their service, instead it services the customers.
Second a site should demonstrate the unique value of the products. Today's web savvy buyers use early website visits to narrow down a list of potential buyers to a short list. The content on your website needs to fight for your products to be on that short list.
What content is on your website? Hopefully, a balance of product and company information, combined with content that helps your customers solve problems and understand the unique value your products offer. If the content is just all about your products they may not make to the short list.
As you redesign your website it is important to focus on products but also include information that motivate potential customers to buy them from you and not elsewhere.
Read about our content development services
Someone at Google is mad. Clearly they are tired of being gamed. Their job is to find and prioritize the best content on the web for their users. Their job is NOT to find, and prioritize the best optimized content for users. Google wins when it delivers the best content.
But it is no secret that OK content deployed with sophisticated SEO tactics can get higher Google rankings than better content without them. Google is out to change this. Last year the Panda series of algorithm changes lowered the rankings of websites that aggressively repurposed content or utilized content farms to win higher ratings.
This year, Google is at it again, this time introducing the Penguin algorithm adjustments which will lower the rankings of sites using so called “black hat” or aggressive SEO techniques.
Google’s "webmaster central blog" explains:
"In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don't benefit users, or the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a greater user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the 'good guys' making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded."
Google still welcomes basic SEO techniques like posting key words, but websites that use agressive techniques may find their rankings reduced. It's tough to outsmart Google. But the sure fire way to keep on Google's best side is to simply spend less on advanced SEO techniques and more on content. That will keep Google and the penguins happy.
Read the post on the official Google Webmaster Central blog
Download our study which covers which marketing content is most persuasive