Content Content Content Content Content. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you’ll know that we are big, big fans of content but why is content so important?
First, What is content anyway?
First we have to look at what content actually is. This may be reductive, but your content is the contents of your site. It’s as simple as that. Your content is anything on your site that isn’t the site itself, anything that isn’t the design, the buttons, the elements or the code. This is why web design projects that don’t factor in content from the start are doomed to fail spectacularly – you are basically producing a book that you hope will sell but instead of focusing on the words inside your spend all your time on the cover of the book and how its looks on the shelf, hoping that will be enough to entice buyers.
Content can be anything that is communicated and provides value and isn’t just decoration – blog posts, articles, video, podcasts, downloadable white papers, email auto responders or even apps. Your content should be as designed as any other part of your site, it should be thought of strategically, as a resource and a means to a particular end. You should have clear goals for what your content will enable for you and the people who consume it.
Content truly is King.
Why Does it matter?
In the end, as a business everything you do one of two things.
- Help you get more customers and clients so you can pay your bills.
- Build value in the company so that it will eventually be sellable and have its own intrinsic value
Content helps us do both of these.
Generating new, and retaining old, clients.
Content is the engine on which you build engagement and raport with your prospects
Builds trust and lowers risk
In a world of increasing commoditisation and increasing globalisation, where the price of services are being driven lower and lower by competition from the developing world; how do we stay competitive as consultants and service providers? We can’t compete on price, it’s very easy to have many jobs done on freelance platforms like oDesk and PeoplePerHour for a fraction of what you charge.
The big secret is, people don’t buy on just price – they buy on risk.
By using content to demonstrate what you know and how you’ve applied it before, to solve a similar problem that your prospect has, you can demonstrably lower the risk of working with you over other businesses. Helping you win more deals with higher prices. You have helped your prospect trust you and hence, they like you, people want to work with people they like.
You can do more than just demonstrate what you know and how you’ve applied it. You can, and should, actively help your prospects with problems in their businesses by proactive blogging and article writing. Provide value that builds trust rather than just shows off what you’ve done.
Speeds up your sales process
Sales conversations can be difficult, great content can help here as well.
The sales process (generally) has many stages that a prospect has to go through (incoming lead, qualification, proposal, overcoming objections and closure). Most of these stages involve conversations with your prospect and that can’t be avoided, but it can be sped up. Conversations are inefficient as they are usually one to one or at least between you and a specific client team. Producing content that answers the commonly asked questions you get during the process means you can direct people to these resources in a repeatable fashion, saving you time during the sales and on-boarding process.
Finally, Content will also help you get found. Content, done correctly, doesn’t disappear when you change your web design or your marketing agency, it is an evergreen resource that is always there, always answering questions, always providing value and always accessible by Google and the other search engines.
Consistently adding content that provides value to your site helps you look good from a search engine’s perspective so they are going to rank you higher than someone who doesn’t. Having more (good) content also means you can answer more questions and provide value, giving you more opportunity to be found in the first place.
A steady stream of new content to promote helps you get found on social media as well. Great content will be shared naturally around the network. Great content provides value. Valuable content will be shared. Shared content builds an audience and an audience becomes more traffic and clients.
More traffic, more conversions, more customers, more money. Simple.
Content is an Asset that adds value.
Content is not limited to one use
Web site content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it can and should be used across as many mediums as is appropriate. Many find that repackaging blog content into email marketing campaigns to be very effective. Basecamp/37Signals have famously repurposed many of their blog posts into successful books. Many podcasts get a second life as articles or transcripts adding more value again.
Your content doesn’t need to be locked up in one silo or location – you can stretch your budget further, have a more consistent band and a unified message by reusing your content assets across as many mediums as you can.
Content is an asset
Content that generate sales, improve processes or builds your brand is important and can be considered as part of your asset sheet. The value of a business isn’t just limited to what profit it makes but also what assets those businesses possess.
Those assets can be physical objects, but they can also be intellectual property or processes.
Content, done well, is an asset that adds value. It can be part of your process that bring consistent profitability, improves efficiency or helps build your profile in the world.
Content is essential. If you miss it from your website and your marketing strategy then you’ve completely missed the point. What do you think makes great content? What do you want to share with your audience and why? Let us know in the comments below!