If you’ve done any measure of online marketing within the past five years, then you have definitely heard the phrase “content is king.” This is still definitely a true statement.
However, there is a great deal of detail that goes into generating the kind of content that drives the modern consumer in today’s business environment.
The current generation of prospects have more choice than ever.
They do not have to put up with anything they do not like, even from established brands online. This means that your content has to follow a certain standard if it is to be noticed in a positive way.
The type of content that works for different industries is, of course, different. However, all content that works shares a number of characteristics that are very easy to see when put under a microscope.
Here are some of the most important characteristics that you should follow when you are creating or outsourcing your online content.
Your Content Must be Extremely Localized
This tip is especially important for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have regional, national or international brand reach just yet.
However, it is also important for enterprise-level companies. There is no such thing as “wide net marketing” anymore.
This kind of marketing is shunned by the major search engines. It is also ignored by the vast majority of human prospects who are on the Internet.
These people are not looking for generic messages that are targeted at no one in particular.
They are trying to find things that solve their immediate needs in real time. Anything else will be ignored and swept to the side very quickly.
In order to counter this, all of your content should be localized to the people who are most likely to need your products and services right then and there. There is no such thing as marketing for the future. People are absolutely bombarded by marketing messages these days.
This is especially true if they are on their mobile devices. When they are in this state, they are much more likely to make a purchase off of viewing content that they deem relevant. However, that content must be ultra-relevant.
Part of this relevance is that your storefront, within walking distance or your online e-commerce store, should be immediately able to handle a purchase.
Secondly, Your Content Must be Relevant
Building off of the last point, your content must be incredibly relevant to the audience that you are trying to serve. There is no such thing as generic content anymore.
You are either answering a question that your audience has, or you are presenting something new that adds value to the lives of your audience immediately.
There is no middle ground here. You are either doing one or the other, and if you are not, then your content will likely be completely ignored by your target market.
Relevance also has to do with timeliness as well.
You may be on the cutting edge of your industry, but if you do not communicate to your audience that you understand exactly where the industry is at any given time, they will simply look to someone else.
Your competitors are definitely generating content as fast as possible about any new innovations or disruptions within your industry.
You need to have a perspective on these things, and you need to roll that content out as soon as possible so that you will be considered one of the relevant voices in your industry.
Your Content Must be Timely
Content on the Internet moves at lightning speed. The new cycle is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People are used to seeing the latest and greatest thing immediately once it occurs.
In some industries, this timeliness can mean the difference between success and failure in a certain endeavor.
For instance, if you are in the finance industry, you should generate timely content on the stocks that your prospects are most likely to buy.
If you cannot generate this content, then it is likely that your prospects will miss a buy or a cell point that they should have had. This means lost money.
If people are losing money because of your content, then why would they stay for your next piece of content?
Timeliness is very important in industries outside of finance as well.
For instance, the trucking industry requires timeliness as well. If you have a client that is trying to coordinate trucks for a festival or other event that is taking place at a certain time and date, then you need information to move very quickly.
The weather, the price of supplies, and current events all play into the success or the failure of the festival.
If your content is not timely, then everyone loses out on the event that pays them all in the end. This is professionally unacceptable.
Your Content Must be in a Format that Your Target Audience can Easily Digest
Video is now the number one form of content on the Internet, but that does not mean that it is necessarily the type of content that you should be presenting to your audience.
You may be targeting an older audience that still likes to read. Videos are more centered towards Millennials and younger people.
The important thing is that you know exactly what your audience wants to see and hear.
If you do not know this, then you will deliver content to them that they will not be able to translate into solutions. If they cannot find solutions from your content, then you cannot expect any sort of results from it.
You have many forms of content that you can choose from.
You can write articles for your own blog or for other people’s blogs that are in your industry. You can create content in the form of a podcast, which is another name for a long form audio recording.
You can also use video. Of course video has an audio aspect in most cases, although not always.
Do not think that you have to follow the marketplace in general when it comes to the format of your content. You may be able to find other ways to engage the audience that you are actually targeting.
Your Content Must be Aimed at a Particular Audience
There are many ways to segment the audience that moves across the Internet. As mentioned before, geography is one of those ways.
You definitely need to localize your content so that you are reaching the people who were most likely to purchase from you first.
However, there are other demographics and psycho-graphics that you should consider as well.
The more that you can segment your audience, the better you will probably do. Not only will your human visitors enjoy the fact that they are being targeted, but you will also gain trustworthiness within the major search engines.
Personalization is a relatively simple concept when it comes to human visitors to your website or other areas where you are posting your content.
People like to be catered to. This is not a difficult concept. However, you may not understand how the major search engines work with personalized content.
Google and the rest of the search engines on the Internet work on the same concept that human visitors use to determine relevance, timeliness and other aspects of good content.
When you get people watching your content, coming back in loyal groups, and continually growing your web traffic, the major search engines take notice. They will create more visibility for you in organic listings.
This is the beginning of a positive whirlwind that will take your click throughs up.
Once people are clicking through to see your content from the major search engines, you can expect a great deal more results as well. People tend to trust content that they see in a ubiquitous fashion.
This simply means that the more you are out there in a positive way, the better your content will do overall.
Finally, Your Content Must be Consistent
The only way to get the major search engines on your side is to create a dynamic website. Dynamic simply means that your website is changing continuously.
What is the easiest way to change your website continuously without looking like you are hurting your brand or being obnoxious to your human visitors?
The easiest ways to create timely, relevant, localized content and creating it as new events happen in your industry.
Keep in mind that you do not have to generate completely original content in order for your content to be consistent. Many websites take on syndicated content from other places on the Internet.
However, you definitely need to make sure that this syndicated content passes all the tests that you would put any original content through. It should definitely apply to your target market. They should have this content in a timely manner.
They need to understand that you are coming from a position of expertise as well.
Basically, any syndicated content that you use must pass muster with all of the tips above. If it does not, then it is only hurting you.
Just because you have a dynamic website does not mean that you are getting great attention unless that dynamic website is also a quality website.
The tips above will definitely get you started on the right foot when it comes to your online content.
Content will only become more important as time goes on.
As more and more content finds its way to the Internet, the quality of your content will also make the difference between success and failure in your business.
Do not try to overdo things without making sure that you have quality control in place. If you set great habits now, then you are definitely likely to build and retain your audience in the future.
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Updated: Originally published April 15th 2018