Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fundamental Concepts of Content Strategy

You hear this phrase, "Content is King", along with "Build It & They Will Come", which means approximately the same thing. 

No. They will not come. Content must meet certain criteria and be promoted effectively. Tons of "great content" sits in abandoned websites that nobody cares about.

Content is a slave to user needs -- and you'll find that out soon enough. If content struts around in kingly robes, the court jester will be laughing his you-know-what off. Consider what makes content appeal to users and makes them want to share it with their friends.

There are specific requirements that content must adhere to in order to be perceived as valuable, interesting, and worth sharing with others.

You can have the greatest content in the world, and get nowhere. Content must be developed with a target audience in mind, an audience that you really care about and understand. Just cranking out content is not going to make your blog or website successful.

Often "great content" means material the author or originator cares about, but nobody else does. You see that often in self-indulgent personal trivia blogs. Or corporate websites that go on and on about how great they are, but don't address the needs of customers.

Online content needs a strategy. Without an intelligent understanding of the goals and parameters of content, your marketing will fall flat and not do the job it was meant to do.

Web content development begins with identifying what you have that helps customers solve a problem or enhance a lifestyle. 

How do customers use your products? What do actual customers say about your product? What are the problems they're trying to solve? How is your product better than the competition? What makes your company special, in terms that relate to user satisfaction and repeat purchases?

Grinding out content for self-congratulatory aims may be okay for a personal blogger who just wants to document their life activities and things they like, but it's not the key to business success. You must study carefully customer reality and what customers place a value on -- rather than droning on and on about how great you are and how much you love your own products.

Is your content relevant to customers? Prove it.

Is your content credible? What makes it so?

Is your content usable? Test it with typical users.

Is your content readable? No light gray text on white backgrounds!

Is your content interactive? How do customers respond to it?

Is your content truthful? Trust is hard to achieve and easy to lose.

Is your content entertaining or informative? Boring content is shunned.

Is your content presented with good design? Bad presentation kills good content.

Keep these factors in mind when posting material to social networks, websites, and blogs.

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