Content Marketing vs. Marketing Content — How to get more online attention

If you own or market a business service or product today, welcome to my world: in addition to your core business, you, too, are now in the “web content” biz. You need to consistently post good content on your website because offering product or service information is good for a one-time Google search, but it won’t build client loyalty. For that, you need repeat visitors. To get repeat traffic, you need to generate content that is useful to your reader.

Here are some hints to help you get the best return on investment of time and money, and to find the intersection of online marketing and sales.

First and foremost, focus articles on the customer’s needs, not your need for customers. How can your company help a client better run their own businesses? Think tips, trends, breaking industry news, or a special offer.

Let’s focus on the first two options – tips and trends:

1. Does the article you want to post give genuine advice or information? Is it compelling and well written? You have 10 seconds to grab attention and 55 seconds (total) to develop an understanding of your company. Is it informative enough to motivate readers to print or share it? Avoid “IBU” allure: Interesting But Useless content.
2. Does the story feel like a real person wrote it? And does the writer have or cite the proper credentials to offer advice? Stanford University research reveals that web credibility is a critical differentiating factor with web readers; in fact, it is so important that SU posted a 10-step guide for boosting web site credibility.
3. Is it short? People read 25% slower on the web, which is why web content should be 50% shorter than copy written for print.
4. If the company owner absolutely insists (wrongly so) that you directly reference your products, do it as a solution to a real problem and refer to it more by type or category than brand name. This is hard for marketers taught to maximize (versus minimize) a logo. Instead, sell a concept; if your reader buys the concept, they will more highly regard your brand and so navigate to your product offering — where they actually want and expect to see the more traditional sales copy.

According to B2B Content Marketing research, the biggest content marketing challenges are: producing engaging content (36%); producing enough content (21%); budget to produce content (20%); lack of C-level buy in (11%); and producing a variety of content (9%). [Three percent of respondents couldn’t identify the greatest challenge of all that they faced.] Creating content that people want to read takes real commitment and, oftentimes, professional expertise.

After posting, review web statistics to learn how people found your content. Using Google Analytics or a similar product, use any trend you see to better identify reader interest — then write more articles toward those search phrases!

Next week, we’re turning back to the topic of business management and how to recognize if (gasp) the boss is the problem….

About Jody Glynn Patrick

Jody is President of Glynn Patrick & Associates, which provides management consulting, executive coaching and strategic planning services. She is Publisher Emeritus of In Business magazine, which she published for 17 years. Selected as the “U.S. Business Journalist of the Year” in 2007 in Washington, DC, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Jody has been a business reporter, editor, radio talk show host , and has won other state and national journalism awards. At the same time, she has helped corporate clients grow their businesses -- the basis for her practical coaching advice here. She also was the 2005 Athena Award recipient for her leadership role in mentoring other professional women. Jody will be talking with you weekly on TDS’ blog to share her insights and tips from the C-Suite perspective. Follow on G+.

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