Why Content Matters
Some businesses wonder if they can afford a web presence beyond their Services and Contact Details. However with more time spent online than ever before, it’s an opportunity that cannot be missed. This is a series on the basics of getting started, being found, creating content and building a brand.
In a previous post we talked about the challenges of just being found online. We also talked about how you can create a credible and attractive online presence. At the very least this lets Google know you exist and you’re open for business. And if you do it well - with great content - this reinforces your expertise for your existing clients as well as providing new clients with information and advice that assists them. In turn this potentially leads to new business for you.
What Google Does Next
What you fill your site with is a key factor in determining what Google does next. What search engines generally do is scour the internet for all the phrases that match your search term. It meant you could stack your site with them - relevant, attractive words for your potential audience which lend the appearance of credibility. However search engines, and Google in particular, have become more refined, more discerning, more sophisticated and what they're actually looking for is quality and not just quantity.
Search engines - especially Google - are looking for quality of writing, not just quantity of words
This may appear to make life harder for you. However it makes life better for your customers and therefore more beneficial for you in the long run. Your motive may be to generate more traffic to your site and to ensure Google is always returning your business to the top of its latest pile of search results. However investing in good content for your website provides resources for you and your client that can solve problems for them - whatever industry you’re in - as well as help you to better define what matters to you.
Everything is Copy
Let me take a moment to define what I mean by content.
Your site will include factual information about the company and your staff. That’s content.
It’ll also include descriptive information about your products or services. Ideally this would be intentionally persuasive, to engage potential customers, in order to convert their visit to the site into sales. There’s a clear call to action in it. That’s what copywriters get paid for. That’s content.
And then there’s the sort of content that exists to engage with your customers, to demonstrate your expertise, and reinforce your brand - because Your Brand Is Your Business. This type of content might be in written format, video or audio, and that’s something which you would give away to customers.
Give away to my customers!?
That’s what we call content-marketing. And these days, copywriters can help you with that too. Think of this creative content as a taster or a free trial. It’s your opportunity to engage with and gain the trust of a potential new customer or client, so that they want to investigate further. It’s an opportunity to explain to your audience why what you do matters. It creates a sense of added value which your competitors may not be as good at. Good content also builds credibility and authority around your business, which is exactly what Google - as well as your new customers - are looking for.
First Impressions Matter
So, imagine there are customers in the door of your virtual workplace, what are you offering them, what’s their experience of your business, your brand? What might they find out about you, learn, or receive from you before they get to what you’d really like to offer them, which are your products and services?
If your website is the storefront, your shop window - then content is the fittings, the soft furnishings, the surroundings - the interior that puts your customer at ease, communicates your values and let’s them know if you are likely to be a good fit for them and possibly their business. What’s their first impression of you once they taste that content - Trustworthy? Authentic? Authoritative? Fun? Or dull, out of date, out of touch, out of their budget?
What that content is and how you present that content matters. And that’s why companies engage or employ people like me.
Bad content tells potential new clients that you don’t care. Good content tells new clients that you know what you’re talking about and why you’re worth listening to.
Beyond that there is of course a whole arena of social media platforms on which to share your content. This can be done in the most crude and self-promoting ways, and somewhat successfully. However social media - from professional networks such as LinkedIn to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - can not only be useful and appropriate depending on your potential customer, but vital for reaching and engaging with those customers.
Great Content Contributes
Great content is original and provided solely for your customers benefit. But what benefits your customer, benefits you. It's about producing relevant material without self-promotion but with the intention of meeting a need, whether that’s informative, engaging, or even funny. It's convincing, assuring, and reliable.
We might imagine that the internet is already full of content. And we'd be right. In part. However great content is original and it contributes something. And if you believe in your products or services, your pleasure or industry, you'll want to contribute something of value too.
Great content is original and provided solely for your customers benefit. But what benefits your customer, benefits you.
So if you can, write good content like that. Take the time, invest in a good website and create the content that goes with it. But if - despite being convinced of its value - you’re rubbing your head thinking, I don’t have the time to generate the kind of content you’re talking about, get a copywriter. Find someone who’ll take the time to get to know you and your business, who cares about what you do and why, and give them the job. After all if you’ve got this far, I’ve convinced you of at least one thing: I can write content that matters.