Why is Content King?

The saying going around the web is ‘Content is king’. But why? Content is nice for SEO, but is only one part of the puzzle – without quality links, a proper site design, and other tools, your great content will go unnoticed.

Think about this, though – imagine you had a one on one meeting with your most important prospect. What would you say? What would you offer? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have that kind of face time? Here’s the reality – you do. Through your content.

Great content is hard work, which is why less honorable marketers try to find a way around it. You may be able to get a Google PageRank of 1 (at least temporarily) through black-hat or questionable methods. But without good content, it won’t matter. It’s like getting in the door of your best prospect but having nothing to show them. Content isn’t just about rank. In fact, its primary purpose is completely different – the primary purpose of all content is to engage your prospects and customers.

When you think about your content from that angle, it becomes a lot more important! Think about how much time you spend on pitches and proposals to prospects. Do you put that effort into your online content? Why not? You would never expect to land a big account through a shoddy presentation that was done on ‘spare time’. Today, your prospect is searching for solutions online. Your content won’t land that account if it’s shoddy and rushed either.

You owe it to yourself and your business to take online content seriously and to produce it professionally. Perhaps you don’t have the time, or you can’t dedicate the resources to having a full-time content manager on staff. That’s alright – there are freelancers who are well qualified, excellent writers and marketers. You can hire someone by project, or consider having a freelancer that you love on a monthly retainer. Either way, you get professional, focused work for far less cost.

Content is king because as the world moves more and more into virtual search and sales, your content is the big pitch, the big sales presentation. If your content is not focused, professional, and effective, you’ll lose the sale to your competitor. Investing in your online content is the best thing you can do to continue your company’s growth. It’s your sales presentation – how do you want it to look?

Anna Brown

 

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

 

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Accounting For Twitter Churn in Your Content Strategy

Twitter recently released a paper detailing the very high frequency of changes in their top search queries and terms (churn). Typically, these trending topics follow high profile news events or current popular conversation. Surprisingly, Twitter found that almost 20 percent of the top search queries in a given hour won’t be on top in the next hour. How can a Twitter content strategy account for this churn?

1. Post frequently. Like any highly active forum, it’s easy to fall to the bottom. Post frequently using your key terms and content will keep you in the forefront of the conversation you are creating. With trending terms changing so often, don’t try to follow the crowd – maintain your own voice and create a discussion that’s relevant to your followers and potential clients.
         Caveat: Don’t post the same tweet every two hours. Be creative and remember you are in a conversation – engage users in different ways about your chosen topic. 


2. Understand that metrics will be hard to capture. Twitter ROI is probably the hardest of any platform, because the community is so fluid and interaction and engagement changes so often. It’s hard to capture the financial impact of building community in any case, and it’s especially difficult when measurable term frequencies and ranks change so often. If you see Twitter as part of your overall social media engagement strategy, it will be easier to relax and let the relationships happen naturally.


3. Make your Twitter conversation easy to follow. Remember that the key to being on Twitter is not to be the most popular this minute, it’s to be the most relevant over time to your followers. Using consistent terminology and #hashtags is key to this strategy. You want your potential clients to find you because they were searching for the relevant terms to your business, not the top query of the hour. Make your conversation cohesive and consistent with your product and the voice you are projecting for your company. That way, Twitter users who find your tweets will be the ones who are excited to read them.

4. Comment (sparingly) on trending topics. So far this article has been about maintaining your own voice among the constantly changing trends on Twitter. However, there are times when something truly momentous happens, and of course it will trend on Twitter. Natural disasters, the death of key business or political figures, and other major happenings can and should be part of your Twitter stream. It’s important to show compassion and that you are aware of the world around you, rather than just pushing your products and services. Again, this is not a race to the top of a trend – it’s simply an honest tweet or two about a major event that affects the lives of those around you.

How does your company handle the rapid changes in trends and terms on Twitter? Let me know in the comments! 

Anna Brown

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

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Slapped By Penguin – What Now?

Google seems to like the animal theme – after Panda, we get Penguin as the new, sweeping update to the search algorithm. Not that they are done with Panda yet either – combining their love of animals with a love of numbered updates, Google released Panda 3.6 on April 27th.

As with all large-scale Google updates, the search world is up in arms. Claims of ruination echo through forums across the web. Examples of spam sites still ranking on Page 1 are trotted out as proof that the update is a failure. Internet marketers around the world are scrambling to understand the new algorithm and target their sites accordingly.

As a content provider, I have to admit that I am a bit mystified by all the hand-wringing. It seems clear to me that there is one simple way to avoid being penalized by Google:

CREATE CONSISTENT GREAT CONTENT.

It takes work. Yes, it takes effort and creativity to stay up to date on your industry and consistently produce informative content. However, it takes a lot less work than trying to ‘trick’ Google into ranking lazy pages on Page 1. Think about how much sleep you lose at night wondering if there will be a new update and how it will effect your rank. Now think about how well you’d sleep if you knew you had great, relevant content that Google would want to show to its searchers. Doing it right means never having to re-write a whole site in order to recover from a drop to Page 15.

Google is trying to please the searching public. Honestly, they aren’t all that interested in whether your business lost revenue. They’re interested in whether your site provides information that people want to see. The best way to be in step with Google is not to devote weeks to ‘cracking the code’. It’s to devote each day to creating the best site you possibly can, a site that searchers are looking for. Google isn’t perfect. Neither is your site. But if both of you are trying for the same goal, you’ll have a lot fewer Google-induced headaches.

Get your content out. Give it away, create content that goes viral, raise awareness, and be sure to include sharing mechanisms on every page. Not only will the public find out more about you and who your business is, so will search engines. Why spend months and thousands of dollars on a link building campaign? Great content shared freely is the best and cheapest link building available.

I’m not saying I know everything about Google and search. And if your business was affected, I’m honestly sorry. But the best insurance against Panda, Penguin, and any future Google updates is one simple idea:

CREATE CONSISTENT GREAT CONTENT.

Anna Brown
 

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

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Is Marketing To Who Your Best Clients Are Enough?

In marketing, one of the first things you are taught to do when you have a product or service that needs promotion is define your client. Who are the people who are going to buy this item from your company? There are many details that get mapped out at this stage:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies
  • Number (if any) of Children
  • Location
  • Social Network Usage
  • etc…
This is an excellent way to find out who your best client actually is. But is that the best way to get them to buy your product?
Marketing to Who Your Client Wants to Be

Everyone, without exception, has goals and dreams about what they want from life and who they want to be. Potential customers will be much more excited about a product or service that helps them reach toward those goals, or helps them overcome pitfalls on the way to a better life. To effectively sell a product or service, try defining who your best customer wants to be:
  • Financial Goals
  • Family Goals
  • Housing/Location Goals
  • Personal Development Goals
  • Health Goals
  • Desires for their Children
  • Travel Goals
  • Retirement Goals
  • etc… 
How can you align your product with your best customers dreams and desires? Baby Einstein videos play to a parent’s desire to get the best education for their children. Financial firms promise a secure future and retirement through the use of their services. Diet services pitch their help in reaching health and physical goals. People will be thrilled to try your service or product if you can help them with who they want to be, rather than targeting where they already are in life.
What goals are you helping your best clients achieve?


Anna Brown

 

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

 

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Writers and Social Interaction

 

            As a writer, I struggle with social interaction. Not in the sense that I’m awkward and don’t have the ability to relate to others – no, social interaction just takes a lot of energy. A social event is fun, but I need alone time to recover.
            Many other writers are this way as well. This is because we are introverts. I would have never guessed this about myself. I am confident at public speaking and don’t mind teaching or leading others regularly. Two years ago, I was teaching a weekly adult class at church, speaking monthly at a prison, and creating teaching materials for a class I taught new-hires at work. That doesn’t sound like the typical life of an introvert. But what I learned was that introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social, they simply use a lot of energy to be social. They need lots of alone time to recuperate after social events.
            Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being social, and being alone and reflective uses a lot of energy. Most people in American society are extroverts, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding between these two groups.
            Even the most introverted among us has social needs, however. And everyone, introverted or not, needs to stretch outside their own comfort zones and create relationships with others. This is especially true with writers and marketers, who rely on relationships to gain clients and market their work. So what’s an introvert to do?
            There are many online sites that can help you reach out and form new relationships. I’m a big fan of Meetup.com, a site that helps you find social groups based on your interests. I have a much easier time meeting new people when there’s a common interest already in place. Meetup offers groups with focuses on business networking, cooking, hiking, biking, and more. Some are gender or age specific, and many are not. I really enjoy the variety I find there, even in the smaller city I live in.
Another site a lot of people enjoy is Foursquare.com, a site I haven’t tried but am intrigued by. It allows you to check in at various locations and find out if anyone you know is nearby. Also, many businesses offer deals and discounts to Foursquare members to entice them to visit and check in there.
You never know when you’re going to meet your next business lead or networking contact. The best places can often be the least obvious ones, where friendships are more natural than at a networking event. Meetup and Foursquare are only two of many options, but the point is simple – even introverts need to get out and meet new people sometimes. Just give yourself plenty of alone time to recharge afterward. 
Anna Brown

 

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

 

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Take Care of Your Body to Boost Your Mind

As writers, or really as professionals in most settings, we spend a lot of time sitting in an office behind a computer screen. We focus largely on mental work, and our physical bodies are often neglected. Unfortunately this leads to a huge variety of health problems. Obesity, heart disease, and even diabetes can be caused simply by sitting for long periods of time with no breaks. An article from Women’s Health also noted that regular exercise after sitting may not be enough – you actually need to take breaks from your sitting time if you want to take care of your health. Even a walk to the coffee machine or water cooler would be an improvement.

Many of us would make the excuse that we simply don’t have time in our busy day to get up and move around. We get into creative flow – or we look for creative flow – and we don’t want to interrupt that by distracting our minds with something else. We think that sitting still and focusing makes us better writers and better employees. However, studies have shown a strong link between a sedentary lifestyle and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

As writers, or professionals of any sort, we can’t afford to be plagued by these physical and mental issues if we want to produce our best work.
The solution is simple – we need to move. Our bodies were built for movement, and in less developed times in history, we moved quite a lot. We had farms to tend, animals to look after, and miles to walk in order to get where we needed to be. In our modern age, we have many conveniences that make it possible to shop, catch up on the news, and talk to our family without ever leaving our chairs. However, these same conveniences are slowly killing us.

The flip side of all this bad news is some good news – exercise can dramatically increase mental performance. The New York Times recently reported on an Irish study showing that memory was enhanced by only 30 minutes of exercise. In addition, studies have shown that anxiety and depression symptoms are significantly relieved by exercise. All of these positive effects can help you focus more on your work, feel more optimistic about what you are accomplishing, and create your best content as a writer or other professional.

Here are some simple ways to work more movement into our lives:

 

  • Take breaks. A lot of them. Most folks can take a quick five or ten minute break every hour without any impact to their work. In addition, a quick break will renew your mind and you will return to your work with a new perspective, less stress, and more creativity. You may even come up with a key idea on your break, when you mind is feeling less stress. 
  • Park far away and take the stairs. These oft-repeated tips really will help you feel more invigorated when you arrive at your desk. They are a good way to work in some exercise without having to go to a gym
  • Walk or bike more places. It generally takes only a slight shift of mindset to realize that many places we usually drive to are actually close enough to walk or ride our bikes. How far away is the bank? Your friend’s house? Your workplace? While walking or riding may not help if you need to carry things, there are many trips that you could easily make in this way. 
  • Try yoga or stretching exercises. Some people have health concerns that keep them from being able to do strenuous exercise. However, yoga or stretching exercises are easy on the body while still getting blood flowing. In addition, meditation is easily combined with these practices to help bring an overall feeling of centering to your day. 

As writers or other professionals, we need to produce our best work as often as possible. Our mental state, our creativity, and our long term health all depend on frequent movement throughout the day. The truth is, you don’t have time in your workday NOT to move! Maybe now would be a good time for that break.

 

Anna Brown

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

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Writing When You’re Stumped

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. 

Sometimes the content requests you receive from clients – or need for yourself – will leave you stumped. What is there to say about brown foxes and lazy dogs? It’s so cliché – hasn’t it been said before? What new do you have to add?

At times like these, you may need a boost of inspiration to get started writing. Here are some steps that can help:

Google. What?? You’re writing FOR the web, why should you look ON the web? Well, sometimes before you can know what to say, you need to see what others are saying. A quick Google search can help you see what’s out there, determine where the gaps are, and create unique content. In addition, if you’ve been creating content for awhile, you may have written about brown foxes and lazy dogs in the past. You can see what notes you have from previous content, which may help.

Angle. What angle is the client looking for? Do they need a business look at brown foxes and lazy dogs? In the 1st Quarter of 2012, the number of brown foxes jumping over lazy dogs grew by 37%. Or, is there a need for a more storytelling angle? My brown fox Sam recently made me laugh by jumping over my lazy dog Tom while the sprinkler drenched them both in my front yard. Determining what type of site your client – or you – are trying to create will give you some immediate ideas how to create your article.

Brainstorm. Once you’ve done the previous two steps you will likely have some notes, and some ideas about sentences, openings, and conclusions. Open a blank word document and start writing them down. Don’t worry about format, order, or even punctuation at this stage. Also include any ideas you already have about how brown foxes and lazy dogs relate to each other. This step is very free-form, so just let it flow and don’t worry about silly or ‘bad’ ideas. They don’t have to make the final copy.

Write. Using your brainstorm page as a base and write your article. You’ll be surprised how quickly the content will come together now that you have your juices flowing. Of course, when you finish the text, read over it twice to make sure you haven’t made any accidental mistakes in spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Then pat yourself on the back – well done!

When you create content for a living, you will come across unusual requests by clients on a regular basis. At times, these initially difficult topics will yield some of your best writing! Don’t be nervous about being stumped by a client request. With these four simple steps, you’ll have your article done in no time.

Anna Brown

Are you looking for great content and help with overall content strategy? Take a look at my professional services and contact me today to begin!

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