In an ideal world, we would have the time and resources to create four types of content: converting website content, engaging website content, SEO content, and social media content.
Throw in public relations content, supporting content, and consumer resources and now you have a ton of content needs without a ton of time to create it.
This is where the bird-hunting content producers of the world can shine. Thankfully, just about anyone at a business can kill multiple birds with each content stone if they know how to do it right.
Understanding the Importance of Each Type of Content
Content that is placed on your website, blog, supporting sites, and social media is normally done so for a reason. Sure, there are people who love to write, take pictures, or shoot videos as a hobby, but in the business world we normally want to get a benefit from our efforts. One of the biggest speed bumps that businesses often make is that they don't know how to properly define the goals of their content. With a proper definition, the content has less of a chance of being successful.
For now, we're not going to look at conversion content, PR, support, or consumer resources. They are much more focused types of content and while it's possible to hit them with content that achieves multiple goals, it's best to attack them individually. For example, you can say that a press release is something that can help with SEO as well as get shared on social media, but it doesn't replace the real SEO content or content that is designed for social media engagement. It's an addition and therefore is normally not crafted to accomplish the other goals as well.
Let's focus on engaging website content, SEO content, and social media content. Done properly, the vast majority of the pieces of content you create for one can apply to all three.
- Engaging Website Content - This is the content that is designed to bring people in who are not necessarily looking for your product at that particular moment. They were a nice-to-have type of content prior to the Google Penguin update of April, 2012, but now they are absolutely essential thanks to Google's adoration for content that can be enjoyed, that brings value to the visitor, and that can be shared through social media as well as being the target of inbound links. Engaging website content does not sell a product or service. It supports the sale of those products in some way. It might be as direct as showing clever integration methods between an iPhone and a car, showing how the new Ford Fusion has systems that SYNC nicely with your smartphone. It might be as indirect as a gallery of images from different angles of the Seattle Space Needle. For a Seattle Ford Dealer, both of these examples would work nicely to accomplish the goal of making their website engaging to their potential customers.
- SEO Content - The days of writing content on or off of your site or blog for the sheer sake of manipulating your search rankings are far behind us. 2011's Google Panda update and the several tweaks and improvements since then have forced businesses to take a longer look at quality over quantity. It's about manual and unique versus automated and duplicated. Today's SEO content brings value to the table. This ties in nicely to the other two types of content listed here.
- Social Media Content - It's hard for many businesses to understand the levels of quality that are required on social media because of the camouflage created by all of the bad content that's shared every day by others. It cannot be understated that well-crafted content posted on social media can bring more value than dozens of low value posts. In fact, these low value posts can actually do harm. Crafting the right content for social media is the only way to tie it in directly with SEO and website engagement.
"Quality" is a buzzword that is dramatically overused in today's content marketing atmosphere. As a result, it's often misunderstood. One does not have to be a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist to post high-quality content. Some of the best content producers I know can barely form a sentence without a grammatical mistake. It's about bringing value, entertainment, or both to the table. It's about being interesting. It's about posting on your expertise, namely the business that you operate. If you sell Fords for a living, chances are you know a lot more than the average Barney or Betty about the capabilities of an F-250 diesel. If you don't, someone at the store does. Use it.
In the next post, we will go into details about "Thinking Three Dimensionally" to help you select the right topics and take the appropriate steps to post. Stay tuned.