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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.

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Busy Being Distracted

I received an email from a friend…it reads…


Hey L.A. You always talk about how people should practice empathic listening? well here’s a story that supports your argument100%.


I stopped in the local Subway to grab a quick sandwich. Luckily there wasn't a line, but I was still left waiting as no one was there to handle my order. Two other employees were busy helping other customers, and one of them yelled,

"Michelle, counter!"

About 30 seconds later a 20-something customer service rep came out, didn't look me in the eye and blurted, "Ca’I help you?"

I was ready, since I had ample time to prepare my script.

"Yes, please. I'd like a six-inch turkey, on whole grain, not toasted."

She slapped on gloves, then looked at me a bit puzzled and said, "You said meatball, right?"

That was odd. "Turkey" sounds nothing like "meatball." "No, I said turkey. On whole grain."

She searched for the turkey, fumbled around a bit, then looked at me again and said, "White bread?"

I thought she was joking. I gave her a "You're kidding right?"-kind of smirk.

Realizing she actually didn't know, I replied, "Well, again, I'd like whole grain please."

A few seconds passed as she feverishly threw together the sandwich, looked up and said, "You said toasted, right?"

Now I'm laughing. I replied, "Actually, no, I didn't say that. And no thanks, not toasted."

Finally she asked, "What would you like on it?"

Given my experience up to this point, it took everything I had--trust me-- to not return with something like, "I'd answer, but I don't think it will do any good, so just ask me a second time right now."

Instead, I maintained my composure and very slowly told her what I'd like, item by item. I even pointed at them to help her visualize.


Crazy Ha’un!

No…not crazy at all.

I'd like to think this experience is the exception with service people, sales people, or even just people in general. You and I both know that unfortunately it is more the norm.

The typical attention span today is mere seconds--if that. People are addicted to distraction.

Young and old. We communicate in abbreviated phrases. We get news in headlines, scrawls and tweets. If a website doesn't grab our attention in seconds, click. Next.

And don't even get me going on the entire notion of "present but absent," which is using your mobile device to text, call, tweet, email or whatever-- when you are WITH another person. Any time someone does that they are indicating, "I've got a more important person on the other end of this."

Present but absent.

OK, let me get this rant back on the tracks. My point is the reality today is that we must operate in the environment where people in general have shorter attention spans than ever.

We are more distracted and inundated with stimuli than ever before. To be effective in the sales game, we need to proactively counteract that when we are sending, and receivingCommunication.

A couple of very rudimentary, but nevertheless important points.

Pay Attention
I believe that to truly be an effective communicator, you need to work hard at the art and science of simply paying attention.

Yes, that means actually listening to what the other person is saying, and not thinking of what you will say next. Or worse, interrupting them with what you want to say.

It means not checking your emails, texts, tweets, Facebook or any other site while you are speaking with a prospect or customer. I heard a speaker say that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, since a person can only do one thing at a time. If you are flitting from thing to thing, you are not doing any of them very well. Certainly you wouldn't have your A-game when you are talking on the phone and trying to perform several other activities.

Here's a test worth taking: on the remainder of your spoken communication today, on the phone and face-to-face, practice "Venus Fly Trap" listening. That means grabbing on to every word you hear as if you would be tested on it, with dire consequences if you failed. You might be surprised at how much you really hear.

Pre-empt their Distraction
What's harder to control, but certainly doable, is grabbing and keeping their attention. How? Talk about their favorite subject: them. This is not new. But then again, I don't know why more reps don't do it.

Sitting in my voice mail inbox right now is a message from a clueless caller who left a 90-second message about the service he provides to Fitness Facilities and how he wants to set up an appointment so he could show me how I should be using his service in my Fitness Facility. Uh, hello. It wouldn't take more than a few seconds to find out exactly what I do, which is not run a Gym.

What my business is is helping salespeople do what he didn’t. Create interest, engage prospects and customers, and move the sales process forward. That's what we talk about here every week, and my sites are full of free info, and much much more that you can invest in.

if you made it all the way to here, congrats. You either have a refined attention span, and/or I kept your interest. Follow these ideas and you will be way ahead of those who are busy being distracted.

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