We’ve all heard this old cliché: ‘Content is King’. However, thanks to blogs, content is becoming a commodity. You can find the same information in thousands of places that are only a click away.
There is so much information that best selling authors are urging us to go on an ‘information diet’, and are opening our eyes to the fact that ‘time’, not money, is the most valuable currency in the new economy.
With so much information and so little time, capturing the attention of your target audience is key. Content is still important, but the way you package your content is now ‘King’.
To capture attention your content must be:
- Easy to find
- Easy to share
- Easy to read
There are many ways to package/brand your content so that it spreads easily and grabs the attention of your audience.
Follow Guidelines for Writing for the Web
- Write less: Use 50% of the words you would use in print. Once you finish writing, go back and cut some more.
- Use contrast: black type on a white background works best.
- Use headlines to break the discussion into small, manageable chunks, each dealing with a different sub-topic.
- Online users scan. Use elements that facilitate scannability: like bolding keywords and using bullet points.
- Don’t make your lines too long. Lines of text that run from one side of the screen to the other are very hard to read.
- Convey one idea per paragraph.
- Use hyperlinks to present complementary information instead of including it in the body of your article.
Optimize Your Site for Humans and Search Engines
- Divide your site into separate, well defined topical sections. If you write about Internet marketing create different sections like web design, SEO, blogging, etc. and place your articles where they fit best.
- If your site is a blog make sure to tag and categorize your posts. Create a small number of categories (around ten) and tag your posts with only the most appropriate ones.
- Create a menu of “Top Posts” or “Most Popular Posts” on your sidebar, with links to your best 5-10 articles (if you’ve got it, flaunt it…;).
- Make your site search-engine friendly by following some basic rules:
- Split your content into different, very focused pages
- Select two or three keywords per page and use them in your page copy
- Create a sitemap where search engines can find links to all your pages
- Pay special attention to your page titles: make them descriptive instead of ‘catchy’. When search engines display your pages they show your page titles. By making them descriptive there is more chance that readers will click on them. For example, use “Premium Dog Food” instead of “Top Munch for Your Pooch”.
- Get high-quality links to your site. Without many links from high authority sites, it is impossible to rank high in the search engines.
Re-Purpose / Re-package Your Blog Content
The way blogs are structured (by date with the latest post first) makes it hard for your readers to find a coherent pattern or sequence. You may have written something extremely good or relevant long ago, and that post may be buried in your archives.
You can re-package your blog content by bundling it in special reports, white papers or ebooks that follow a logical (rather than chronological) sequence.
These products can become another revenue stream for you since users will pay for easy access to organized information that they can find in one place.
Develop Your Unique Voice or Angle
Whatever you have to say, most likely someone else will have already said it. Information is becoming a commodity. That is why you have to develop your own voice, cover a unique angle, or both.
I have a friend who has a very successful personal finance blog. Every now and then, somebody leaves a comment in his blog questioning how he can be so successful by just repeating concepts that are not necessarily new or groundbreaking.
My friend has been successful because he speaks to his audience like a human being (not like a corporate talking head), picks interesting and relevant examples to illustrate his points, has a very special sense of humor, and targets his content to an underserved demographic in his topic: 20 to 25-year-olds.
In other words, he has packaged/branded his content for success.
Another example is Seth Godin, the marketing guru and best selling author. His bestseller, Purple Cow, is a new spin on an old marketing staple: differentiation.
However, the way Seth tells his story, his insightful examples, and the brilliance with which he markets his books have made him a publishing success.
Use Social Sharing and Newsletters
- Provide links to the most popular social sharing sites on your posts and pages so that people can easily share your content.
- Include an email subscription form. Many people still prefer to receive updates by email.
What other ways to package/brand content would you suggest?
Brian Jackson is the former owner of Shoestring Branding, a marketing and branding blog for entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on internet-based tools and strategies. It was recently acquired by BrandBlast.com