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Sharon MacLean

You need articles for the website? pressed the CEO. Words are cheap; buy them from one of those content farms. I instantly knew we would not be working together very long, given that he had such little regard for his corporate image or for the reputation of his employees, customers and partners. Including me.

Irresistible content comes from knowing what you stand for and what makes you unique. The clarity that comes from truly understanding what you offer – and for whom – is the promise that informs everything you say, write, record, produce and post.

Content farms are websites that hire a large number of freelance writers, editors, and videographers to pump out dirt cheap content at $15 per article. You can spend as much time searching their enormous databases for possible writers than you will to research and write the piece yourself.

Don’t get me wrong. There are excellent services which hire experienced journalists (think Troy Media or www.NewsCred.com) that vet their editorial teams and supervise the editorial process from start to finish.

The social media strategist urges you to, Think about creating rich content that is useful and intriguing to your audience.” For example, Olivier would not share a product brochure on Internet security from a Telco but he would be happy to share a well-written white paper on how to protect your business from hackers from that same Telco.

Today’s budgets are gradually moving towards providing good website content – just not enough. The seduction is to avoid creating original website content by professional writers in favour of buying cheap material that everyone’s seen before somewhere on the ‘net. People are smarter than that and expect more.

So, what are you going to write about?

Think about classifying your content into these categories: Acquaintances, Best friends, Champions, and Community. Your challenge is to create a digital hub that includes content to share, like, comment and refer on the social platforms.

Acquaintances. The first thing to appreciate in this group is that you barely know the person who has visited your website. Please don’t assume they immediately want to know you or like your message enough to purchase your products or services. They are researching other websites, too, and generally want to see value before returning for a follow-up visit.

What content should you invest in?

  • Well-written blog
  • E-books combined with video, audio, and written text
  • White papers

Best friends. Just like personal friends, your top customers are those you trust in the best – and worst – of times. These clients purchase your products and services while you help them to grow individually and professionally. You can feel comfortable asking your Best Friends in business for references and introductions to their networks.

What content should you invest in?

  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Short videos
  • Open sessions with thought leaders

Champions. Business champions are your board members, investors and ideal customers as well as leaders of commerce and the community in the media and in politics. They take exceptional interest in your success and evangelizes your ideas within their networks.

What content should you invest in?

  • Digital publications featuring your champions and their missions
  • References in your blogs etc. to their efforts
  • Annual thank-you slideshow

Community members: The key is authenticity in your relationships . . . respect for your fans and followers . . . and recognition there’s a human being on the other end of a Tweet or website query. Communities can increase customer loyalty, buying behaviour, brand advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge while reducing the tendency to engage in negative behaviours.

What content should you invest in?

  • Weekly video updates
  • Groups discussions on LinkedIn with trained leaders
  • Webinar sessions on Facebook with trained speakers

The list of ideas grows daily. Think about your ABCs+ and invest in irresistible website  content that excites them. You will feel the good energy, too.

Communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a print business magazine for 21 years. She now works to assist clients in digital marketing.

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