Holy Grail - Choose Wisely

In the 1989 film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" you may remember the scene where Indiana Jones and his captors encounter the Grail Knight. They find him in a hidden cavern after passing through a number of tests. In that cave they find the object for which they have all been searching - the Holy Grail - sits among the many other chalices on a stone shelf. The Knight merely says to them, "Choose wisely."

These same words can be said regarding the types of content you can choose to place on your website, on your blog or other social media sites, and in print. Choose wisely!

When making your final decisions, here are a few things to consider.

1. Avoid the easy route.

Don't let time or difficulty become the deciding factor for the type of content you will provide. Some forms of content may be easier for you to generate but may not be what your clients, potential clients and other readers want. You may find yourself choosing poorly.

Now don't simply ignore the easy pieces; they may still have value. Go ahead and produce them if you think they have some value. The key is to be sure you don't merely limit your options based on the wrong criteria.

2. Call for help.

OK, this may be a crass way to push our services but a professional writer can be your greatest ally! Many business professionals have a story to tell or a product to sell, but they can suffer from what we call EPS – “empty page syndrome.”

You may know what to say but when it comes to putting words on a page, that’s different. You can sit for hours staring at blank page then finally give up and start playing Angry Birds until creativity starts to flow. Don't let this happen. Call for help. A professional writer can take your concepts and turn them from good ideas into marketing gold.

3. Place yourself on a schedule.

Pace is important. When you begin to place content on a website, a blog, a social media page or in print, people expect that more will follow. One of the greatest marketing blunders a business can make is to begin something and then not follow through. The Internet is full of out-of-date blogs, old websites, and inactive social media pages. Whatever you do, keep doing it!

Also, remember that publishing is all about pace, not the generating of content. Don’t flood your site with lots of content at once. If you are productive, you may be able to develop several pieces at once. Store them in a file; they can be scheduled for gradual release.

4. Stay away from bulk content

Don’t fall into the trap of letting someone sell you a large number of articles based on your keywords. There are companies who will tell you that this is a guaranteed way of increasing your search engine ranking.

First, the quality of these articles will be suspect at best. You also don’t know if they are plagiarized, simply re-worked other previously published articles or pure hogwash. Your clients and future clients deserve reliable information and a quality creation. One well-written piece outshines a dozen pieces of drivel.

Second, the newest search engine algorithms are really smart! They don’t “like” poorly written content and can tell the difference. They also know when content is simply being stuffed onto a site as a bid for higher ranking and may penalize a site for doing that.

5. Look for redundancy strategies.

Repetition is a necessary part of marketing. Let me say that again, repetition is a necessary part of marketing.

When you are developing content, think of the various ways you can make use of the same material in multiple formats. Blog posts or other content using how-to's, tips, case studies, news flashes, etc. can become white papers, brochures and even video presentations. The only limitation is your creativity. Just remember that most of your content can have more than one way to reach your audience.

In Conclusion

Content development has been a key part of all marketing strategies for a long time. In recent years, however, it has come into its own. This is due to two things.

First, the Internet has made it very easy to generate and distribute quality content without investing large sums of money on print and paper. Not only can this be more efficient, but also it is eco-friendly. Access has allowed information to become a form of marketing currency.

Second, we have moved from a “push” to a “pull” market. Again, with the advent of the digital marketplace and its abundant information, people pick and choose. They decide what they want to pull in. You are competing for their attention and need to find ways of getting noticed.

The approaches to content we’ve covered are not exhaustive but they are proven winners for gaining an audience and, ultimately, clients. Whether you choose to produce trend articles, news flashes, how-to’s, tips pieces or case studies, you will be providing your readers with something they can actually use while building your brand in the process.

[And here’s a hint – check back on our blog next week for a great series on doing just that, building your brand.]

So, let’s end where we began. Now that you are armed with an arsenal of new content development information, here is an assignment to get you started on a a content marketing strategy for your business.

  • Take an hour or two away from your normal schedule and, perhaps, from your office or business location.
  • Settle down with a cup of coffee, tea or another beverage and just think about your work.
  • Make a list of things you know about your business and industry; areas where you have some expertise that could be beneficial to others.
  • Categorize them according to type.
  • Put them on a schedule to develop and deploy.

I think you'll be surprised at what you find. Hold on to that list - this is valuable marketing currency you can invest in your future. Choose wisely and then begin the work!