If you're confused about social media and site content, you're not alone. It's a subject you see everywhere these days, but it's one that not many fully understand. Fortunately, a new book is about to be release called Content is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web and Mobile, and it's going to clarify a subject that's vital to anyone's online marketing success.
If you want to maximize the impact of your online efforts, look no further. This book is as enjoyable to read as it is informative. We were lucky enough to get a chance to ask Jon Wuebben, the author, a few questions recently, and the interview is below. This interview answers some important questions about content, and it's just a taste of what you'll get when you buy the book.
Your book, Content is Currency, comes at a time when most companies are finally realizing they need to use social media and other online tools, but many don't know how to do so effectively. What do you feel is the most important concept or idea people should take away from your book?
The most important concept to understand is this: the way your customers and prospects communicate with you (and you them) has changed — forever. They want two things from you: the ability to connect with you anytime, anywhere, on their terms (smart phone, social media, blog, etc.) and they want quality content — like how-to videos, cool apps, user friendly blog posts, and more – content that adds value — before and after the sale.
This communication change needs to be embraced and have buy-in from all stakeholders; otherwise your competitors will beat you at the game.
You discuss "Three Pillars" in the book. Can you briefly explain these pillars and why they're important?
The "Three Pillars" of web content success are Content, Design, and Usability. Essentially, what your content says, how it looks, and its ease of use. They are important because without any one of them, your site will suffer, sometimes significantly. The words and videos and other content you use on the site need to connect with your audience. They need to be presented in a way that looks good. And they need to be able to be found easily. The old adage for website navigation is "three clicks from anything". If your visitor has to click five or six times to find something, you've lost them.
The three pillars is also a good place to start with what I call your "Content Marketing Machine" or your total content marketing effort. It relies on certain inputs and steps that build upon each other and slowly, but surely create a perpetual, automated lead generation and business growth machine.
Using the three pillars as your foundation, you need to then consider three things:
" What types of content you produce
" How you put it in front of your visitors
" How you are supporting it
How do you feel about companies hiring firms to create their content for them? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
I think it's essential for almost all companies. With the exception of startups and smaller firms that may have a good writer and/or video producer onboard (one who knows SEO and social media), content is just too important to leave to chance. For many companies, content usually falls to a second or third priority, which is a big mistake. When you hire a firm to help you out, it keeps it in the top priority category, where it should be. Plus, when you hire a content development and strategy firm, you get the benefit of SEO, blog, social media, and mobile strategy skills, which very few companies currently possess.
The disadvantages? There really aren't any. The only one that comes to mind is the cost factor. But content development and strategy is really a very good investment, so even the cost factor falls away. The other issue, of course, is the time it takes to handle content. Even when you outsource it, you still need to spend time in meetings with your chosen content outsourced team, assisting with content gathering, providing content edits, etc.
What advice do you have for organizations just beginning to build a content strategy?
First, take an audit of all web and mobile content you have in place now. Decide what you should keep and what you can eliminate. What are the opportunities? Where can you develop new content? What are your competitors doing on their sites, social profiles and with their mobile presence?
Next, talk to your customers. Survey them. Find out what they like, don't like, ideas for improvements, new product and service concepts, etc.
Finally, prioritize and come up with a game plan for new content development. First items should be your website content (the pages), your blog, your social profiles, and ensuring you have a mobile version of your site. Next comes video, press releases, newsletters, and all the rest.
Looking to the future of content marketing, how do you see social media and other content vehicles evolving?
First, we're going to see thousands of companies get on board this year. That will bring more content into the game and more competition for "eyeballs" on your content. Next, we're going to see more domination by Facebook and Google in the social space. Watch these two closely. They are driving the change. You will also see better filtering and searching so the highest quality content will rise to the top — and the low quality stuff will fall even farther and faster. We will also see further personalization with content and the return of some of the "traditional" content vehicles — the handwritten thank you letter for one.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.