A good friend of mine was recently driving around with a real estate agent, looking for a spot to open a new store. The agent kept saying, “Location, location, location.” In real estate, that’s the key, since you want people to see your store and shop there. If we were driving around in cyberspace, I would be saying, “Content, content, content.” Why?
Ann Handley, co-author of Content Rules, writes:
“Today, you have an unprecedented opportunity to create a treasury of free, easy-to-use, almost infinitely customizable content that tells the story of your product and your business, and positions you as an expert people will want to do business with.”
The Web is more or less nothing but content — from websites and blogs to articles and videos and the list goes on. Here are some facts to ponder from Joe DiDonato, Elearning! Media Group Editor-at-Large:
- Technology renews itself every 12-18 months.
- There are 3,000 books published every day.
- The amount of new technical data is doubling every year
The point is, in order to have your content stand out, it needs to immediately grab the reader’s attention and then hold it.
The “grab” part is often easier then the “hold.” What makes content stand out from the endless chatter on the Web? The same reasons that are true for you are also true for your readers.
Here are a few points about what makes content outstanding:
Content must be relevant: Great content needs to speak to you about what’s happening now. If you are looking into how to write better content, for example, then this article is relevant. If you need to know how to make coq au vin, you should go to the Food Network website.
Content must be useful: Too much content on the Web is utterly useless. I’m not just talking about the low-quality stuff that pollutes the Internet. I’m talking about all the content that’s just mediocre or un-enlightening. The stuff that doesn’t tell me anything I can really use in my daily life. There’s lots of content about things, ideas, reactions, and opinions, and none of it is really helpful, except for the people who are telling me how to do something I need to do. Helpful content always finds readers.
Content must be well-written: Outstanding content better be well-written or no one will read it, even if it’s relevant and useful. This is the toughest rule to follow. Really good writing is hard, and that’s why we have professional writers. So be honest with yourself: Either you write well enough to make your content work or you don’t. If you don’t, then hire a good content writer. This is especially true for busy entrepreneurs and business owners. If you can’t devote the necessary time to update your business’ website with useful content for your readers or customers, be honest with yourself and hire a pro.
Find the right topics: Don’t forget that the foundation of outstanding content is a fresh and interesting topic idea. No matter how relevant, useful and well-produced your content is, if a very similar article, blog post or video already exists, its potential is limited right off the bat. Always strive to find new and exciting things to showcase in your content. Here are a few ideas on how to find interesting content ideas from Handley and her co-author, C.C. Chapman, in their book Content Rules:
Chat with customers. Ask customers a single question, such as ‘What’s your biggest marketing challenge?’ or ‘What’s a strategy you used to grow your business this year?’
Interview luminaries. Q & A interviews with thought leaders, strategic partners, or flat-out interesting creative thinkers make for compelling text, audio, or video content. […]
Trawl industry news. Share an opinion about a recent news story that’s affecting your industry or audience. Be timely; you could benefit from the extra boost of being one of the first to comment on the topic.
Go behind the scenes. Show things that your readers or followers don’t usually get to see. Share photos that give an insider’s view of your company, or tease some new, compelling content, product or event that you’ll be launching soon.
Go to an event. Take session notes, conduct interviews, or take photos. Real-time blog or tweet the sessions that offer value to your community, and share with your audience what you learned, enjoyed, or were surprised at.
Share best practices or productivity tips. People are always looking for efficiencies, and this type of content is always highly useful and shareable. […]
What do you think makes content outstanding? How do you find great content ideas? We’d love to hear in the comments!
David Grebow is a freelance small business journalist for Vistaprint, a world leader in custom websites, business cards, and other marketing products for businesses all across the globe. David holds an MBA from Harvard and has been published in Harvard Business Review and The Economist.
The goal for any blog is to build a following. There are many different ways to attract new visitors to your blog, but convincing them to become repeat readers and subscribers requires one thing – great content.
Some of the results of more subscribers are:
· More profitability. Whether you are selling your own products and services, promoting affiliate products, or selling advertising, regular readers are more likely to buy from you.
· More social sharing. Your subscribers will be the first to Tweet, Like, and +1 your posts.
· More social proof. It’s natural for people to follow the crowd and the more followers you have the more follow worthy you become.
· A built-in audience. There’s something particularly satisfying about knowing that when you’ve taken the time and effort to produce a quality post, there are subscribers waiting to read it.
Here are some tips on creating subscribe-worthy content.
Find Your Voice and Communicate it Consistently
Articles that reflect your personality will connect with your audience. They’ll enjoy reading your content because it reflects who you are and what you’re about. People who feel a more personal connection and who can relate to you and your writing will be more likely to subscribe.
If you outsource any of your content, be careful not to give up your voice. Carefully select a ghostwriter who can write in your voice. Alternatively you can have your writer do the research and provide just an outline so you can finish the post yourself, in your own voice. And of course, when using PLR modify the articles to fit your personality and writing style.
Pay Attention to the Numbers
As you’re writing content for your blog pay attention to the blog posts that get the most traffic. Look at which blog posts are linked to most often and also how many comments they receive. Finally, use analytics to determine which keywords are bringing visitors to your site. The numbers indicated which content fits your audience and will help you gain subscribers.
Try to create content that provides consistent value. Value can be in the form of entertainment, information and education, or resources. For example, if your website is about organization and time management, checklists and how-to videos might provide excellent value to your readers. The more you can become a constant source of value, the more people will subscribe to your blog. They want to have immediate and easy access to all the information you create and share.
Present Yourself as a Credible Authority
Think about the blogs that you subscribe to. Chances are you subscribe to them at least in part because you trust the information they’re providing you. You consider the authors to be experts in their topic. As a blogger you can gain the same credibility and following by establishing yourself as an expert in your chosen field. Build authority by:
· Speaking confidently about your topic.
· Connecting with experts in your industry.
· Quoting relevant data and resources when appropriate.
· Recommending quality products and services.
· Creating an easy to use and read blog.
· Providing thoughtful responses to your commenters.
· Showing how much you enjoy your blog, topic, readers and audience.
Creating content that readers will subscribe to is part science, part passion, and part attention to detail. Create a content plan that reflects your audience’s needs and interests, pay attention to their feedback and the data, and most of all put your whole self into your blog. The subscribers will follow.
Linda Stacy offers blogging and PLR tips and resources at LindaStacy.com.
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Last week, a colleague, who also is an RSS email subscriber to my site, told me they had copied a recent post and published it on their site. Because I also had helped them set up one of their blogs and coached them a little, I presumed that they meant they had syndicated my content using a WordPress plugin that had been recommended. However,because they said the word “copy”, it seemed like a good idea to ask a clarifying question. The subsequent conversation felt a little awkward and I am still trying to determine if they were simply naive or if it was something else.
What is a Web Copyright?
Every WordPress Website theme that I have created or customized includes code which places a default copyright in the footer. Summarizing an article on this topic that I read on Smashing Magazine, the same laws that protect printed copy also protect internet content. Since April 1, 1989, all published content is “automatically” copyrighted and it is not available for use in the public domain throughout the lifetime of its creator plus 70 years.
An idea cannot be copyrighted so, if something you’ve come across on the internet spurs a new post for your site, you are not breaching copyright law. You are allowed to cite excerpts from existing web content without crossing the line but you cannot replicate articles in their entirety without specific permission.
You also must have the permission of an author before you translate their content to another language.
The “fair use doctrine” is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work.
Website Owner Responsibilities
As I was researching this topic, I was enlightened on a topic that may be confusing. Web content is OWNED by the person who creates it. In other words, comments are owned by the commenter, not the website owner. Copyright law implies that you cannot alter content that is not owned by you and this may include removal of links, which is something that I have done myself.
This little nit will be covered in a terms and conditions statement on my website so that people who choose to comment about my posts are fully aware of my policies regarding links in comments.
Bottom Line: Blog Posts are not like Daylilies
In the patio garden behind a house where I used to live, I frequently gathered up Daylily volunteers from between the cracks in the retaining wall and replanted them in the garden bed where I actually wanted them to grow. That they were interested enough in survival to cast off volunteer plants any place that roots could take hold impressed me.
Bloggers are no different. We publish our content and send it out on RSS feeds, hoping to acquire new readership and engage our audience in such a way that they will tell their friends on the social network. We’re honored that you want others to know about our work, believe me.
Some of us put real research time into creating what we believe will be valuable and accurate content that we hope will be helpful to our target market. The whole idea of spending time on a blog post is to build authority for the business niche that we are endeavoring to grow. We want to help you but we don’t want to write your blogs for you. I make no apologies for saying that out loud and will happily engage in discussion about it with anyone whose opinion may differ.
Some very helpful people have directed me to authority sites on plagerism and copyright protection for my reference. Here are those links, should you also have an interest:
It’s true; I came of age during the 60s. While this places me in some people’s stratospheric age groups, my age is merely a number to me and I’m thrilled to have grown up in such interesting times. Being a Baby Boomer surrounded by Hippies and other sorts of rebels brought many ideals to my purview … some more palatable than others but each of them born from a cry for freedom by my generation.
After recently re-theming my GetIncomeBlog.com, my interest in writing to it has been renewed, along with the traffic that comes to my site. I use several tools to determine how you all get here and, during the past month, the viewership statistics that I’ve been monitoring inform me that there are folks out there who appreciate my articles. Seeing what keywords you’re using is also fascinating.
I don’t write any of my articles to obtain your admiration, however. I write them because of a conversation I’ve had with newer online marketers or offline business owners has reminded me of something that will help them and want to pass along this information to you too. Whether or not you are a grizzled veteran, reminders about how things work in business and the entrepreneurial world is helpful.
I read such an article myself today at Yaro Starak’s blog. This young man is brilliant in his writing and has really done well for himself by blogging. I was unaware of this site until today when I was evaluating a competitor’s backlinks. Even though the article I read at Yaro’s blog wasn’t brand new, it spoke to many things that I’ve been writing about lately.
A colleague recently opined that a blog was nothing more than an online diary. Network marketers, BizOp chasers, and another group of business people whom I will lovingly refer to as “Elitists” tend to say that blogging is not important. But people like Yaro convince me and others who are determined to establish an Online Brand image that having a blog with high-quality content is essential. I can’t think of one reputable top gun marketer who isn’t using a blog as a component of their branding strategy.
But let’s get back to the statistics on my blog. On a “bad day” here at GetIncomeBlog.com, I am getting about 5 – 10 times more traffic that I used to get on a “good” day and I’m just beginning to ramp up. On a “bad” day, I spend very little time thinking about the “low” traffic volume. I merely smile and tell myself that everything is relative … a canon of my youth.
Although social network sites are a great venue for acquainting yourself with new people and finding potential business partners and recruits, each site has its own nuances. If you are a blogger, some are much easier to feed through RSS than others. MySpace makes it a little more difficult than most.
While researching the best method to feed my blog posts to my MySpace profile tonight, I happened upon the most useful site. These wonderfully helpful people made it easy for me create a nice looking widget that stealthily produced an RSS feed to MySpace. I would like to express Kudos to the folks at http://www.springwidgets.com!
Although my interest in internet technology has led me to great proficiency with website design and delivery, my real skill lies in being curious enough to want to know how things work … and not giving up when it isn’t straight forward. Technology may seem tedious to many but it is my belief that, even though some tasks can be outsourced, knowing how it is done helps a lot when negotiating services fees.
Website delivery is a hobby that is also profitable for me but there are many more skills in my tool chest that my inherent curiosity has led me to develop. As an internet marketing professional, I have spent a lot of time researching how other internet marketers conduct their businesses. I wouldn’t recommend some methods but having awareness about them helped me determine what sort of internet marketer I wanted to be and how to go about attracting the sorts of people I’d like to be in business with me.
If you keep in mind that you are the product, every communication you put on the internet is part of your brand image. If you are consistent in your message and careful to not muddy your branding strategy, people who are researching you will see that. If your goal is to be a leader, you must demonstrate that you have a vision others can follow and something that will help them accomplish their goals.