Content Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas
by Dave Langdale on September 14, 2012
It’s an odd notion, comparing dogs to online content. Online content is static, inorganic and won’t steal the bacon out of your breakfast sandwich.
Like a dog, it still needs to be treated in the same caring, considered fashion. If not, it won’t be the RSPCA banging on your door, it will be Google bagging up your website’s rankings and throwing them in the river; and you can be sure they won’t send you a nice letter through your door first.
Why Should I Care about Content?
Everything you do online is as much a part of how people see your brand as what you do offline, whether that’s delivering a service, talking to your customers or blogging, it all lends some weight to their overall opinion of you as a company.
Except, while most content offline gets lost over time or becomes the filling for a child’s hamster cage, your online content lasts forever.
Anything you put online, from a blog post to a web page is there to be searched for and found for the entire lifespan of the internet. This makes it the most important content you will ever produce.
Clicking onto a company blog and seeing news about who won the Christmas raffle and what place your Head of Marketing finished in the regional fun run is about as appealing as going clubbing with your nan.
If the marketing guru you recently hired to push your brand forward came in one morning with a big plan to stand in the city centre and bellow your company news to bemused passersby, you’d kick them to the kerb faster than a burst football.
So why would you encourage the same situation with your company blog?
You need to excite your readers, entertain or inform them so that they want to come back and see more.
Don’t Just Tell Me, Show Me
An excellent example of using a blog as an exciting entertainment platform is Starbucks.
They have taken the concept of a blog and turned it completely on its head: instead of churning out company news, they use the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas for coffee.
Better still, it’s their customers that send in the ideas. People vote on them and Starbucks evaluate the best ones to see if it’s something they can add into their range. There’s even a leaderboard. It’s an amazingly simple idea that has become hugely popular.
Another great example is a fresh food producer called Wegmans.
While small time in business terms, they have taken it upon themselves to create an interesting site with a lively, informative blog, where they regularly post recipe ideas for various diet restrictions, including vegan and vegetarian.
They also do a huge amount to contribute to local conservation, which makes for great news items and they write interesting pieces on the benefits of various foodstuffs such as organic food and lentils.
How can I do that?
This is the easy bit.
You already have a huge advantage above anyone else who may try to write about your sector from the outside. You’re in it. You’re the expert. So chances are, if there is something you find interesting about your industry, there’s plenty of other people who do too.
Imagine you sell bananas, don’t write about how many bananas you have sold or how you recently employed a staff member who was a bronze medallist at the 1987 International Mah Jong World Championships.
Write about the fact that there is currently a huge legal dispute between Andy Warhol and the band Velvet Underground over the use of his famous banana logo used on their first album.
Alternatively, write about the new development of a revolutionary spray-on coating that consumers could use to keep their bananas fresh for up to twelve days. There was even a recent story about two students who managed to hook bananas up to a computer and turn them into a keyboard.
All this content is interesting, exciting and informative for people who love bananas, and since there isn’t a major online news outlet about your industry, you could be it.
The next time you sit down to write content
Just think about who you are writing this content for and that every single word will reflect upon your brand and people’s opinions of it.
Write to entertain them, to intrigue them and to excite them, and I promise you they will come back to read your next post.
The same way you need to give a dog attention and affection to stop it writing into Jeremy Kyle, you need to do the exact same thing for your site’s content. If you take the time to do that, the fact that whatever you post online stays there forever won’t be a negative.
It will be a huge positive for your brand.