The marketing mantra of the decade is - Yes, your website is extremely important, but nothing on the web is more important than content. In fact, your website is nothing without content. 90% of your marketing efforts should be geared around quality content creation and content dissemination - something very few businesses understand, and even fewer actually implement.
In other words, your website needs solid marketing copy. And also, if you're not blogging or vlogging, newslettering, tweeting, facebooking and updating your website, then your competitors will. And if you're in a highly competitive industry, having a basic 5 page website won't do anything anymore!
Today's marketing goal is not getting left behind while our competitors release a constant stream of free articles, news, guides, whitepapers, infographics and updates.
Ok, we get it, "content is king" and "people need stories more than bread itself.." and "insert next inspiring content promotion quote here." But seriously, writing content can be stressful.
Some good news for coming year - it will be quality over quantity.
Publish good content, or don't publish anything.
By now, you probably know that your web “developer” isn’t going to write your content for you. The art of writing sales copy is quite different from the art of php programming. Meanwhile, good content isn't going to write itself -and that's really the key here now, good content. In the olden days, circa 1999, it used to be just any content (first time Internet users with their low expectations). Sorry, that ship has sailed. Now you actually have to try.
Content is so often overlooked. As business owners, project managers and web developers, we understand how tedious it can be to jot down words and plans before we get to do the more exciting things - like review colorful mock-ups and design prototypes. Before embarking on your content creation journey, consider our website content creation to-do list. By building a website around a foundation of quality content, your business will have the highest potential to generate leads.
Follow the content checklist below to lay the groundwork for an effective website and subsequent marketing process.
1. I have unique marketing copy written for my web pages
Your content should support your goals and talk directly to your audience about solving their problems. The most common trap is rambling on for pages about how great your company is, instead of addressing a potential customer’s needs head on.
2. I am using to-the-point scannable text, not lengthy paragraphs
Do your main pages have lots of headings, points, highlights and summaries? Or does it look like you regurgitated an old high school essay? Users are wired to scan web pages for headings and points. Avoid competing information, same sized headings and giant blocks of the same text. Most people will not read it. Just think about the last time you have actually read an entire web page.
3. I have designated landing pages for all areas of my business
If your website doesn’t have proper landing pages, then all subsequent marketing efforts are nulled. It’s like leading 10,000 hard-earned visitors to a shopping mall, and expecting them to find your products and services which are scattered all over random shops. Your target market will move on to your competitors if they can find exactly what they’re looking for sooner.
4. All my landing pages are built around professional sales copy
Does the content on your landing pages convince your audience to click through your website? Or does it just stall visitors: too many options, no direction, unclear value proposition, no social proof, lack of credibility, etc. Professional sales copy leads potential customers through an interaction that has the highest chance of resulting in a sale.
5. None of my content is plagiarized or paraphrased
If you copy someone else’s content, you might temporarily trick visitors into thinking you’re legit. But you won’t trick Google. Search engines will penalize you for duplicate content. Also, do not publish the same article more than once or copy it to another site so it exists in two places at the same time.
6. My content has been professionally proof read
Nothing screams unprofessional like an obvious spelling or grammar mistake. You're asking visitors to trust you. Grammatical errors are not a good sign and make visitors a lot less likely to convert.
7. I have consulted with a content strategist
Even if you don’t have the initial budget for high-powered content, remember that the return on investment from good content itself is tenfold. An initial consultation is usually free and at least points you in the right direction. Having a solid content strategy in place lets you funnel leads from every possible direction and maximize the number of website visitors who turn into customers.
8. I am using professional images or custom graphics
Figure out ahead of time who’s going to supply the visuals. Most web developers have access to a good stock photo database and will usually work with a limited number of images for a specific project. Some businesses require a photographer or custom graphics. Do not plan on taking a point and shoot camera and snapping amateur photos to post all over your landing pages. It’s better to have no images at all than low quality images.
9. My logo is up-to-date and compatible with the web
Good web design is based on your logo. If you have an old or awkward logo, the website just won’t ‘look right,’ something will always be off. In order to be compatible with all devices, your logo should be a high res file, horizontal or square, not vertical (with exceptions). Any taglines or small text should be separated or removed.
10. I have a long-term content marketing strategy
After your website is launched, think you can just sit back, relax and watch the money roll in? Not quite. The big job is still ahead of you. Content creation is an ongoing process. Your content is competing with other content for prominence on the web on a daily basis. At minimum, you need to have a blogging and newsletter platform set-up to get the lead gen tools consistently churning.
We never said it was easy, but once you have a system in place and get into the habit maintaining a certain level of content output on a regular basis, the rest is gravy.
Competitive industries need to be intense about it, but there are plenty of niche industries that still only need a few solid pages of content and articles with decent backlinks on their site that will open the floodgates to traffic and leads. If you're in one of those industries, that isn't too tech savvy, then the Internet is still yours. Use it or lose it!
And to all the businesses with hardcore competition, we understand your pain. Better get cracking - the content ain't gonna write itself!