The Content Marketing Divide: Have and Have Not (Judging a Company’s Home Page)

The Swedish Academy's reason for awarding the prize to John Steinbeck reads, "for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humour and a keen social perception."
The Swedish Academy’s reason for awarding the prize to John Steinbeck reads, “for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humour and a keen social perception.”

If you own a web site, blog or even a social media account, you quickly realize the need for “content”. The word itself reflects an early technologists view of how to move forward. Once a site created a “framework”, it needed “content”. Sites like Ebay, Amazon and Craig’s List (and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), created a platform for people to “publish” their “content”. For site owners buying a domain and installing WordPress or Joomla is the same. Very quickly you realize, content is what makes a site. Like a book, you can have a great cover, but what is the story? Who reads the book? What do you say (is there a moral)? What style do you write? What competing books do you sit next on the book store shelf? How much do you charge for your book? This analogy is a way to explain an attribute of content most people understand. Yet they seem to either ignore or leave as a low priority.

The old English saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is how I see the current world of content marketing divide. Some companies have a nice home page. They hired designers, video producers and even highly skilled copywriters. They have a great tag line and even a few slider screens with nice pictures and a short blurb. But as you well know, eventually people will have to go into the site. They will mostly judge a company, it’s product, the use and even it’s quality, by what they read. Some products and companies can supplement written content with graphics and video. But it’s the writing and to some degree the formatting that will serve a reader. It’s the most useful in terms of search,  social media linking, sales support and mostly company (and product) image.

When you design a long term content marketing plan, think first in terms of a book. This will help you design the “chapters” (probably site sections). It will help you create an “index” (this is what SEO serves today). It will serve in terms of “telling a story”: is your message about a quality product or a useful feature? Do you offer “entertainment” value? (can you help your reader understand something with humor or a light analogy? This is what I have done in the beginning of the post) Are you going to help the reader with new skills? knowledge of a new technique? or something else. If you can be Steinbeck for your readers, you many not get a Nobel Prize, but you certainly will be ahead of the pack. That’s a great start…

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