I am constantly flabbergasted at the way many Internet Marketers approach content marketing. For whatever reason, it seems to me they are intent on doing just the opposite of what common sense and reason would dictate.
Here is what I mean:
1. Choose to write about a subject that is universally interesting and go for wide appeal and as many eyeballs as possible.
I believe you should do just the opposite: tightly niche your subject so that those most interested will find value and great benefit in your content – don’t worry about all the others that you’ll lose in doing this – concentrate on those who will be your eventual buyers. The global reach of the Internet is huge and nearly every niche has more potential prospects than you can serve.
2. Don’t offend or be too critical because you don’t want to lose potential prospects.
I say, most often it is best to take a stance, tell it like it is, and stick to your guns. Wishy-washy and milk-toast opinions are not usually bankable – they suggest you don’t really know what you’re doing – or you’re merely trying to appease everyone. This is not a popularity content. It’s business and you need to define who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish even though it will push some away from you. Those that believe as you do will be loyal fans.
3. Keep it professional, business-like, and forget about “me.”
No, it’s not about you in the sense that you should do whatever you want and forget about what everyone else things. In many ways, you are the business! You can be professional and still show your personality, your sense of humor, and other character traits at the same time. “Business-like” often leads to “boring,” “life-less,” and “uninspiring” content. If you want to develop a relationship with your readers, let them know who and what you are. It is often said that prospects buy from those they know, like, and trust. How are you going to get to “know, like, and trust” if you hide behind anonymity?
4. Content quantity, i.e., “the more the better,” is an end in itself.
Which is better to have available at your web site: 500 niche articles or 50 niche articles? I think most would choose the former. But I say, it’s better to author, or outsource, or otherwise produce 50 really high quality articles for the same time or money. Yes, I realize article price is not always a reliable indicator of quality – so I don’t want to argue that point – but my belief is, generally, quality is proportional to cost. So for the same budget you can choose to spend your money on quantity or quality.
5. Just the facts, please.
Readers want the facts and there is no place in your content for stories, humor, asides, references, examples, etc. Many content producers go for “short and sweet,” cut-to-the-bone nothing-but-meat content. Keep the articles to 300 words, often less. I don’t believe that is what most readers want.
Don’t be afraid to give “reasons why” and personal examples of the things you say in your content. Spice it up, add some entertainment value, make it interesting and personable. I often produce content that is like a short report of 1,500 words or more. Granted, keep the “fluff” out – no one wants it – but by all means, don’t make your content seem like an afterthought with high marks for brevity. Too often, “summaries” just don’t exude the value that “in depth” offers.
And short posts or articles just don’t give you the time you need to treat a subject in depth! Many of the PLR whitewash (I call it) articles are around 300-400 words in length. Why? Because the writer didn’t take the time to research or add new thoughts and value. He did a quick summary of something he read online at Wikipedia or someone’s blog and is passing it off as a well written article.
6. All content should lead to a sale.
I say, if you do that you will never get the reach or interest in your content that you could get if you genuinely try to help your readers and don’t expect a purchase in return. Folks don’t like to be sold. They’d rather be given answers to their questions and concerns and then make their own judgements about which products are best suited to their needs. I believe the art of “soft selling”, in fact, very soft selling, is an incredible tool that content providers can learn to use to make sales without appearing to be selling anything. When the line between “selling” and “helping” is difficult to distinguish, you know you’re becoming a skilled content writer.
7. Content sells itself.
No it doesn’t. Content, just like any web site, or service, or product, needs to be actively promoted and marketed if it is to be effective and worth the effort to create. The Internet is a vast sea of content of every type and quality. If you want yours to be noticed, you always need to specifically target your audience and drive them to your content – or at times, push your content to them. Of course, Internet marketing is all about the details of how to execute that critical step.
I certainly welcome contrasting views and dissimilar conclusions – isn’t that what we are all about?
To your online business success!