Is your website content rich? And why does it matter? Great content captivates audiences and keeps them coming back to your website. It also fuels search engines (which are always on the lookout for new content) and can greatly improve search engine optimization (SEO). But what is great content? Where do you start and how can you keep your website fresh and compelling?
Here are a few tips.
Content Helps Define Your Brand
Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, and they are increasingly looking to the web (search engines, blogs, social media, reviews) to inform their buying decisions. But how can you optimize your online presence so that your business can proactively influence these pre-purchase decisions? Likewise, how can you continue a valued post-sales relationship so that a consumer keeps coming back to you?
Many small businesses make the mistake of operating websites that are, at face-value, simply a list of services, products and contact information. This is important information, but customers today are looking for more.
Your content shouldn’t be so much about your function, but about what you do for others – what is it that makes you unique, or defines your mission? Customers want to understand the big picture about your business – to learn more about what you do for your customers, not just the product or service itself – this is the story that you should be telling.
Step Back, Listen to Your Audience
So how do you tell that story?
Well, first you need to step back and start thinking objectively about your website and its content, then take some time to understand what people are looking for. What type of content are they seeking and responding to?
Stepping back isn’t easy, which is why it’s often worth hiring an expert—even if it’s just for some initial brand and industry research to help you better understand who your audience is, what their needs are and the types of content (images, audio, and words) that they respond to. An outsider can help you look at your brand objectively and communicate what it is that makes you unique.
Look at your current website analytics. Are any pages more popular than others? Are there things you can do to build on these? For example, if your website’s “Our Clients” page attracts a lot of hits, could you create a quick video interview with a client or showcase how they are using your product or service? Consider livening up your product pages by adding another content dimension—anything from the story behind the product to customer reviews (third party software can be integrated into your page to make this happen).
Commit to a Long-Term Content Program
If you want to produce compelling content that can have a direct and lasting influence on your bottom line, then you need to commit resources and energy for the long haul. Content creation is a full-time job.
Encourage Others to Be Content Producers
The good news is you don’t have to do all the work. Using social media and other interactive tactics such as polls, surveys, contests, and so on, you can encourage your audience to be a part of your content strategy. For example, you can encourage people to post photos and reviews. You can also look for guest bloggers (or other employees) to diversify the voice of your blog. Then, use social media to amplify your content and solicit shareable material from your fans and followers.
For some inspiring content ideas, check out these blogs from small business expert and SBA guest blogger, Anita Campbell:
- 8 Ways to Develop Online Content for Your Business – Even if You Hate to Write
- Never Run Out of Blog Topic Ideas: Here are 36
This short video from Google and SBA also explains how to use imagery on your website to showcase how your business is unique:
As you develop your content strategy, don’t forget that it’s vitally important to showcase the human side of your business. Look for ways to share information about the people behind your business and the customers who are key to its success. All play a part in making your business unique!
Lastly, have fun. Content connects your business to customers; it helps build your brand identity; and it creates community and keeps your customers educated about why they should continue to use you as a small business. The process and the results can be exciting and rewarding.