Content Management

5 Reasons You Should Be Blogging

"Why do I need a blog?" It seems I get some variation of this question from one of my clients nearly every day. They hear that blogging "is the thing to do" but are not sure of the tangible benefit.

Part of the hesitancy is their reluctance to embrace the new reality of marketing in general and content marketing in particular. They have yet to realize that customers today want to be informed and educated and not simply "sold to."

Another reason is that they're overwhelmed with what is already on their plate and aren't thrilled about adding another task to their "to do" list, especially one that requires an ongoing commitment.

My answer is always the same.

Their customers want to hear from them in ways that they haven't in the past and blogging is the key first step. More ominously, I warn them that the new interactive requirement is not going away and although they may resist, their competitors certainly won't.

They need to get in or they will be left behind.

Here are the five major reasons why they - and you -  should be blogging.

1. Blogging increases traffic to your website - The first step in making a sale today is getting people to your site. Regardless of how visually attractive your site may be, people won't be going there unless there's a compelling reason for them to do so. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three internet users read blogs. Providing a well-written blog that informs is a key factor in getting people to visit.

2. Blogging sets you up as an authority - You obviously are competent in your field or you wouldn't be successful. Share your knowledge with your prospects and customers and they will come to look at you as an expert in the field. When it comes to their buying decisions, most people want to be comfortable before parting with their hard-earned cash. They want to buy from people who know what they are doing. Sharing authoritative content will set that tone.

3. Blogging provides a personality - People buy from people. Whether dealing with a one person operation or a multi-site global organization, your prospect's buying decision ultimately comes down to one person buying from another. Producing a well crafted blog provides a voice and personality that will make your customers more comfortable doing business with you.

4. Blogging opens a dialogue - The days of hiding in the back office or behind a monolithic impersonal website are long gone. At least from successful companies they are. Customers want to have input rather than a lecture. Your blog, while informing, can also solicit feedback from your customers - feedback that is crucial to developing and growing your business.

5. Blogging works - There's growing data which shows that posting regular blogs with informative content ultimately generates incremental sales. According to research done by Hubspot covering 2011-2012, companies that blog attracted 55% more visitors to their sites. That same research showed that 46% of those companies generated revenue as a result of their blogs. According to a University of Texas report, the top 50,000 blogs generated $500 million in revenue.

What do you say? Are you blogging? If not, why not?


Your Content Game Plan: Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Content Management

You can't get more than a sentence or two into a post or article on marketing without colliding into one of these terms: Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Content Management. Within a paragraph or so, you'll likely encounter them all. Those of us in the content creation world are familiar with all three, but that might not be the case for everyone. So today I thought I'd go to the experts and provide some basic definitions of these three critical concepts that make up your overall Content Game Plan.

Content Strategy

Michael Brenner (@brennermichael), Senior Director of #Marketing and Content Strategy for SAP defines it as "the mindset, culture and approach to delivering your customers' information needs in all places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process."

Mark O'Brien (@newfangledmark), CEO of Newfangled Web Developers, defines it as "a plan for regularly adding unique, expert, and indexable content to your site."

Kristina Halvorson (@halvorson), Content Strategist, Founder and President of Brain Traffic  says that "Content Strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. " She says the Content Strategist must define why we're publishing it in the first place.

In a word: Content Strategy is the why of content.

Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe), Founder of the Content Marketing Institute says that the formal definition of Content Marketing is "creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

Robert Rose (@robert_rose), Strategist @CMI/Analyst at Digital Clarity Group says that "traditional marketing and adverting is telling the world you're a rockstar. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one."

Jason Falls (@jasonfalls), founder of Social Media Explorer defines it as "using any type of content (newsletters, blog posts, white papers, video, tweets, podcasts, wall posts) to attract an audience you wish to market to."

In a word: Content Marketing is the what of content.

Content Management

Kevin P. Nichols (@kpnichols), Director and Practice Lead for Content Strategy, Sapient Nitro, says it "designs the processes and structures as well as implements technologies to manage content from acquisition and publication to storage."

Laurence Hart (@piewords), Information Professional, CIO for AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) calls it "the coordinated management of all content throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use content from within any business context."

Bernard Kohan, Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Comentum Corporation defines it as "an application that provides capabilities for multiple users with different permission levels to manage content, data, or information of a website project or internet/intranet application."

In a word, Content Management is the how of content.

There you have it. The Why, What and How of Content.

How does your Content Game Plan shape up? Is it a winner?


Content is Still King: 5 SEO Experts Speak

In 1992, James Carville, a key advisor to presidential candidate Bill Clinton, came up with a memorable slogan for the campaign: It’s the economy, stupid. As the battle rages over how best to incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into website copywriting, more and more SEO experts are returning to a basic idea that can be similarly summed up: It’s the content, stupid.

The “stupid,” is probably harsh, but there is no doubt that the SEO discussion is shifting from a focus on “technology” to an emphasis on “content.”

Here is what five SEO experts have to say on the subject.

Paul Boag (@boagworld) co-founder of Headscape from his Smashing Magazine article,  “The Inconvenient Truth about SEO.”

- “We shouldn’t be optimizing for search engines at all. We should be optimizing content for people.”

- “Your primary objective should be better content, not higher rankings.”

- “In short, write useful content.”

He suggests you do this through white papers, blogs, research findings, case studies, user generated content and interviews among other things.

Gisele Navarro Mendez (@giselenmendez), Upstream Connections’ Social Community Manager in her In Social We Trust post  “The SEO Way of Thinking Needs to Go.”

- “Instead of building links, try building relationships.”

- “People don’t care about SERPs or the way Google works. They will click on the links they want, but if you have failed at delivering good content /products /services /support, they will leave your site and never look back.”

- “People will find your site if there’s a network of happy customers supporting your business.”

Jonathan Gebauer (@jobebauer), founder Explore B2B in B2B’s article, “Debunking SEO: Jonathan Gebauer.”

- “Good SEO is natural SEO.”

- “Provide strong, engaging content that people are interested to read.”

- “Focus on being an entertaining and reliable content provider.”

Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone), VP of Strategy at Overit in B2B’s article  “Debunking SEO: Lisa Barone”

- “Shift away from creating ‘unique content’ to ‘purposeful content.”

- “Content has always had the crown, but now it’s got the respect to go with it.”

- “Focus on the right party – customers, not the search engines.”

Melissa Fach (@SEOAware), CEO of SEO Aware and Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal in B2B’s article “Debunking SEO: Melissa Fach.”

“You cannot be successful without content and SEO combined. I know there are those that get a site at the top of page one with crappy content, but they have nothing in place for conversion and/or maintaining a solid audience. So even if you get to #1, without the right content, you fail anyway.”

What do you think? Technology or Content? How best to reach your prospect base?