Content marketing, duh

Way back in the mid 1990’s when the Internet was younger and a little more ragged the pundits were saying “content is king”.

The thought was that whoever owned the best content would own the web.

How we use the Internet has changed a little since, but content is still king. The main difference is that now the content that describes content is emperor.

Google have built an empire on this kind of meta-data and Facebook appear to be about to do the same thing with their Open Graph service.

Clearly content and the content that describes content is central to the Internet.

Without great content the Internet would be a simple request-response medium devoid of the sparkle which gets people online first thing in the morning, all day at work and all night.

With great content the Internet is a playpen, a shop, a map and a million conversations.

Today content production matters more and more. People are still looking at how to create the best content whether it be copy, pictures, video, applications or games.

Apple have built an empire based on the delivery of top content onto a mobile device, Adobe have grown by providing content creation tools, bloggers like copyblogger and problogger are popular because they educate folks about creating stunning copy that works, and of course Google have $26B in the bank because they own the metadata, the content about content.

The art of content creation is more and more relevant today. It is the one thing that continues to hold the web back.

Good content engages, delights, inspires, provokes, pokes and sells.

The businesses that excel on the web are expert content creators or the businesses that facilitate the creation of great content.

The rest of the web is either bad or mediocre.

Buying crap content has never been easier. In places like India and the Phillipines second-rate copy can be bought by the pound. And unfortunately it shows.

Savvy onlinee marketers recognise that without enticing with clever content, buyers will go elsewhere.

So how do you go about creating great content?

Ask your audience

It’s as simple as finding out what your audience are interested in, what beguiles them and what annoys them. If you have a website then take a look at the keywords they use to find your website. If you have an internal search on your site then look at what people are searching for. The difference between what people are looking for and your content is your opportunity. Create this kind of content and your traffic will increase for sure.

Think outside the box

I love words but sometimes a picture will do. Or maybe a video is what’s required. Depending on your audience, your product or services you may be able to entice people with a well crafter product gallery. The great thing about Google images is that there tends to be less competition and thanks to blended search you can often appear at the top of search engines a lot faster. A friend of mine gets heaps of traffic soley from Google images for very competitive search terms.

Gary Vaynerchuk built a million dollar wine business by realising that most wine sites were boring and people wanted to be entertained not intimidated. His website winelibrary.com is a lot of fun and not stuffy and boring.

Study the competition

Your competitors may help you see the opportunity faster. If your industry has always done things a certain way and spoken to customers in a certain way then you could stand out just by being different. Richard Branson’s Virgin are a fabulous example of speaking to customers differently. Who knew that carry-on luggage warnings could emphasise great service and not be authoritative and threatening?

Practice, practice, practice

It’s hard to be great at something if you don’t do it often, so create as much content as you can and if it doesn’t work out, move on and create more. Start the artist pages practice where you write 3 pages every morning. Take a leaf out of the terrific Aspect Jones who shoots and uploads a photo everyday. Practice and you will get better at it.

If you don’t feel confident writing, taking photos,shooting and editing video or spouting poetry at the moon then pay someone who does.

So avoid the crap and get creating. The Internet depends on you!

What do you think?