When the Internet first took off among ordinary computer users, businesses were slow to react. Many of the largest businesses were caught flat footed, unable to even secure a good domain name or communicate effectively with their customers. We probably all recall the days when businesses were asked: “Do you have a website?”. This was followed by the SEO gold rush as businesses fought their way to the top of Google by hook or by crook, and now in the post Panda and Penguin world we know that content marketing is the next “big thing”.
The same pattern is now repeating itself in the new Web 2.0 world. While many businesses recognize the importance of social media, few know how to use this new medium to communicate with customers, build brand loyalty and set themselves apart from the competition.
Whether you are working with the traditional Internet or the new world of social media, good content is key to your success. The term “content is king” has been used so often it has become a marketing cliché, but the term persists primarily because it is so true. Creating fresh, compelling content is a key component of online success.
One of the most important things for businesses to realize is that – no matter what other business they are in – they are also in the publishing business. Content creation is a form of publishing – and a necessary one for online success. Whether you sell widgets, give legal advice or do taxes, if you are online, you need to think like a publisher.
That means setting a realistic schedule for the creation and publishing of your content – and sticking to those deadlines like any other publisher would. Whether you create your own content or hire a professional freelancer, you need to stick to a strict publishing schedule.
That schedule will vary from business to business. There is no one size fits all solution to content creation. Some businesses may need to create daily content to keep their customers engaged and interested. Others may find that a weekly, or even monthly, schedule works best. The key is to understand your own customers and set your schedule accordingly.
It is important to note that sites like Twitter and Facebook are more immediate in nature than traditional websites, so a more frequent publishing schedule often works best. It is also important to publish quality timely content keyed to the nature of the business. A tax preparation firm, for instance, might publish a list of year-end tips just after Christmas, followed by an article on tax planning in the new year. A company that sells gift products would want to start engaging with customers well in advance of the Christmas shopping season. This proactive approach can mean the difference between success and failure – especially on social media.
The world of social media provides businesses with a wealth of opportunities to grow their businesses, build brand awareness and gain a loyal customer base. The right content is the key to making it all happen. Content is still king, even in a Web 2.0 world.
Ashley Bryan is owner of Website Strategies, a website optimisation company based in Queensland, Australia.