Monday, September 17, 2012

Content is King. End of Argument.

 Why do people read and follow the work of great authors? Why do the Iliad and the Odyssey have such a straddling presence even after so many centuries? For that matter, why is Shakespeare still relevant in today’s context? Because, not only do we like hearing about the yarns they spin, but also enjoy the manner in which these master raconteurs go about their business, stringing words to create works of art.

What is true for Milton is equally true for the friendly neighborhood content writer. Your content has to be meaningful, legible and well said. I am not the lone lunatic shouting about the efficacies of good content from the rooftops – current studies point out that US firms are quietly warming up to good content. As a matter of fact, it is being estimated that by the year 2016, US advertisers will spend upwards of US$ 77 billion on interactive digital content.

The trend will be further exacerbated due to the slowed down economic scenario as resources will be scarce and social media mavericks will rightly focus on good content as opposed spending on pushing content.

It is now more or less universally accepted that for small and medium sized entities that do not have a war chest for marketing, Social Media is the best place to be. Whether they are B2B or B2C, Social Media marketing is not only far cheaper than traditional media advertising, but is also much more cost effective. As one expert opined “to play online, you must have good, relevant content. Else, don’t waste your money, time and energy.”

Research shows that good content pays in a variety of ways. For one, it helps build trust and credibility. Companies that provide information and advice gratis are preferred by online buyers who are more likely not only to follow these companies, but also buy their products, abhorring competitors who don’t.

Secondly, an overwhelming majority of people today do research online, before buying goods and services. If they are able to access information, even sales pitches, they are more likely to hit the buy button in the home page.

Finally in these days of search engine domination, most of the traffic to your site will be routed through one of the engines and unless one types in your url, it is near impossible that the search engines will throw up your name in an organic search. The only way to overcome this is to post quality content at regular intervals.

Talking of “Quality Content”, here is what the experts have to say:

  • 8 out of 10 surfers “skim read” through content. So make sure that what you have to say contains the right words, terms, “triggers”.
  • Avoid outsourcing content from the cheapest destination chances are you will be consigned to where your content came from.
  • Most people prefer to read copy that is broke up with sub heads and bullets (look mama, I know the trick!)
  • You Tube is gaining popularity in an amazing rate. Incorporate small video clips – they are a sure way of increasing visibility and connect. Make sure the clips are small, relevant, taut and with legible audio. For heaven’s sake, do not upload stuff shot from your cell phone – as in the written word, quality counts in the visual communiqué too.

Creating a blog or a site is akin to sending a love letter. Whether the beau will respond depends on what is being communicated. If you can whisper the sweet nothings she wants to hear and say it from the bottom of your heart, the surfer will surely be yours.

Remember, it takes two to tango!  

- Chawm Ganguly
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