Archive for December, 2012

 

As a technology writing service, Write Angle does business in the heart of what’s become known as “content marketing”.  Frankly, we have never been entirely comfortable with that term. It’s always seemed like a redundancy — another gimmicky buzzphrase.

Marketing has always been about “content”. Written, illustrated photographed and now uploaded and downloaded on video and podcasts. All of it made even more ubiquitous — and downright intrusive at times — with the rise of the Internet and digital marketing.

It was the advent of search that made “content is king” a trendy concept — specifically search engines and search-engine optimization (SEO) . SEO has become its own industry category. But this past year has not been so good for a lot of SEO firms because of algorithm updating by Google to thwart efforts to game the rankings with low quality or “scraped” content, keyword stuffing and link schemes. Much of this content is stunningly low quality, which is not surprising since much of it is created by bots, not lazy writers. SEO consultancies collect data from Google and other sources and use the information to track site rankings. There was a time when Google gave a pass to companies using low-quality content and the scraped data they used to plump their ratings.  Happy to report that day is past.

Write Angle is in the Entrepreneur Magazine camp when it comes to SEO strategy in content marketing which is simply this: focus on the quality of your site in terms of visitor interactions, content value and other on-site elements — and lighten up on complex SEO techniques designed to boost rankings.

What we see going into 2013 is clear: Content quality will grow in importance. Don’t be among those who still rely on keyword-optimized or scraped (copied and pasted) content to fill your pages. Seek creators of top quality content to stock your site with real value.

“Getting your content quality up now,” said Entrepreneur’s A.J. Kumar, “offers one of the best opportunities to protect your site from future algorithm changes”.  It’s also a tried and true means of attracting and engaging qualified visitors you can convert into customers.

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Stock Photos: Making movies. Image: 6746033
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We read this analysis of “storytelling” recently and were struck by the similarities to the principles that can elevate marketing content from good to really good, or even great. Yes, we’re talking about the guidelines of Hollywood screenwriters.

Before you scoff, consider that your users and customers do not read your website. At least, not necessarily.  Neither do they devour your PDFs.  In fact, they steer clear of anybody’s “marketing content”.  However, they DO read what piques and holds their interest. And this is exactly what great storytelling is and does.  See if you don’t agree how something like a case study or a customer use-case is a close cousin to a great script:

Heroes: They draw an audience like a magnet.  Especially if the “hero” is a character with whom people can relate and identify.  If it’s an underdog fighting the odds, so much the better.  Maybe a beleaguered security professional making tradeoffs between network productivity — and the possibility of compromised data.  IT folks can certainly relate to this.

Antagonist: In a security case you’d call them the bad guys but “they” can also be an abstract. Like the “before” in a before-and-after set of “before” circumstances.  An example would be the conditions that existed in a company where employees are not free to utilize their own smartphones and tablets securely.  In such cases, mobility is a myth. And productivity suffers. Or, in a different sense, there is Apple vs. Microsoft where, in Apple’s messages, we can always count on Windows, or Android, being cast as the straw man or whipping boy.

Big Moment:  AKA, the “aha” that’s the hero’s awakening to what must be done to resolve the conflict, or rectify the wrong, of the situation at hand. “What we need is an app that enables our employees to bring their own devices and stay secure and productive while they access company data wherever they roam!”

Transformation: Now comes the commercial message.  The hero wields your product or service like Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber, overcoming the problem and the odds. Mission accomplished.

Does your content attract and hold the audience you’re looking for today?  Can it work harder? How can you transform your brand’s story into a nonstop page-turner?  Do you see opportunities for your existing product line or new offerings to be dramatized in compelling stories and cases?

 

(When he’s not posting on this blog, Stan DeVaughn sees to it that technology companies place priority on customer value in their marketing content and communications.  You can also read him at The Write Stuff, the blog of technology writing service Write Angle.)