One bit of advice you’ll read over and over about business websites is that “content
is king”. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but most marketing and web
advisors agree that content is very important. Great! But how do you get this
fabulous, important content that surfers are looking for?
Most businesses assume that they can create it in-house. Not a bad idea. After all,
they would be writing about their own subject. That shouldn’t be so hard. Should it?
Well, very few of us are natural writers; able to turn any subject into scintillating
prose that our public will eat up. Even for those who are able to do this, do they–
do you–have the time? And what’s your time worth?
Quality content is expensive to create. For your website to be a useful marketing or
sales tool, the cost of delivering clients must be low enough to make it profitable. A
difficult balancing act.
There are a variety of ways you can “develop” content for your website, which don’t
include huge expenditures of time or cash, including the following:
COMPILE and CONDENSE
In general, people prefer to read short, sharp copy on the web. (Articles like this one
are one of the exceptions. 🙂 ) If you have content in other formats, summarise it.
It’s far cheaper than creating content from scratch.
Also, you can summarise content from other web sites or print media. It’s true.
Under copyright law, you CAN use other people’s material, using the principle of
“fair use”. To see how to do this, read the newspaper and trade magazines. They
often are ‘reporting’ on someone else’s information. You take some of the material
you want to use directly as quotes, and write your own commentary around it.
For a company whose business is problem solving, case studies can provide tonnes
of interesting content. Writing up a case study is quite simple. Do it in three parts.
1. The situation the client faced. 2. The solution you proposed and implemented. 3.
The results your client received from your solution. There’s no need for fancy prose.
Just the facts ma’am.
There is no less expensive content than a link. Some websites gain all of their
popularity through their links. In fact, that’s all search engines and directories are,
just huge collections of links.
You can build a large collection of hard-to-find, specialised links, exclusive to your
industry. This will make you a resource for those looking for the websites you link
The downside is if someone is coming to your site to search for a particular website,
they will soon be leaving your site to visit the link. You need to make the rest of
your site intriguing enough to keep these searchers with you.
The best kind are reciprocal links, where you trade links with other websites who
attract the same sort of traffic as you are looking for. Think of it as a form of barter.
Some advisors tell you not to link to your competitors. I disagree. Your competitors’
websites are the ideal places to exchange links with. (If they have the nerve to.)
To see more about how to find reciprocal links, read my article called a “Quick Guide
to Finding Reciprocal Links” at http://www.capstonecomm.com/articleindex.html
Does your site need a substantial amount of new content on a regular basis?
Content that you don’t already create. If so, the ideal solution may be to form an
alliance with someone who does produce the right sort of content. (Here, you likely
don’t want to ally yourself with a competitor.)
A writer might want more exposure on the web, so will allow you to run his articles
in exchange for links back to his own website or e-mail. These links would appear
in the full bio, which is published along with every article he gives you. Other
content producers might need something you produce on a regular basis. That need
might be the basis to build the alliance from.
There are many authors on the web selling general content, and willing and able to
develop custom content for you. There are also organisations devoted to developing
and selling content. These include news feeds, many of which may be appropriate to
GET YOUR VISITORS TO CREATE IT
This can be best of all. There are a number of tools to enable your visitors to
generate content: mailing lists, discussion lists, chat rooms, client reviews, etc. (For
example, Amazon gets its customers to write online reviews of books they have
These tools can be set up to run automatically, but there is a danger to the ‘hands
off’ approach. Spammers can pollute your discussion list with their advertising. Chat
rooms can degenerate into rude and lewd war zones. Mailing lists can be abused in
the same fashion. For these tools to work in your favour, they must be watched on a
daily (or even tighter) basis.
There you have it. Six different approaches to creating “King Content”. Do you have
any other ways of generating content I haven’t mentioned? I’d like to hear from you
if you do.