Creating Content that Works
I’ve recently had a number of client discussions about creating content for websites and blogs. The below information is adapted from an article I wrote for the KY Dental Association’s membership publication in 2012. It provides several tips to remember if you’re goal is creating content that works.
When it comes to the Internet, there’s a saying that rings true, “Content is king.” However, what exactly does that mean and how can you make it work for you? Before we jump into this, let’s consider a few issues:
- Content provides information for the search engines (e.g. Google) to review and stash in their “memory banks.”
- When writing effective website content, it is important to understand the goal for the site (e.g. informative, educational, persuasive, etc.).
- Content still needs to be written in a way that attracts the viewer’s attention.
- Most people forget the previous point.
So let’s focus briefly on content creation.
Google and other search engines continue to place emphasis on quality content. The key is to have a consistent trickle of new content over time.
As you consider topics, try laying them out on an editorial calendar. This exercise helps you to make sure that you have pages/post addressing the various practice areas of your firm. It’s not uncommon to have a single individual, or small group, assigned to creating content. The problem is that people tend to write about subjects they themselves are interested in or have a certain level of expertise.
Make sure you have a diversity of topics so you appeal to a broader range of potential clients.
If your firm handles a number of types of cases, contributing articles for one subject is great for that single practice area. However, it can lead to an over-emphasis and leave the reader with the impression that the other areas really aren’t that important to you. Focus on achieving balance when you’re creating content.
Using an editorial calendar enables you to visualize specifically what topics are being covered. You can also use it to identify which channel(s) you’re going to use to disseminate the information (e.g. web page, blog post, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, trade publications and even YouTube).
In business, the acronym WIIFM (pronounced wiff-em) stands for What’s In It For Me. It’s a key question I try to answer any time I’m creating content for a website or writing a blog post. Ultimately, to keep the reader engaged, you’ve got to remember that to some extent we’re all selfish.
Time is our most precious asset. In most cases, people are willing to give you some of their time if you can provide something useful or valuable. When you’re drafting your article, pick out a few key points, but instead of simply dumping a bunch of facts and figures, consider how and/or why this information is important to the reader. Then, write from that perspective.
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Fact #1: Our business uses complex accounting software and has invested hundreds of hours in developing ways to sell our services to more and more clients.
Consider the WIIFM approach: Our firm can help you to work thought complicated accounting issues by utilizing the latest accounting systems and our first-hand experience.
Fact #2: I have established a suburban office so I can get home quicker.
Consider the WIIFM approach: Our convenient suburban location means that you don’t have to fight downtown traffic just to meet with us.
To be clear, I’m not saying you should manipulate the readers/prospective clients. If they see value in what you’re providing, you’re much more likely to have piqued their interest and possibly convinced them to engage with you.
Once you’ve finalized your draft, make sure you’ve inserted a few on-page links to other pages within your website or blog. Doing so enables your readers, and the search engines, to easily access related topics on other pages. This is an omission I see fairly often.
Creating content that works takes effort, but you’ll get better with it each time you do it. Plan the topics for the month, make sure you’re writing with the prospective client in mind, link the new content to some existing pages, then broadcast the content across a variety of channels.
The next time you are about to upload a bunch of information, remember to ask yourself an important question, “If I’m the reader, WIIFM?”
If you found this post helpful, please share it with your colleagues and friends. I’m available to consult with you about practice management and business development issues. You can contact me at: (502) 208-9639.