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Why Content is Not King
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article that popularized the phrase “content is king”. In it, he stated many predictions about the web that eventually did come true. But, not all.
Over the past 2 years talking to CMO’s and marketing executives about their marketing organizations and key organizational challenges, to a person they are all focused on sustained lead generation. Their main business focus was on producing and leveraging content – and yes, they too believed that content is king.
More than 50% of these CMOs agree that the investment in producing content is not generating the results that they require to scale their businesses. Why? Is it the quality? Could it be that over 50 percent of these companies have produced poor quality content? Not likely. More than ever, marketing industry pundits now argue that content is not in fact King. Instead, the real crown goes to ‘optimized content’!
Optimized content rules!
When most people hear ‘optimization’, they think first of improving the visibility of web content in online search engines (SEO). While that is very important, it is not the optimization I am discussing here.
An important part of the optimization of content is to efficiently distribute it so that it functions well on desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices like smartphones, and tablets. Then, deliver the content to these devices that is relevant to the interest of your audience – such as white papers, case studies, videos, eBooks, etc.
In aforementioned article, Bill Gates further explained, "If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines."
If you want to reach the web audience with your stories and valuable content – whether about yourself or your product/service – it must be optimized to offer a dynamic experience, and reward consumption of the content with personal interactions.
Where is everybody?
The web had a great 15-year run as the only digital content game in town. Over the past few years, we have become immersed in a diverse multi-screen viewing environment; much of which is designed for digesting content. All of this content begs to be consumed by reading, watching and listening – not computing.
More than 35% of your audience is on mobile devices – and at a rate that grows exponentially each year. Are you meeting them where they are? Are you leveraging responsive web pages, and amazing mobile experiences with native or hybrid HTML5 apps? With the growing mobile device consumption, analysts predict mobile devices will drive over 50% of web traffic by 2015.
To meet your audience where they are, have a focused approach to content optimized for tablets and smartphones. Content creators now have the opportunity to realize higher engagement, and a straight-line to conversion from presentation capabilities that are personal and engaging.
How do I make my optimized content…king?
Quality optimized content is centered on good storytelling, and this content is at the intersection of SEO, digital engagement, and social media distribution.
By quality content, I mean to create content relevant and connected to your organizations goals and brand, while meeting your audience’s interests and needs. Content that communicates your message and that is congruent with your business mission and values.
There are many lenses through which content must be optimized, such as search (mentioned above), consumption on social media and blogs, and engagement through social sharing. For a complete holistic success – you must have a strategy.
Optimized content marketing strategy is the art of understanding precisely what your prospects and/or customers need to know and then producing optimized content based on those needs, and distributing the content.
For strategic success, consistently create and publish content that provides value, tells a great story, and engages your audience. If your content isn’t compelling, and engaging – people will not pay attention. In contrast: Fresh, engaging, relevant, and timely content leads to search visibility, social sharing, and recognition as a thought leader. Then people will take the next steps toward consideration and purchase.
The social media “distribution technologies” of Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and others provide greater connectivity and opportunity for engagement than ever before. Don’t just publish – or push out your content – interact with your audience and create advocacy through engagement.
For social media distribution, it is crucial to have a digital strategist in your organization, or through an agency. He or she will know about timing posts, tweets, blogs, and press releases; then align content messaging to the social media distribution channel with and engagement strategy to execute with the digital marketing team.
Leverage content to inform, build trust, and convey your company's reputability. If you have written and optimized your content correctly, it will also give your visitor many ideas how to put what you are selling to potentially new, exciting, and essential uses. Optimized content is critical to turn your audience into customers.
The Road Ahead
For today’s digital marketers, content has always been king and has never been more powerful than it is today.
When it comes to content, there’s no excuse not to socialize, advertise, publicize and most importantly – optimize.
As Bill Gates also said in that famous article – “Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products -- a marketplace of content.”
So fuel the conversations, engage and interact to make your optimized content – king!
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