Here’s a scenario that hopefully won’t cause any flashbacks to standardized testing:
A savvy businesswoman—let’s say her name is Irene to build the realism in this hypothetical scenario—runs an online store that sells custom print t-shirts. Irene loves designing patterns and loves sending special notes to her customers along with their orders.
An equally competent businessman—we’ll name him George—sells novelty bowties. George has a shop in his hometown, but also runs an online store that generates a large portion of his sales. He doesn’t interact very much with his customers through his online store, but he does have a friendly reputation with the customers who buy from his retail store.
A business that sells eCommerce software—this one can stay unnamed to stop us from breaking the fourth wall, but maybe the name begins with “Core” and ends with “Commerce,” who knows?—runs a website promoting their products, largely to other business owners like Irene and George.
Which of the three online businesses should be creating original content?
Trick question! All three.
We live in a content heavy age. It’s not just about creating a product, it’s about making a space for your audience to experience your company. Metaphorically, you’re inviting them to get coffee with your business and letting them discover more about you. Online marketing relies on establishing relationships with your audience and meeting their needs. And the best way to accomplish that is to create your own original content on your site.
Here are five reasons why your company should be creating content:
1) Hello, It’s Me: Building Your Brand
Creating a brand for your company is of extreme importance when it comes to online marketing. The time of faceless companies has passed; now your customers want to know who they’re buying products from. You have to build a consistent identity for your company, and what better way to do that than by creating new content to show what your business thinks is worth talking about, what values and ideas you promote? Content allows you to establish who you are, to show your company’s more personal aspects, and to connect.
2) Talk Content To Me: Creating Conversations
Original content invites your audience—both current customers and viewers who aren’t yet familiar with your company—to participate in your thought process. Communicating with your customers and showing that you care is a great way to build your brand. Your customers are also given a way to communicate with you and with the rest of your audience, which might consist of your competition who’s watching you—which is good! Communicating with other people in your field allows for innovation, feedback from your buyers, and, most importantly, ideas for your own company.
3) I’m a Doctor, Jim, Not an Engineer!: Establishing Yourself as an Expert in Your Field
When you create original content, you’re not only participating in conversations, but you’re starting and supplementing them as well. If you’ve done a good job with providing accurate and useful information in your content, or use your content to highlight your particular talents and PROVIDE advice, then you’re establishing your company’s reliability as an expert in your field of business. Which is perfect! You want your audience to consider you a trustworthy resource, and you want your audience to immediately associate your product with your brand.
4) Broaden Your Audience
Your audience usually finds their way to your product through search engines. And you need content for viewers to find through those online searches. While that seems fairly straightforward, think about the greater pull your site has with original content. Instead of only receiving traffic from viewers who specifically searched for your product, you’ll also get viewers who are searching keywords that relate to your content. Say you’re a company that sells kitchen utensils. If you post original recipes on your site or through a blog, you’re suddenly not just finding an audience who is specifically looking for new kitchenware, but you’re also reaching everyone who’s searching for new foods to explore. And that new audience might check out your full website and find that they really do need that new blender.
When a viewer is interested in your content, they can find their way to your product.
Keep in mind that creating content is not just advertising! Usually it’s anything but! Also, remember that your company’s original content might not look like another’s. Irene’s t-shirt company might create content through posting some of her random doodles and sketches, or even by sharing her art that’s not available for print. George’s bowtie website could feature how-to videos or articles different, complicated tie knots. And who knows? That eCommerce site might be running a blog with Internet marketing tips.
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