Its been said time and again, to search engines, "content is king", but when it really comes down to it, many companies say they don't have the time, patience, or budget for content creation. It begs the question; why then should they be ranked high in the search results? Maybe, just maybe, they're not thinking about it logically and aren't considering all the options at their disposal.
Here are 12 different types of content (not necessarily mutually exclusive) that when implemented properly, can drive tremendous volumes of visitors, links, and even business:
1. widgets/badges - for those unfamiliar with widgets, a widget is typically an interactive tool, that can be embedded in a web page. Since they're interactive, often they can help potential clients find solutions quicker than they otherwise might have, making them a very powerful online marketing tool. Sometimes widgets are also made available for download to other websites, making them a powerful link acquisition tool too. Below is an example of one such widget.
2. videos - a good video is difficult to beat. People like to hear and see things for themselves, as opposed to reading about them, or being told about them. Video makes this possible, and accordingly is very popular. At the same time, video can be instructional, entertaining, and/or informational. When well done, videos will drive tremendous volumes of traffic, links, and/or potential clients to a site ... and offers additional opportunities to appear in the search results
3. images - if a picture can say a 1000 words, then its also possible for images to generate 1000 visitors or links. We've seen many client sites, who's images drive 20%+ of their overall website traffic volumes. In many cases, images are the reason people visit websites ... they need to see what they're buying! All that to say, do not underestimate the power of good quality images!
4. research - people often buy from websites they've heard about before, because familiarity breeds loyalty and trust. One means of breeding familiarity and trust is to perform and publish unique research that others in your industry or potential clients will find useful. When well thought out, timely, and topical, such research can generate thousands of links, visitors, and potential clients. Good research also helps to establish you as an authority in your space.
5. awards - everyone likes to receive cudos, or acknowledgement of a job well done! Now image that you as a site owner offer the ability for others to take those cudos, and post them on their site for all to see. Its a powerful tool, often generating thousands of visitors and/or links.
6. contests - while not for every business, contests can generate alot of relevant links, and accordingly help a site rank much better. The key is to ensure that the contest somehow relates to your business.
7. news - sites that are routinely first to publish industry news, are often visited more frequently, generate more links, and are viewed more as industry authorities. Alternatively, those running news stories after the fact, typically don't experience all these benefits, unless they add some value or unique intepretation angle. Of course, one way to ensure the news is new and fresh is to make the news (aka a publicity stunt) ... so get creative!
8. blog posts - perhaps one of the most popular techniques to create content, and one of the most poorly done! Most don't understand the subtle nuances of creating blog content. I've posted about it previously (12 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid) as have many others, but the majority still continue to write blog content as if it were for another form of offline media.
Blog content generally consists of one of the four types listed below:
a. editorial/opinion based
d. news (see #7 above)
The type you choose should be based on your objectives.
9. do something "remarkable" - if a company truly does something remarkable and unique, and publishes it on their site, the content will take on a life of its own. What does this mean? Well, if you're a sausage manufacturer, manufacture the largest sausage on the planet. If you own a burger joint, offer a $2700 burger on the menu. Even if no one ever orders it, its something to mention on your website, and something interesting that others will notice and talk about (which results in links, visitors, and often clients). Consider this term alone "most expensive martini" ... there are 1200 mentions on it in Google, and presumably a good number of those mentions link to it!
10. create an ebook - much easier said than done, but creating a ebook can result in perceived authority, visitors, links, and .... business!
11. make and distribute applications - if you can find a way to make potential clients lives easier (online or offline), it can have a profound impact. Creating an online application such as a WordPress plugin, a calculator, or industry software, and hosting it for download via your site, can increase awareness of your site, your perceived authority in the industry, attract large volumes of visitors, links, and yes, even business.
12. user generated content - content added by others, is content that you didn't have to add yourself. With most business owner's arguing they don't have the time or budget for content, user generated content (UGC) would appear to be a logical solution. Although, most business owners then become concerned with their inability to control the content. Precautions can be taken however in most situations, making UGC a solution worth investigating.
If you know of other types of content strategies not encompassed in this list, please let me know, and I'll gladly add it with proper attribution to you.