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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Having been in marketing for more than a dozen years, I can tell you that one thing that positions a company and product better than any other, is original content. Having unique content that is relevant to your audience can dramatically improve your business.

What is original content?

Anything that your write and publish (online, pdf, ebook, blog, etc.) is considered original content.  Often times creating original content is seen as a nice to have and not a must-have.  However, if anyone is to really make a difference for their products or brand, generating original content needs to be front and center.

This is why websites like and MSNBC are so well known - original content.  Everything on their site is authored and done so with care and attention.  Now you might be say, "I sell widgets.  What does original content have to do with my business?"  That's an excellent question and one worth answering.

If am in the market for buying a widget, I'm probably going to search online.  From my first search, original content is going to win out.  Sites that have original content, that write their own reviews, product descriptions, and so on, are going to be ranked higher in search results.  Additionally, as I engage with the content - perhaps product reviews or descriptions - I'm going to move through the purchase decision process and buy something.

Sites that are using descriptions from other websites or don't have much content that speaks about widgets, aren't very engaging.  A site that creates and publishes different reviews, opinions, usage suggestions, and so on, will keep readers engaged and moving towards the ultimate outcome of a purchase.

Original content doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming.

The complaint I often hear is that creating original content can be very time consuming or simply cost a bundle to have written.  In my experience it doesn't have to be.  Of course writing content for a website initially is going to take some time.  Once established, publishing a new article or adding some information from time to time is easy to do.

There are also plenty of plug-ins and other applications that can integrate reader comments, product reviews and so on.  By using these widgets, you can quickly integrate new content into your website site that is both relevant and meaningful.  Many of these widgets are free or very low cost.

If you're searching for original content, there are sites out there such as eLance that can connect you with writers, publishers, and experts to author whatever content you need created.  Most authors can now write for the web or print.  Don't be discouraged by the need for original content, embrace it.

Use original content to generate leads.

One of my favorite ways to use original content is to offer access to specialized information at a price.  Browsers may be interested for example in downloading a guide on how others have used their widgets (previous example) to do a special kind of project.  By asking browsers simply for their name and email, you can add them to your auto responder or prospect list.

Creatively using original content to get individuals to opt in is the first step in creating a pool of potential customers.  Think of their greatest needs, challenges, and requests for information and author something of value.  The result will be meaningful content that they are willing to exchange something for - usually contact information.

Original content is necessary for being successful online.  If you want to rank well on search engines, find a pipeline of potential customers, and be a resource for existing customers who continue to buy from you, then consider developing original content and you're sure to win every time


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