Mar 072012
 

This may sound like a rant. In a sense it is – but one done as a serious warning.

A job ad appeared in my inbox a couple days ago. It matches one of my Google Alerts, so I glanced through. Cloud services provider in Southern California, okay. Looking for a Web Content Writer. I’m not looking for full-time, but I might know someone…

Then I saw this.

“Fresh graduates encouraged to apply.”

*Insert record-scratch sound here!*

No pay listed. But considering that line, I think it’s a low-salary gig.

Worse still – looks like they don’t value web content very much.

Going Cheap on Content Means You Don’t See Content’s Value

Wanting a fresh college grad to write content might make business sense, in terms of ROI and budget. But if you’re looking at content as an expense, your values are messed up.
Putting one college grad in charge of content creation just to save money? It means web content is “low man on the totem pole” at your office.

Let me say it another way.

You’ve placed the lowest priority on the most powerful marketing tool available.

(Please note – I’m NOT saying this to belittle college grads. We would not have Google or Twitter without them! I just don’t think they should be the ones writing content, if that content is not valued by their employer.)

Low Value on Content, Low Respect for Readers

There’s danger in devaluing web content.

More content is created now than ever before. Much of it is so poorly-written that it’s lost in the swamps of Low Traffic Land.

Why? Because the writers (and their work) were not valued by the organization.

The attitude isn’t new; Brain Traffic addressed it in 2009. It’s pervasive though. And it doesn’t stop there.

Not valuing content suggests one scary thing: You don’t value your audience either.

Giving content creation to someone fresh out of academia? Who’s had little (if any) real-world experience with marketing and user research?

Readers will think your company doesn’t know what they’re doing!

Don’t Dump the Foundation of Marketing (Content) on “The New Guy” & Forget About It

Content creation is not rocket science, I admit. But it isn’t easy either.

If you’re just throwing words on a webpage, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of persuasive power.

Content’s real power comes from:

  • Understanding your reader (user research)
  • Employing content strategy to convert readers, capture leads, develop them into sales, and build a regular client base
  • Taking into account everything from audience interest points to SEO to future content

All of this is part of content creation. But you won’t reap these benefits if you don’t value it.

Throwing one inexperienced person at web content? You devalue the content, and risk insulting your audience. The people who keep you in business.

Have you encountered this before? Businesses that treat content like a low-value commodity?
Was your impression of their business affected as a result?

Jun 222010
 

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged here lately is because I was writing up a guest post for the Content Marketing Institute. (Okay, and working too. That tends to take up time.)

And now that guest post is up! Observe:

How to Avoid a Never-Ending Edit Cycle (The Dangers of “Just a Few More Changes”)

Who should read this?

  • Content Writers, Freelance or Staff
  • Marketing/Marcom Managers
  • Smart Companies Who Use The Above

Why?
It’s a reminder about edits. Specifically, why marketing pros should keep the edit cycle in mind. Why you should have a policy when it comes to every edit cycle. And, in case that doesn’t work and you’re stuck in an endless back-and-forth of “just a few more changes,” how to break that cycle and still come out with content intact.

My sincere thanks to the Content Marketing Institute (and Michele Linn in particular) for being so open and helpful. If your job has anything to do with the creation, publication and online marketing of content, visit www.ContentMarketingInstitute.com for a heap of helpful posts.  With more to come (including from yours truly!)

Feb 042009
 

Marketing usually costs money.  But not always.

Thanks to the Web, we’ve got a few zero-cost options.  If you had to use only them for some reason, how would it work?  Would you get business?

I’m not saying you should try this.  (Especially nowadays!)  But it’s good to know about options that are currently available.

So let’s say I had a marketing budget of $0.  (Some of you will understand how this might feel!)  I need traffic, I need prospects.  How do I get them?  I can’t pay for direct mail or ads, so the Web is about all I can use.  And I need a plan.  I need places to promote, a schedule, and receptive audiences.

The plan I come up with might look like this.

1. Facebook/LinkedIn, For Networking
I prefer LinkedIn personally; the interface is better, and it’s business-focused.  Both these sites are huge resources for networking with people in your industry, people hiring in your industry, and people buying from your industry.  A couple hours per week should be all I need to scrounge up prospects and get my name out.
100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn

2. Twitter, For Interaction/Announcements
Twitter costs nothing to sign up and use as many times a day as you like.  Lots of entrepreneurs and Web-savvy companies, large (@Comcast) to small (@blueferret), are on Twitter.  These are a couple quick guides to using Twitter for business:
How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business
101 Everyday Uses for Twitter
50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

3. Article Marketing, For Expert Branding
Putting articles on your site?  Linking to them through the above sites (especially Twitter)?  Talk about instant traffic!  (Make sure you have persuasive headlines though.)

4. Email Blasts, For Keeping in Contact
There’s still a huge number of people on the Web who don’t use the above services.  But they do use email.  An email blast to announce new deals, special offers, and general keeping-in-contact can make a lot of difference.  And if the emails are collected by your website (or Facebook/LinkedIn), that’s less time you have to spend doing it.

Some of the best things in life (at least when it comes to promoting your business) ARE free.  For now anyway – Facebook and Twitter may finalize business models this year.  Take advantage of them while you can!

Any more zero-budget promotion ideas you like?  Share them with us in the comments.