Winning the Content Battle—Using Both Barrels
Posted on June 11, 2012 by Paul Kaib
You know you need a web presence for your business. That’s a given, right? You’ve probably at least dipped your toe in the waters of social media as well, because everyone says you have to these days. But do you know why? If your Internet presence is just a checked box on the 21st-century business to-do list, because “everyone” tells you to, you might be wondering, What am I even doing here? Is there a point to all this? Do you know what your goals are? If the answer is no, you’re not alone.
It’s actually pretty simple: In business, the Internet is a nonstop battle for visibility. Your competitors are using all the weapons they can find to get an edge, and if you want to keep up, you’d better be armed and ready as well. Your ammo? You might be surprised.
Fresh, original content is the best way to get noticed. It’s both a best practice and essential for SEO success. You’ve probably already discovered the downside, though: It can also be a bottomless time suck. If your productivity is being drained by the hours spent maintaining your web presence and feeding the Twitter beast, you’re probably not serving your primary business in the way it requires.
The demand for content never ends, but your ideas, inspiration, and time sure do. Luckily, you’ve got other options. Curated content can satisfy the info-cravings of this 24/7 millennium and give you some breathing room while at the same time raising your social media profile, which you need to drive traffic to your website. It’s faster, easier and cheaper than creating original material.
Well, sort of. The thing is, finding and using syndicated content may relieve your brain-drain when you’re out of ideas, but to do it well—that is, smartly, specifically, with your target market squarely in mind—it still takes time. This is where content distributors come in.
Syndicated Content Puts You in the Spotlight
When it comes to content curation tools, you’ve got lots of choices. For instance, you can use one of the many free aggregation tools to collect and review interesting articles; when you find something you think will be of interest to your target audience, you can copy and post a snippet on your site, and link back to the original source so that your readers can view the full article. The problem with this is that you risk sending your readers away from your site. With the rise of behavioral advertising, this means you face the likelihood that when your reader clicks through to the original article, the first thing he sees is an advertisement from your competitor splashed next to the article you’ve sent him to. If you don’t want to take that chance, you have to keep customers on your site where you can control the experience. The longer they stick around, the better chance you have of making a sale or converting a potential customer into an actual one.
One way to avoid this scenario is to use a content distributor that offers syndicated material. A syndication service searches the web for the best content available, secures the necessary usage rights, and delivers the material to you. The difference between this type of service and some other curation tools is that syndication offers you legal use of full articles, which you’re free to post in their entirety. You avoid the hassle of obtaining permission to use the content—because it’s already done for you—and you don’t have to direct readers to another site to read full article or video. This means you increase your content stream and keep your brand front and center.
Shared syndicated content fed to your social media platforms will link back to your site, rather than the original source of the content. You can use this stream of fresh material, culled from the best publishers and producers on the web, to post daily or even multiple times a day with less cost to your productivity. And because of the high quality of the material you have to choose from, you might be able to share the task of posting to social media with others in your organization without fear.
If you only focus on search results to get the attention of potential clients, you’re missing a major opportunity. A high-visibility social media presence drives traffic to your site, which means you get more chances to attract clients. But to effective, you have to continually push new content that attracts your target audience. You monetize and grow your social media presence by being prolific and interesting.
If you use search results or email marketing to get the attention of clients and prospects, supplementing your landing page with interesting links to syndicated content on your site is a great way to maximize your acquisition investment. You’ve spent money getting prospects to your site, give them multiple reasons to stay and engage.
Show Your Customers That You Know Them
Selling online is a difficult proposition. You must attract prospects to your website, have a product they want at a price they can afford, and be trustworthy. But how do you prove trustworthiness online? One way is to demonstrate expertise in your industry and an appreciation of your typical customer. Blogging to establish thought leadership is an excellent solution. Another solution is to bring content onto your site from premium brands. Selling financial services? Post content from Forbes that supports your position. Be credible by associating with brands your consumers trust. In fact, you don’t have to limit the nature of the content to your industry. There are thousands of articles written every day that will appeal directly to your customers’ demographic that may not be related to your business. The same customer who finds interest in the Forbes article may enjoy an article about the best private jets.
Playing Fair (use) Doesn’t Always Get You the Win
Fair Use rules are the rules we live by to stay on the right side of the law. The problem is, Fair Use isn’t going to get you the traffic you need. If you’re generating content and supplementing with material from other sources, you’re limited by the amount of material you can legally borrow—which can be a little as a few lines—and by copyright protocols, which require attribution to the creator in the form of links to the original site. Fair and reasonable, for sure, but it can have a significant downside: You risk sending visitors away. It can result in a missed opportunity, and you can’t afford too many of those. If your site is nothing but a layover on the way to the final destination, you lose critical attention.
Using syndicated content eliminates these restrictions, because all necessary usage rights have already been obtained. Many aggregation tools offer a stream of interesting articles, but few provide copyright-cleared, full-content articles you can post on your own site. It’s always a good idea to keep your legal department out of your daily life.
So yes, you do need to arm yourself with a robust web and social media presence in today’s marketplace. But don’t just take up space. Be dynamic to get noticed, establish thought leadership, and boost sales. You have to find ways to stay in the conversation. An optimal blend of original and syndicated content is just the way to do it.