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The 5 Ws of Successful Website Content

Content is KingWe’ve all heard the mantra “content is king” – a quote originating from an article Bill Gates wrote in 1996 in which he stressed that content sites, not ecommerce sites, would generate the bulk of income in the years ahead. In fact, content has become as essential to a company’s success as its products and service. But now, content – text, images, video/flash, audio – can simply overwhelm. “Everyone” is publishing content and it is “everywhere,” ranging from blog posts to white papers to videos posted on YouTube. With all this noise, the content we post on our websites may not be attracting our target audiences and achieving expected results. So how do we open the door to greater content-publishing and audience-engagement success? Like anything else, the devil’s in the details.

If you are responsible for updating and maintaining content on your organization’s website it’s often easy to lose sight of the grand plan. These five Ws will help you get back on track and boost your web-publishing success.

WHY. Why are you publishing content? You need to start with a content strategy that’s driven by business objectives and audience needs. It doesn’t start with tactics but with a plan that has a measurable effect on your organization’s bottom line. Your strategy should include details that cover content creation, delivery, governance, measurement and reporting. Revisit this strategy from time to time and update as needed.

WHERE. Where do you get content? The first place to look is to content that your organization already owns. Before you sit at a blank Word document, think outside the box about what you can repurpose that’s not the “same-old same-old” by checking the following assets:

  • Collateral: sales pieces, white papers, testimonials, research
  • Video and audio – interviews, tutorials, product demos, PSAs
  • Imagery – product photography, personnel photos, infographics
  • Awards – industry, product, marketing
  • Media coverage and press release archives
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Blog posts

WHEN. When do you post content? Are you responsive to audience demands for fresh content or is your content stale the moment you post it? People come to your website for the latest and greatest. Give them that by using a user-friendly publishing tool that puts website publishing in your hands. When you have to wait on tech support or a third party to update your Web pages you not only lose precious time, you’re not able to truly be responsive to your customers’ needs and wants.

WHAT. What are you publishing? Too often, “quality” content gets lost in a sea of confusion. We all know that people don’t read – they scan. Are you making it too difficult for them with a cluttered layout, difficult navigation, boring design and/or too much or too small text? Is your audience even having trouble finding your Web pages because you haven’t optimized them for search engines? Here are a few ways to turn a repelling page into a compelling one:

  • Write your content for skimming – use headlines, lists and highlighted text (e.g., bold color) to grab people’s attention.
  • Use page and section heads to describe the material.
  • Use words your audience uses and stay away from industry terms and acronyms whenever possible.
  • Use page and section heads to describe the material.
  • Keep important content above the fold.
  • Bone up on and practice search engine optimization.

WHO. Who are you talking to? Are you staying abreast of your online audience’s concerns, interests and needs? Do you know who visited your site? Are you able to make contact with your site’s visitors? Do you provide timely content that resonates with and gives your visitors the ability to interact with your organization? These are all critical factors in creating Web pages that drive ROI.

  • Start by listening – to blogs, social networks, news sites and forums that your audience. frequents. Use free tools such as BlogPulse, Social Mention and Facebook. For a more comprehensive all-in-one solution, consider Sysomos.
  • Feature a prominent call to action or offer on each of your Web pages and make sure it communicates the benefits of responding.
  • Include interactive features such as the ability to comment or provide feedback.
  • Incorporate full-text search capability, allowing visitors to search for keywords across multiple pages.

Company websites are quickly becoming the “center of the universe.” The value and timeliness of information an organization provides imports credibility and attracts new and returning visitors. And that eventually translates into revenue.

Check out Marketwire’s EasySuite 2.0 content management system. It makes it easy for you to update your website with dynamic, interactive content – without a tech degree.

Be sure to read, “4 ways to rethink how we measure our content marketing ROI.”

Be sure to download, “Presto! You’re a Publisher,” Chapter 3 in Marketwire’s free eBook, “Mastering Audience Engagement: Reinventing Your Role in a New Media World.”


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