Content Is King, But What Kind of Content Rules?

Posted on Aug 16 2012 - 11:55pm by Peter Millikin

We have all heard it over and over: Content is King. This concept was first introduced by Bill Gates in 1996 but has since become one of the most common phrases on the web. Any business owner who is selling products online has learned that Internet marketing includes writing, and that this writing must be unique in order to increase traffic to their site.

So it is well established that creating unique articles and blog posts is one of the best ways to hook potential customers into checking out your website. The question that many owners have is how to create content that has not already been covered all over the web.

Google and Its Updates

Google continues to update their search algorithms, and although many people claim they have figured them out, they haven’t. These algorithms are top-notch, classified secret information, and as far as I can tell, not even the future King of England can gain access to these secrets.

In the past, the basic premise of search engine optimization (SEO) was to place several keywords into an article, and the search engine would see this and pop up the website on its results list. Thus the Internet entered into a period of horribly written, overly keyword-stuffed articles that provided no real value to the reader. Many Internet users became disgusted by such articles and Google took notice of this.

With the Penguin and Panda updates established by Google, the practice of keyword stuffing has fallen by the wayside. Google now appears to be more concerned about fresh, engaging content. And, yes, each article must be original. An article that seems to be plagiarized in any way has no hope of showing up on the first page of the Google results. This can cause some stress for the writers who have to produce this content, as there are so many articles floating around that some phrases are sure to show up as copied, or plagiarised.

The phrase, “Content is King”, is a great example. This article will not show up as 100% original because I have used this common phrase in my article. However, an actual plagiarized article will show many phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs that are copied from other sources.

Writing Original Content

So how do you write original content without copying from other sources? It is called paraphrasing. If you are researching a subject for an article, and want to use information you have found, you have two choices. You can properly cite the original author, or you can rewrite the information into your own words. We are all different, and for most writers it is not hard to take a piece of information they have found and put it into their own unique slant.

Personal Slant Or Formal Prose?

There is sometimes disagreement on whether you should include personal, relevant information on your website or blog. What you need to realize is what type of personal information to include, and when personalizing a segment of your website is acceptable.

In general, people searching on the Internet for a specific product or service have a limited amount of time to search. They want to find results quickly, and get back to what they are doing. Compare the following two paragraphs from a homepage on office supplies:

John Jackson created this company in 2000. He started with just two employees and now employs over 1,000 people to bring you the best office supplies in the country. This company has offices in London, Birmingham, and Bristol. We are dedicated to the environment and are very environmentally friendly.

Even though office supplies are a tax-deductible business expense, everyone wants to save money where they can. Compare our Hewlett Packard Printers to our competition, and you will see that we can save you hundreds of pounds on your next purchase of office products. From envelopes, ink cartridges, to a complete office refit, we have everything you’ll need. Meet a member of our team….

The first example is boring, and not of any interest to the reader. Buyers really don’t care how your business has grown, or even when you first opened.

The second example relates to the reader. It shows empathy to the customers who want to save money. It gives a concrete example of an actual printer they sell, and gives a short list of other office supplies available on their site. If you put a hyperlink on the words ‘Meet a member of our team’ you could even be that step closer to closing a deal.

The second example also used second person pronouns. They didn’t go on and on about themselves but talked directly to the reader, by saying you and your. This makes the reader feel like the owner cares about them and is ready to serve their needs.

So should you use first and second person? Yes, but do be careful. Too much personal opinion can turn readers off, but if you provide a relevant, true experience, without making it sound like a sales pitch, they will trust your opinion.

Don’t Forget The Call To Action

In every single article or webpage you write for your business, you need a call to action. You might have written a great article on the history of computers, but if there is no pressing need for the reader to click through, they will never land on the sales page. Explain why they need a certain product, and then encourage them to click on a link or button to get them where they need to be to buy it.

By following these simple guidelines, you can create original content that will keep readers on your website and inspire them to buy from you.

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Read about the Author

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment.

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