This post is the 4th in a series of posts by Hendry Lee. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3.
No matter what other marketers say about content, it is still an integral part of a blog.
People who argue about the importance of content, in my opinion, is complicating the issue. My argument is simple. Blogging is writing and writing produces content. People always go online to peruse some kind of contents. What I agree on is that, content by itself worth nothing. It needs consumers as much as a blog needs readers.
Currently contents are not only limited to text and image, but also audio and video. Consumers have more options to choose from. Not only they may choose which content to consume, but also the channel they prefer it to be delivered. This is a huge opportunity for bloggers, which should now label themselves as content producers or information publishers.
Content Production and the Success of Your Blog
Content production is so important that you should spend quite a significant portion of your time for it. By content, it doesn’t mean random page of text that lure the search engines and visitors to come to your site. That may work in the past as people who want to click away choose to click on ads, resulting in revenue for the site owners.
As search engines become smarter, and if you want to build long term readership, you should focus on creating strong, interesting and engaging content so not only the consumers are eager to read, listen or watch it, but also looking forward for more.
RSS and email play a significant role in building your audience. In fact, this may be your major goal when it comes to content promotion. More about this later.
Again, with so many blogs nowadays, the last thing people want is just another blog. On the other hand, people are always looking for fresh and unique content. As a blogger, you should create content that people look forward to consume. That’s the first step to building a successful blog.
In my experience, content creation accounts for 40-50 percent of total time spent on the blogging business. That includes writing content for the blog and producing various articles as a guest blogger on other people’s blogs.
Bloggers who extend their content beyond text to include audio and video spend about the same amount of time doing so. Your experience may be different, but the point is that content production should not be overlooked. Spend as much time as you need to produce really solid content.
Remember that for a blog, content is conversation. The quality of your conversation depends on the content and people you attract to your blog.
The Role of Content
During hard times when people tend to cut down cost, content remains a solid strategy for bloggers because anyone with even no budget can afford to create content.
One of the latest buzzwords is content marketing. There really is nothing new about it but strategically put content into use is one of the evolution I was talking about in previous post.
Your content strategy should be tightly integrated to every move you take. That way, you already make a focused effort with your content. By targeting on one or a handful of goals, you are more likely to gain results.
Scattered effort on contents yield random result. While that still works to certain extent, in the long run, that will be more of a noise rather than signal.
Let me elaborate a bit about integrated content strategy. An Indonesian idiom goes as “Rowing once to surpass two or three islands at a time.”
Integrated content strategy is like rowing smart. It allows you to gain the following benefits at the same time:
- Drive traffic. From returning RSS subscribers to referral traffic from other blogs or sites, social media, search engines and others.
- Extend search engine visibility. Optimized content for specific keyword helps you get found in search engines.
- Engage with your audience. Each new content is potential communication with your audience, which in turn is good for you, whether you are selling products or providing ad space.
- Build community. By providing a platform to interact with each other and give feedback — a blog is perfect for this — new content drives the audience back. Regularity turns them into a community.
- Extend your brand. For a blog, the blogger’s identity is the brand. By getting in front of the readers regularly, you are extending your brand recognition.
One big thing about integrated content strategy is that it is an orchestration to achieve a purpose. At the end of the day, your content needs to cater to your target market and grow your business.
Diversify Content for Your Blog
As said before, nowadays, consumers have choices. If they prefer to listen rather than read, not having audio content (podcast) sometimes means you are losing audience.
Diversifying your content formats is necessary if you want to capture a wide spectrum of audience. Also remember most people don’t stick with one format or channel. For example, personally, I subscribe to RSS feeds and browse web sites and blogs, but also watch online videos regularly, visit discussion boards and am active in Twitter. For audio, I still listen to a few, carefully selected, audio podcast during weekend.
What does the above scenario show? Two things:
- If your message is all over those places and I am your ideal client, you have more opportunities to reach me and deliver your message.
- Quality is no longer a unique value proposition. It is compulsory. With so much content and so little time, I become very choosy about what I consume. For me, this is especially true for audio podcast. I only choose to listen to two or three shows per week. Unless your podcast is really good, it will be deleted from my iTunes subscription faster than you can say, “Opps!”
With that said, here is a list of content formats and channels you should consider. Note that you don’t have to adopt all formats / channels for your content distribution to be effective. In fact, you should not try to put too much on your plate when you are just getting started unless you have the resources to do so.
- Web site content. This includes articles, blog posts, tools and resources you create and publish to your web site or blog.
- Image galleries. The sky is the limit when it comes to using images to convey your message. Flickr and other image hosting make it very easy to host images.
- Audio podcasts. Podcasting isn’t dead. People want the candy, they don’t care about the vending machine.
- Online video. Most people find it hard to believe that 60% of online video viewers are over the age of 35, according to Nielsen Online. One in two Americans, or 154 million people, watch a video at least once a month in 2008. The number is still expected to grow. A personal note to myself: you’re crazy if you don’t tap into this opportunity.
- Micro-blogging. Nowadays, Twitter is the de facto standard for micro blogging. Like blogging, it is not the proper place to solely distribute promotional messages. Become resourceful and your followers will just grow faster than the number who decides to leave.
Some bloggers find that they prefer to record their voice because writing simply is not their cup of tea. That’s fine. There are ways to work around the diversification. Whichever formats you choose, ensure that you weigh in your resources and time commitment to content production.
It is better to do one thing very well than scattering your effort into multiple formats with little result. I know I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating because of its importance.
How can you shoot different content formats down different distribution channels? The next post in the series tells you how, including tips and strategies to leverage your content for online marketing.
Hendry Lee helps bloggers overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their blogs. He also writes about make money blogging on his blog Blog Tips for a Better Blog – Blog Building University. While you are there, download your free eBook and subscribe to his blogging e-course where he reveals his secret about blogging and content writing!
Follow Hendry on Twitter (@hendrylee).
Writing creative content on your blog that separates yours from everybody else’s, will make you standout from the crowd and also be able to have a firm grasp of your competition. Having a unique value proposition for your blog will better suit the future and dominance of your blog’s authority
There is no doubt that the only way to make sure your blog is in it for the long haul is the consistent production of quality content. If you’re just throwing words on the page to hit publish, your blog will fade quickly. If you put thought into everything you write then you will eventually find an audience, even if it takes time.
Content is KING, the hardest part of real blogging which is why 99% of blogs will fizzle and die. It takes hard work, practice, diligence and perseverance… all characteristics in short supply in our age of get-rich-easy.
Good points. But with content evolution and diversification comes a significant increase in the time required to blog. And that will become the main challenge for many aspiring pro-bloggers.
Writing good content constantly is easily one of the hardest aspects to blogging!
Keeping that quality up, while offering something interesting in every single post is just so difficult to maintain!
Multiple grammatical errors in first 3 paragraphs. I stopped reading after that. Jesus – does anyone proof anymore?
Agree with Brent, Content is king and Useful content is “God”.
I think you bring up a growing trend in blogging and that is content diversification.
If you check out the more popular blogs (including this one), they are incorporating more multimedia-type presentations. But like you said in your post, you can’t stretch yourself to thin and try to incorporate EVERYTHING into your blog.
I agree that it is better to just focus on one or two other ways of presenting your content in addition to the written content.
The Geek Entrepreneur
To come up with unique content is not easy but that is what google wants and your readers. It will take time but when you keep working on the content google and your readers will love your site and will come back.
This was a nice post, although I didn’t see much new year. The bottom line seems to be to have a quality blog, which means quality content. If you do this, everything else will fall into place. With that in mind I need to go back to my blog and get it set up (something is wrong with the domain mapping. I’ll have to figure it out).
You have brought up some points to keep in mind here, including that content creation should take about 50% of the time involved with a site. Also, having a podcast that is not too useful for a site’s viewers might have been more advantageous in the past, but as you refer to here, it might be removed from a person’s set of listening subscriptions more quickly now. Also, adding an image gallery, where one was not previously, can brighten up a section of one’s site that was fairly dormant.
I am worrying that spending time on format diversification might only be good for a full time blogger, but for a part-time blogger, it might be distracting.
As it says, content is the king, not the container.
Great article, anyway!
Well I think contain is one thing because of which I am keep coming to your blog. No doubt about this that many people have learned blogging from your blog.
But I do believe that visitors are like Monkey. If you keep feeding them with good posts and contain than they will coming to your tree (website). Once you stop feeding they will go to other tree (website) and will never come back … or will be a tough task to bring them back.
Hi Darren, thanks for Hendry’s posts. They are very good and very complete and I appreciate that.
I just recently started experimenting with adding videos to my blog and the response has been quite positive.
I just wish I was a little more artistic to make my blog look as great as some I’ve seen.
Thanks again for Hendry’s posts,
I’ve been trying to streamline and diversify at the same time… It’s a paradox that seems to make sense!
This is the key line: “not only the consumers are eager to read, listen or watch it, but also looking forward for more.”
The consumers will come back if you give them something. It could be a prize or a chance to win, or a discount.
In the case of a blog usually it is the content that they need. Content that they feel like they need to have because it gives them something.
If you gave your visitors a dollar everytime they visited then they would come back for more, if you give them content that they need then they will come back for more.
I didn’t think about this: during an econ downturn blogging is a relatively easy, inexpensive way to advertise. That’s especially true for solo bloggers.
Freelance bloggers have probably seen less work. I know I have.
In fact, late last year one of my best clients pulled my production down two-thirds. Startled me because I thought they were big on advertise when everyone else isn’t.
Great thoughts. Very good post. Thanks for taking the time to write.
As I’ve focused mostly on the content in my current blog, I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in the success of it compared to older sites I’ve owned.
I haven’t even gotten around to even creating my own blog design yet, but as my blog grew in content and quality, my readers didn’t seem to mind. I only got a few comments about it within the first few weeks of my blog starting up. (when there was little content!)
I’m in the process of interviewing someone for an article and I’m considering doing it as an audio AND offering a transcription. Since people can be either visual or auditory learners, it’s good to offer content that attracts both types of people!
Great points to make I definitely liked your part saying about content being a compulsary part of blogging I agree fully here.
define the “problem” offer the solution, that is useful content.
Part of the trick is to create that great content within a framework that works with the search engines and your readership. Not easy, but it’s possible with a lot of effort.
to beginners to blogging and internet marketing I think this post is to much for them, you need to fucos on posting new posts no matter what is the value of your contents. you need first to focus on being noticed after you reach a 200 visitors a day you need to be more creative and give your visitors more valuable content.
Excellent points Darren. I also found that as a blogger I needed to slowly develop readers. It’s because if you want lowly readers, you must build relationships with them, and relationships take time. If you are not building relationships and community, the readers won’t stay anyway. There are too many blogs out there — the readers will have no loyalty to you and they’ll just move on. Loyalty takes time. And it is established by the blogger writing good content, being consistent, perhaps having regular features in your blog — such as weekly features readers can expect, building community, helping one’s readers when one can, as well as other things. If you are there for your readers, they will be there for you and become very loyal. And this just takes time.
Oh, and thanks for reminding me that its important to solve a need or problem that potential readers have. Its so obvious but sometimes we bloggers miss it! We think our ideas are so great and/or write for ourselves! Thanks for the tip — I won’t create a blog or write for myself, but think of the proper niche and write according the next time I set up another blog!
krissy knox :)
follow me on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy
You have a great series of posts going here Hendry. Glad to see you are putting the emphasis on content as king especially when it come to quality original content.
Some people say contest is not all that important it is the way you market that it important. I would say content is important but you just cant have great content and do nothing.
I have to agree with you after you made your point. I have been trying to keep my blogs pretty narrow and your diversity comment really hit home.
Hi this is a good article and very usefull.Keep doing the good job.
Hi Guys and Gals, At Adeo wew say content is golden. You can never have too much rich content.