A to Z of Business Storytelling: Content
There is an old saying that content is king. And while that phrase itself might be a bit overdone, the essence is still true: the information that your business shares matters--and it matters a lot. A study from Contents Magazine found that 79% of Americans are using web content that they find online more than they were five years ago...but 65% of Americans still view content on the web as ‘hit or miss’ or ‘unreliable.’
But how do you build content, and what exactly do we mean by content, anyway?
First, let’s define what content is in the world of business marketing. Content is, of course, the words and information that your business shares. It’s the topics that you write about, the words you use to describe your business, the text you use on your website and in your social posts.
But content is also the essence of your communication, meaning--over time--what themes and types of information does your brand share? What’s the narrative you’re creating? What is your brand all about?
Content also refers to the “stickiness” of your business’s information (learn more about stickiness in this book): what are you sharing that keeps people coming back to you for more?
All of these items create your business’s content, which is why having a great content strategy matters. Here are three reasons why content is more relevant to businesses today than ever before:
Content can show expertise. In a world of crowded markets and lot (and lots and lots) of information available online, the fact that 65% of Americans still see content as unreliable or ‘hit or miss’ means that simply having words typed on your website is no longer going to cut it. Having strong content for your business helps you establish your brand as an expert in your area of business: what is it that you know better than other people around you--and how are you communicating that knowledge?
Content helps you build a community of trust. When you share consistently good, reliable information, your users, clients, and shoppers will view your brand as a trusted source. When your audience trusts your information, it’s a signal to other consumers that they can trust it, too. If your brand becomes credible, you brand becomes more valuable.
Content drives visibility. As more people look to your business for information, reliable content, recommendations, and products, your visibility will grow in several ways. First, simple metrics: great content is essential to a strong SEO strategy. Google loves new, fresh, reliable content. Second, the more your community shares your information, the more people will see it and engage with it, which further drives your brand’s visibility and general brand awareness in the market.
One of the issues I see happening all the time, particularly in the world of small business, is that companies invest a LOT of resources into beautiful websites or advertising campaigns, but they forget about the content to support those pieces. What good is a beautiful website if people don’t trust the information on that website...or what good does it do to pay to get people to a landing page that doesn’t convert? Great design is important...but content is essential to developing an effective, reliable brand.