The act of writing on a regular basis is the only thing standing between your site being what it is today and being the sole source of twenty percent of your closed new business. At Newfangled, we keep close track of how much time we spend on our content strategy and where our business comes from. We did not pull this twenty percent number out of thin air. It is a real number based on our experience. This is not due to our locations, the sort of work we do, or the types of clients we have. Instead, it has to do with the fact that we are sharply positioned and disciplined with our content strategy.
Because writing is so hard for almost every agency, those who do commit to a long-term content strategy separate themselves from the pack. Sure, writing is difficult, but no one said marketing was easy. You understand that you have to market your firm, you understand that your website is your best opportunity to do that and the best way to make your site the strongest marketing resource possible is through its content strategy. Here are four reasons to start writing for your content strategy today.
1. Without a content strategy, your site is a brochure.
This one is clear. You can have a brochure, or you can have a modern marketing website that is a lead-generation machine. The difference between the two is a well-executed content strategy.
2. When it comes to SEO, age matters.
Say you start your content strategy today, and say that in maybe six months your competitor realizes that you trounce him on all the search phrases for which the two of you have always competed. Maybe, at that point, he is smart enough to realize that you are winning because of your content strategy, so he starts one, too. Google knows that you have been adding two thousand words per month to your site for six months longer than he has. You literally have a six month, twelve thousand word advantage on this competitor. All other things being equal, you will still beat him for like phrases.
Granted, there are other factors at play in a search engine’s algorithm, but Google is kind of like Santa in that it knows what you have been doing. If you embark on your firm’s content strategy today, you could very well dominate the search engine rankings for your space before your competition knows what hit them. This assumes that your firm is well-positioned. The more similar your expertise is to other agencies, the more difficult your competition will be across the board, and this applies to SEO as well.
3. Your content strategy makes you smarter.
The objective of your content strategy is to make your site into an educational resource for your prospects, but you are the person who stands to learn the most from it.
Humans learn by communicating. You may know everything there is to know about a particular topic, but you cannot fully master it until you learn how to teach that knowledge to somebody else. The act of figuring out how to effectively explain your expertise to someone else increases your mastery of the material significantly. The blog post you write in the morning will enable you to present that topic more eloquently during your new business conversation that afternoon. Teaching others helps us recognize patterns in our own knowledge and connect ideas that bring the big picture into greater focus for ourselves and our readers. Being intelligent is one thing, but being able to communicate your intelligence is altogether different. It may surprise you to see how your involvement in your firm’s content strategy sharpens your communication and sales skills.
4. The content you create is repurposeable and leads to opportunity.
Different prospects will want to consume your content in different ways. Some people would rather watch a thirty minute webinar over lunch than spend ten minutes reading a newsletter over coffee in the morning. Others would rather spend three minutes a day over the course of five days reading the same material in a series of blog posts through their RSS reader. The point is, just because you wrote a newsletter on a certain topic should not preclude you from covering that topic on other content strategy platforms—quite the opposite.
Content can also be graduated, so to speak. The blog post you wrote last week might turn into a newsletter, which might catch the attention of the publisher of an industry magazine who asks you to write an article on the topic for them. When the article gets published and gets significant attention from the readers, maybe that same publication asks you to put together a webinar or talk on the topic for their next conference. This sort of thing happens regularly, in various shapes and forms, but none of it is possible unless you first take the time to write.
On Writing Well
Many intelligent people are panic-stricken over the idea of writing. Writing is an intimate thing, and most of us do not believe that we are very good at it. Practice alleviates many fears, but practice can also entrench bad writing habits that develop over the years.
To help with these issues, I recommend reading William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. Spend some quality time with this book. The confidence and knowledge you will gain from it will be well worth the ten or so hours you invest reading and thinking about it.
This post is an excerpt from my book, "A Website That Works."