I bet this is as good as the last chapter I read. I will need to read it later because I have to work on my own content today. 
As promised, here is the 3rd chapter of my book: Building Better Business Websites : Strategy 3: Distilling Your Message into Unforgettable Content

If great business websites are the ones that help their companies to get closer to their bottom-line goals, and not necessarily the ones with the most over-the-top layouts and apps, then it follows that great content is whatever attracts customers, and not what has the most keywords or sounds the most complicated.

That’s a great place to begin, because people confuse “content” with “search engine filler” in the same way they mistake web marketing progress with an uptick in traffic. It’s all about real results, not just short-term indicators.

Of course, findability and search details are part of the mix, and I’ll address those. But what really separates great content from average marketing material is that the very best is unforgettable and nearly impossible to ignore. It speaks directly to your best customers in a way that makes them take notice, not just of you, but also the offer or idea that’s being presented. It helps them think about something differently, and enhances their view of you at the same time. This is something we refer to internally as a “give.”

As you might guess, a lot of content falls short when measured using these guidelines. But, this is one area where your efforts dare not suffer if you want to separate yourself from your competitors.
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Titles and Keywords Help Win Attention

In order for your business website to be effective, it has to have content that’s easy to find, follow, and respond to. That usually comes down to titles and keywords, at least as far as first steps are concerned.

Titles should be interesting, engaging, and relevant to the marketing persona you’re trying to attract. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if it appeals to anyone else, so long as it’s something that your core audience wouldn’t want to pass up. And while we’re specifically talking about the titles that you give the blog posts, online videos, and other pieces of standalone content, the same goes for the headlines and subtitles that are spread throughout your pages. Imagine for a moment that you are trying to sell magazines or newspapers — would the headlines you’re using cut it?

SERPs tip: use our Title and Meta Description tool to flesh out your Title (for SEO) and Description (for marketing): [ http://goo.gl/vI3dEt ]

When it comes to keywords and search phrases, things are a little more straightforward. It goes without saying that keyword re- search is important to any online marketing plan, search engine optimization campaign and new business website design. Just remember our rule of thumb, as spelled out in Findability [ http://goo.gl/0qaP2h ] (one of my other books). Keywords are like hot sauce... it’s okay to sprinkle them in when needed, but don’t go overboard or you’ll get burned by customers and search engines alike.

Great Copywriting Informs and Persuades

It’s an unfortunate fact in our industry that, despite all the attention paid to website layouts and search engine keywords, few business people and creative directors pay as much attention to copywriting as they should. It’s almost as if they think that what a site says isn’t important, so long as it has the right visual design and search terms.

Common sense and real-world experience have taught us otherwise. Great copywriting doesn’t just make a difference on your site, it makes all the difference. That’s because it isn’t just about facts, generalized statements, or even accurate grammar. What good copywriting adds is a focus on important benefits and a persuasive edge that can get visitors to take the next step. Part of that is the skillful use of language and information, but there is also an emotional component that is missing from far too many websites.

The majority of the business world is made up of men and women who struggle to write clearly, much less effectively. And yet, the voice of your company needs to come through in every page, blog post, and social update. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to either develop the copywriting skills you need in-house, or to make copywriting a part of your online marketing budget.

You Can Say It Better With Better Pictures

Images represent another form of content that are inexplicably overlooked and taken for granted in a lot of circles. It isn’t unusual for design teams to simply find a set of stock images that meets the size and color requirements of the site and then pour them in without a second thought.

Just to be clear, you can get away with using stock images on your website, and in fact that’s sometimes the best choice. But, they need to be some of the best available, should stand out from what others in your industry use, and shouldn’t seem like they were chosen from the cheap bin. Most of all, they should convey the meaning of your content.

A preferred option, at least for companies with products, is to hire a professional photographer who can take custom images and use those in your site. Not only are these more personal and protect you from overlapping with other businesses in your market, but they can be more effective from a branding standpoint, too. Custom images give people more of a personal feel for you, your team, your facility, and/or your products. That’s always a good thing when you’re trying to make a memorable impression.

The same goes for infographics [ http://goo.gl/FTvGQf ] and custom charts or diagrams. By choosing or creating elements that best fit your site and marketing personality, you help to create a web presence that’s a little out of the ordinary, in a good way.

Online Video Is Here to Stay Because It’s Effective

As online videos started showing up everywhere in the past few years, some in the web design industry wondered if the trend toward Internet clips was going to be a passing fad. We think that the opposite is true. Internet videos aren’t just getting more affordable and easier for customers to see and interact with, they also bring unique benefits to your website that other forms of content can’t match.

For example, video [ http://goo.gl/txU1ai ] looks and feels more personal, especially if you have a member of your team speaking directly into the camera. Also, people tend to devote more attention to video than they do static photos and text, since the moving dialogue is harder for them to scan or ignore. And finally, numerous studies have shown that video can make information more memorable than it is in other formats, which helps to reinforce key ideas.

Best of all, there are lots of places on your site where video can either replace or reinforce other types of content. Homepage introductions, landing page offers, explanations of frequently asked questions, and demonstrations of product details are all good examples. You can even use video to give visitors a “behind-the-scenes” look at your company, which helps build trust through transparency.

Great Content Is Best When Used Together

Any single outstanding piece of content can attract links, page views, and attention from visitors. But, by tying one to another (and especially related ideas or internal links), you can get more mileage and value out of everything you create.

This is an area where even lots of fairly successful companies fall short. They produce one or two videos on YouTube, but leave it to the search engines to drum up traffic. Or, they regularly add items to the blog, but never promote them with tweets, or link from one site to another. If you’re taking the time, energy, and creativity needed to develop great content, though, it’s important to make the most of it. If people like one thing you’ve written or produced, they are likely to take the time to check out another... or possibly even share it with someone else.

At this point, it’s probably getting redundant to keep pointing out that all the elements of your website need to keep working to- gether, but using a comprehensive approach is what gets the needle moving and helps you generate the new opportunities your business wants.

BONUS Material:

Pro Tip: A piece of content is never independent. Your content becomes shareable, readable and findable when you have all of the right elements in place throughout your website. 
Resources: A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content [ http://goo.gl/RQMzRB ]
Further Reading: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating Amazing Content via ProBlogger [ http://goo.gl/fKlGaM ]

And from our friend +Mike Allton, these additional resources:

- Google+ University: http://thesmh.co/GooglePlusU 
- LinkedIn Optimization: http://thesmh.co/PerfectLinkedIn 
- Epic Content: http://thesmh.co/EpicWriting 
- HootSuite Resources: www.thesocialmediahat.com/hootsuite/ 

Can't wait for the next Strategy Post in Gplus? Get the book now. [ http://goo.gl/zqi5T2 ]

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Next post on Dec 19th: Strategy 4: Empowering Your Company To Do More on Its Own

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