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Digital Marketing and Content Management Challenges Traditional Approach

By Terry Bolda

It’s a whole new world out there when your business needs to adapt from traditional marketing to digital marketing for the web. The tri-fold brochures or fancy product literature that works when handed to someone in person, will not work for someone scanning through websites on his computer.

We lean back in a chair when we read a book, newspaper or annual report. On the web, we lean forward to scan pages, looking for key words and concise lead sentences that instantly lead us to what we’re searching for. The reading pattern on a website goes from left to right across the top and comes back to the middle and down. If the key words or items aren’t found in these areas, readers may be frustrated and move on to something else.

Your business needs to have a content strategy for its website to be effective. There are three reasons people visit a website: (1) for commerce (2) for information, and (3) for entertainment. A business needs to present informative content that meets the viewer’s need based on expert advice in the viewer’s area of interest.

So what does a properly written web page look like and what pitfalls should a business avoid when launching or redesigning its website? This paragraph will incorporate one of the more obvious:

  • Bullets. Yes, this makes reading easier to digest. Also, writing for the web and in the age of Twitter, incomplete sentences are permitted under certain cases (but not from the viewpoint of this writer!)
  • Links. Do not write in a totally narrative style when the reader is scanning for a quick answer. A well worded headline will give the quick answer and be linked to the complete article within the website.
  • Stripped. Studies have shown that content filled with unneeded adjectives and promotional language either hinder readers or turn them off. The immediate response is to question it as false. So, keep to the point and remember that information is what they’re looking for, not puffed up sentences.
  • Images. As the saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But the picture needs to say something and have an emotional appeal. Avoid using obvious stock photos that aren’t part of the business. Faces are important, so don’t use a photo where the people are not facing toward the camera. Make the photo lively and relevant to the topic. Consider hiring a professional photographer.

The strategy for content on a website is fairly straight-forward. First, it needs to engage the viewer with useful information. Secondly, educate the viewer with useful information about your product or business. You are the expert in the best position to do this. Finally, as the viewers receive useful information that, over a period of time, they trust and find educational, they may convert to being customers. Then, taking this a step further, your satisfied customers may become advocates or “evangelists” for your business or product.

As the owner or CEO, it is a given that you are the expert about the business. But you may not be the best writer about the business, especially when writing for the web. A website can have a stellar design, pictures, and the right product language, but if the content doesn’t engage viewers and take them to the next step, it’s not worth it. Having a content editor on staff who can write, or engaging a professional writer for website content and other marketing needs, is a good business investment.

Here are some links regarding content management and writing that may be helpful. (I did mention links as a key for website content, right?)

http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/01/chief-content-officer/

Oak Hill Business Partners’ Growth Management Services will work with your management team to devise and execute an overall strategy for growing your organization.  Whether it’s a refined marketing strategy or improved communications with your target audience, we have the expertise to support you so you can focus more effort on your core expertise.   For more information, Contact Us today.

Terry Bolda is a Partner with Oak Hill Business Partners specializing in writing, editing, marketing communications, and public relations.  He has more than 20 years of experience working with businesses and nonprofit organizations. His background includes being editor of a Wisconsin weekly newspaper, a public relations account executive, communications director for a large NPO, and director of development for a Milwaukee church and school.

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