I am getting ready for the Quadruplicity Conference this week and one of the subjects I will be touching on is content. Specifically I am trying to answer the question, “What are my options in terms of publishing content online and how can I get over or get through any kind of road blocks that stand between me and publishing content online?”
Writing and Blogging
So the first thing I want to say is that you need to publish content online if you are serious about internet marketing. If you are serious about marketing your business online, content is key. You can’t just get on social media networks and chat with people and share others’ links all day. You eventually, at some point, need to start creating, publishing and sharing content.
That content can come in various forms. The most obvious form is written content … using words, whether it’s a blog or through your social media. I prefer using a blog to publish content. You might put a twist on that and create some PDF documents that people can download and that’s another form of content. Again, mostly words.
You might want to repurpose some of your existing content. Maybe you already have some content on your website or some marketing material, some brochures or content of that nature that you can reformat and put into a blog post or like I said, a downloadable PDF.
And maybe it’s not just a simple one or two page PDF. Maybe you put together a bunch of content around a specific topic in a mini-series and create a 10-page PDF that somebody can download so that they can really wrap their head around what you have to offer and what kind of knowledge you want to transfer to somebody online.
Writing and creating written content is very powerful. Obviously, one of the key benefits of writing content is that it’s indexable by search engines. The words that you use, the phrases, and the keywords are all are indexable by various search engines.
Images and Pictures
So maybe you are not comfortable with writing or you are bored with writing or you don’t have time to write – another form of content you could share are images. Based on your industry, images can mean a lot. For example, if you are in the fashion or interior design industries or you have a product where images really lend themselves to sharing your content online, that’s a very popular format.
Pinterest, an application that’s very popular right now is centered around image sharing and that trend has really taken off in the past few months. It’s likely to continue over the next couple of years.
When you look on Facebook, people are sharing a lot of pictures. Besides video, pictures are the most widely shared content on Facebook and they draw a lot of attention. So pictures can be really powerful. I encourage you to get out your camera. If you have a Smartphone, get in the habit of taking a lot of pictures because it is a powerful way to share your story and engage your market.
If you are blogging you can put pictures into your blog post and optimize them with title, description and alt tags to help drive some search engine traffic. You can post them on Flickr.com which is the most popular photo sharing site on the internet, and maybe you could even take your pictures and create a little slide show animation or video and put it on YouTube.
So you can do a lot with pictures and it’s just a great way to share information with your market without using any words – I won’t get any cliches but obviously pictures are pretty powerful.
Another logical form of content that might be useful for you is video. It is just so easy to shoot video these days, whether using your webcam on your computer. Most laptops come with a camera built in.
You can use your Smartphone or buy a relativity inexpensive Flipcam, Kodak ZI8 or Sony Bloggie camera. These produce beautiful video in high definition. I would encourage you to get one that has a microphone-in jack so that you can use a lapel mic or an external microphone to get the best audio.
Don’t over-think your video. You don’t have to create commercial quality video. People are receptive to casual video as long as you are sharing some knowledge with them, you are adding value and the audio quality is good. Most people will tune out if the audio quality is bad, so focus on getting good audio.
Maybe you could interview somebody, either one of your customers or your partners or somebody on your staff. If you are not comfortable putting yourself on screen, you can do what’s called a screencast.
You can use software like Screenr.com, free screen capture software that allows you to capture a five-minute video of whatever is on your computer screen. You could record a PowerPoint presentation, something you see on a website, or anything on your computer screen at the moment. You can add narration and create a great video to share on YouTube or download. Now put your video in an email newsletter, on your website on your Facebook Page.
YouTube obviously is the most popular video showing site so you want to use that if you can. I also recommend using Tubemogul.com. Basically you can upload a video once to TubeMogul and it will get distributed to dozens of the top video-sharing sites. There’s more than just YouTube, so this is a great way to get your message in front of a new audience.
Video is very powerful and more people are considering video now than ever. People are watching it on their phones, on their computers, on their TV’s and just about everywhere. If you want to differentiate your business, get your voice out there and get your message across in new and different and much more compelling way, video is awesome.
Audio and Podcasting
Another option is audio or podcasting. Given the popularity of iPhones and MP3 players and Smartphones that can allow people to listen to music and podcasts in particular, audio is a fantastic medium for you again to get your voice out there in a new and different way.
If you are not comfortable with video then audio is the second best choice because like I am doing right now, you can just speak freely and let your voice be heard. You can do it in small increments. You can create three to five minute podcast episodes or you could get a guest on the phone with Skype and record your conversation.
I prefer to use WordPress as a platform to host my podcast along with one of several different podcasting plugins such as Podcasting by TSG. These plugins allow you to setup your podcast and then have it published on iTunes, which is the #1 music download site in the world, so you immediately have exposure to millions and millions of people who use their Apple iOS products to listen to podcasts. Combined with Mobile Podcaster, I can podcast from my iPad or iPhone and publish to iTunes whenever I want without ever touching my computer.
Audio is fantastic and I really encourage you to consider it as part of your content marketing mix.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas to consider when publishing content online. Like I said earlier, it’s important that if you want to be heard, if you want to differentiate yourself from the market and you are serious about marketing online, you have to be able to create high quality content rapidly in a variety of formats.