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May 5, 2005

News & Opinion: Hmm, hmm! Cooking up rib-sticking good content

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Wheres the good content? Probably right under your nose -- if you know how to sniff it out. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Solicit stories and case studies
Describing your products is one thing (and probably a boring thing); showing them in action, benefiting real live customers just like your prospects, is something else -- something much better. Send an e-mail to the non-marketing people in your organization -- the engineers, service/support staff, nurses, consultants, managers, etc. -- and ask them for their three best client stories. Sift through them. You may be able to pitch the best stories to the media (the stuff your customers read); the rest you can turn into case studies for your Web site, collateral, or even as inserts in a direct mail campaign.
Develop tips and how-to sheets
Sometimes were too close, too familiar, with our own knowledge to appreciate how meaningful it may be to someone else. Dont underestimate the value of your (or your organizations) knowledge. Package it into lists of handy tips or brief how-to articles. Are you in commercial real estate? Consider, 10 Secrets for Negotiating More Favorable Leases. In life insurance? How to Read a Policy. What about an article on how to build a radio from an oatmeal box?
Get people talking
Sometimes your customers will create content for you. One of my favorite Web success stories is Bottlehead.com, a site dedicated to excellent, yet inexpensive, audio electronics for the do-it-yourselfer. In addition to detailed descriptions of its products, the site offers tons of free information. But the coup de grace is the forum where prospects and customers are free to exchange thoughts and ideas related to Bottlehead products. In addition to leveraging the extraordinarily persuasive power of ordinary people, the forum also saves Bottlehead a fortune in customer service calls and requests.
If nothing else, create a glossary
What if you could quickly create a Web page that would increase your stature as an expert -- and serve as a magnet for search engine keywords? You can -- and its easier than you think: Create a glossary of common terms relevant to your industry or area of expertise. In one fell swoop, youll have a page many people will want to bookmark -- and one that the search engine spiders love to crawl.
These are just a few of the possibilities. How are you turning your knowledge into quality content (and visitors, customers and cash)?

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.