The Internet is a bottomless pit of need. Fresh content and hundreds of millions of words and images are required every day to attract and hold the interest of coveted audiences. Not only to provide the context for transactions, but also to nurture a rich environment for relationships between customers and brands to flourish and grow.
Many marketers are tempted by the equivalent of the fly-by-night street hawker, offering repurposed or pre-packaged “content” at cut-rate prices to fill the demand for new material.
Buyers beware! You get what you pay for, not only in quality but the impact of posted content.
The Top Three Reasons For Original Content:
If content is king, then SEO is prime minister. Without excellent SEO, no one can find your content. And good SEO takes time to build because of how search algorithms work. Which means the content beast must be fed constantly with new stuff or your SEO peters out into the oblivion of links found after the first search results page.
You simply can’t get good SEO with repurposed content. Or as one metrics expert put it, “Duplicate content will be punished by search engines by being given a lower ranking in search results than the site of the original copy.” So, thanks to keywords, wherever your repurposed content was first used is where the search engines will find it. And your site will be left out.
In addition to the tactical advantage of SEO, original content includes strategic advantages. One is quality. Original content is created for you, owned by you, tailored precisely to your brand needs and aligned with needs of consumers. And when content is good it burnishes your brand through the juxtaposition. Take a look at redbullusa.com. It’s not the prettiest site with the slickest user interface, but it’s a perfectly targeted link between young men with a keen interest in sports and the brand’s association with global sports like soccer and adventure sports like mountain biking, BMX and surfing.
Another example, Betty911, is an award-winning Facebook campaign where people go to get fast, expert advice from Betty Crocker Test Kitchen staff during holidays. Instead of just posting recipes, Betty Crocker interacts directly with consumers in real time to help them with their specific cooking crises. And the lessons learned from these crises can be shared with everyone in the community, or even serve as ideas for developing new products and recipes.
This speaks to another strategic advantage, which is good content reflects a good relationship. The most successful brands are those that engage their customers in an ongoing, meaningful and mutually rewarding dialogue that provides solutions, inspiration, ideas and information that runs in both directions.
Finally, original content is a source of competitive advantage. It finds and fills gaps in the marketplace and then takes ownership of the audience by superbly serving their needs. Take a look at what American Express has done with its Open site. This is a departure from their previous emphasis on the caché of having an American Express card. Open is practical, down-to-earth information and advice about operating a small business, linked to the unique credit and cash flow needs of small business owners, not big corporations.
It ultimately comes down to this– In a world where brands are also media, why would you entrust the content surrounding your brand to generic material?