Jeremy Powers, February 14, 2014
Business is all about giving customers what they want. On your website, your prospects expect an awful lot from you. Your visitors want proof you are trustworthy, human, and smart. At the same time, however, your web visitors want, DEMAND really, you keep them entertained, informed and engaged.
How can you keep visitors to your website engaged?
The best method to keep your customers and prospects interested is to make your content interesting. The tactic we are focused on today is diversity of content type. Here are some content types readers enjoy. I encourage you to make your website more interesting by using all of them throughout the year.
There are many ways you can use video to engage your website visitors. Sam Fiorella covered some great options using video just last week. I don’t think you need to use video all the time, but you can consider video your secret weapon. Video can give your website a serious traffic boost. As an added bonus, your regular visitors will appreciate the new medium.
Infographics have been talked about for some time as a great source of link-bait. For our purposes, I want you to forget all that SEO mumbo-jumbo, and I want you to just think about creating something truly unique for your visitors. A one-of-a-kind graphic can be a simple thing. Some of my favorite infographics are hand-drawn, and they are my favorites because they are so memorable.
3. List posts
What is a list post? Ummm, I want you to open your favorite article here on 12 Most. That is a list post. List posts can be done in a variety of ways. You don’t have to expand on each individual item, but I recommend it. The nice thing about list posts is that these posts tend to encourage reader comments. The posts are “scannable,” and easy to appreciate with minimal effort by the reader.
4. Customer case studies
Case studies don’t need to be long and completely detailed essays. In fact, ideally you want to introduce the customer, the problem, and discuss the solution all in less than 800 words. Case studies also do not have to be buried in their own section of your website. Post a case study once a month or quarter on your regular blog page.
Anyone in the sales copy business knows that testimonials are a powerful form of content. You can use testimonials in a variety of ways on your website. You can place them in your sidebar. You can embed them in blocks on your sales and conversion pages. You can even post them on your blog. Personally, I have a dedicated “Testimonials” page on my website, and I pull small snippets of those testimonials to rotate on my sidebar.
6. How to’s
I could write an entire “How to” article on how to use “how to’s.” Personally, I tend to write really long blog “how to” blog posts. Many web marketers take my approach a step further, creating e-books with “how to” headlines. You can, however, write a quick 500 word article that is just as impactful. Your style and strategy will determine the best approach for you, but every website should include at least one “how to” type article. (My most popular article from last year was a “how to.”)
7. Latest and greatest from around the web
Again, you really should not be worried about SEO when working on this type of content. The goal is not to create a link circle. The primary goal is to provide your readers with relevant content from around the World Wide Web. The secondary goal of a “list of links” blog post is to build trust with your readers. It shows you are paying attention to what is going on in your industry.
8. Admissions of failure
If I ever make a mistake, I will be sure to write one of these. (My wife just snorted her coffee up her nose.) It is difficult to have a conversation with someone who is perfect. Just ask my co-workers. (I kid, I kid, but honestly…)
Identify a weakness and publicly talk about it. You don’t even have to commit to fixing it. For example, I will happily admit my company cannot help you create a television commercial. Should a marketing agency be able to help with that? We probably should, but I don’t have any intention of getting in that business.
9. Transformational stories
You know those sappy stories about the guy who would never walk again… but then… he did! People really love that stuff. Oprah, 60 Minutes, Dream Home Make-Over; lots of majorly successful programs have been built around this kind of story. Find a transformational story you had a part in. Does your business support any non-profits? Are any of your employees little league coaches?
Let all of your mushy humanness hang out.
10. Updates on your business
There is just something about seeing the inner-workings of a company that we all love. How much revenue does Joe’s Lawn Shop have? Did you hear that Susan’s Cupcakes is having a hard time in their new location? How does Michael manage all of those employees without any help? Is Jenny’s hair salon going to stay open when she has the baby?
It might feel like gossip, and sometimes it is, but sharing your business struggles and victories helps build credibility.
11. Topic introductions, 101s, and beginners’ guides
“Meat and potatoes” is my kind of content. Give me a big ol’ serving of medium-rare “this is how it should be done.” You can add a little sizzle by giving me a few days notice that your new guide is coming… and IT WILL BE AWESOME.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, will build trust with your audience faster than a comprehensive beginners’ guide. Best of all, there are new topics to cover in your industry! Introduce your readers to the latest technology, service, or theory. Walk them through the differences. Explain how they might want to use this to improve their lives. Then you can show them how to get started.
Photography is everywhere these days. Taking and sharing good pictures can be addictive. If your website is not using plenty of original images, you are missing a huge opportunity to communicate with your audience. Pictures can communicate thousands of words in seconds. A single image can tell me what you look like, who you serve, where you are, and how you work.
There are a few of my favorite types of web content. Using these forms will help add diversity and interest to your website. Your visitors will be engaged for longer periods of time, and your content will be more memorable.
I have no doubt I left out a few of your favorites, but you can help everyone out by sharing them in the comments below. What did I miss? What is your favorite type of web content?