Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Dynamic Content for a Digital Age Event

If you're a speaker at an event is it arrogant to proclaim it a success? I gave a presentation at a successful event in Glasgow today. Yes, it does seem like I'm blowing my own trumpet a bit. Besides I can't really judge whether it was successful, I enjoyed myself, but what does that matter!

The event, organised by the Press Association, was called Dynamic Content for a Digital Age and was held in a wet and grey Glasgow. Did you know the good folk of Glasgow have a word for the rubbish weather we experienced: dreich. Imagine that, suffering rain, cold and grey so often you require a specific word to describe it. I feel I need to add here, aside from the weather Glasgow is great city. I have two aunts and a cousin who live there and love it; incidentally none of them were in town when I visited, are they trying to tell me something?

My presentation looked at online content, specifically the benefits of dynamic, compelling content. While there are many benefits, I chose to focus on three in particular: search engine optimisation (SEO), thought leadership and social media.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It's difficult when talking about SEO to know where to pitch it, particularly when talking to a really diverse audience, like the one I was addressing. I gave a very quick overview explaining as best I could about a search engine algorithm and why search engines are so important.  In a nutshell, up to 90% of visitors to your website will have come through a search engine, and Google dominates UK search with anywhere between 77-87% of the market.  There are numerous different factors that will influence your position on the search engine results page (SERPs), and one of those factors is content.

To quote from Google's own search engine optimisation guide: "Create fresh, unique content - New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but also bring in new visitors.  Offer exclusive content or services - Consider creating a new, useful service that no other site offers. You could also write an original piece of research, break an exciting news story, or leverage your unique user base.”

Thought leadership

My second benefit: thought leadership, is a buzz word I've written about before, read my post on the what, why and how of thought leadership. It's about being seen as the expert in your field, building your brand and building trust and loyalty. Nothing says: I'm an expert and I know what is going on my industry like regularly updated compelling content.

Social media

Ultimately social media is about content, maybe it's just 140 characters worth of content, but it's content all the same. If you regularly update your website with great content, the social media bit will come easily, because you'll have something to say.

Finally we looked at all the different types of content options available:
  • Blogs
  • Press releases
  • Interviews
  • Detailed research
  • Product reviews
  • Useful data/stats
  • Images
  • News
  • Case studies
  • Video
  • How-to guides
  • Top ten lists
  • Forums/User generated content
  • Twitter
And I gave some inspiring or frightening (depending on how you look at it) stats from Google.  They have more than 150 corporate blogs with 10 million readers, and over 80 Google Twitter accounts with 2.3 million followers.

Questions from the audience revolved around where to place content on websites, and the ubiqitous: how do you measure the ROI of social media.  Ah, the elephant in the room whenever anyone talks about social media.  I'll need to write about this specifically in more detail, but right now it's time for bed.

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