In the first half of Emphasize Design’s exploration of effective content elements for websites, we went through several options for engaging items for the user that can also help sell your product and your company. Effective content elements can come in many shapes and sizes, and range from a short and powerful company manifesto to providing ranked lists for search engine optimization (SEO).
Content marketing is more than simply the words on the page. It’s also how those words are presented and what their ultimate function is meant to be. Generally, you want people to see that you’ve taken the time and energy needed to provide information of value on your website. If you don’t seem to care about representing your business well online, then clients may assume they can expect the same from your service in person. Initial reactions to websites are often based on design and usability, but a robust site that’s healthy with things to see, read and do also counts.
After you’ve gotten someone interested, you want to make him or her stick around to learn more. The longer people stay on your site the better it is for your SEO rankings. There are a number of ways to increase a user’s length of stay, and they’re not tricks. They’re useful little gadgets that increase a user’s overall enjoyment, provide integral information about your company and allow you both to learn more about each other.
Here are our five more clever content marketing elements:
Interactive Elements: Treat users as if they’re guests in your home and provide them with things to do. It’s only polite! Interactive and visual elements such as location maps, rollover effects, drawing abilities and so on are appreciated by this techno-savvy world and offer a nice way for you to introduce yourself to your user, and vice versa.
If you can afford to do something unique, do it. Some homebuilders have incorporated build-your-own software, where potential clients can attempt to design their new home themselves, and large home hardware stores provide software to decorate entire rooms…right down to the paint colour.
7. Guides or How-Tos: It’s great to get real usefulness from the Internet, and just about every business can provide it. Think creatively. Jot down the most commonly asked questions you get at your job and then answer them completely in an attractively designed downloadable document people can print and read at their leisure. Collating material for users is extremely useful, and they welcome your helping out and cutting back on their search time. Examples may include an insurance company providing a Guide to Insuring Your First Home, or a travel agency providing guides to attractions. A How-To is essentially the same thing, but can be shorter and sweeter. Restaurants may provide a quick How To Choose Your Wine With Your Dinner, and a retail store could offer an easy What Colours Are Best For You?
8. The Freebie: Everyone loves something for nothing, and what you give away doesn’t have to cost you shipping. It does have to be suitable, though. A very common freebie is the free membership to a “club” where the user also receives discounted pricing. Another version of the same idea is to offer a login to some coveted software, or to an information site that normally requires paid membership. All work to provide your business a sense of reliability and stability.
9. Conversation: Website content doesn’t always have to be your own, either. Allowing comments for your blogs, quizzes and other conversation-starting elements opens up the lines of communication and makes your website and company seem more accessible. Plus, you never know. You could actually learn something!
10. Emotions: It many seem cheesy, and even totally obvious, but eliciting human emotions through content is an incredibly effective way of gaining interest, and also fosters inclusion and a sense of long-term commitment in people. When blogging, creating video, or even writing a how-to, try to incorporate real-life examples. For Calgary, talking about traffic or the weather are both certain to gain a collective groan. And it’s ok to be funny, too. And even cute. Anything just a little bit “different” is allowed, it just must be applicable to your site’s content and respectful to others at all times.