Once upon a time, Internet marketing could be boiled down to a single phrase, from which all strategies were determined: content is king. Providing the customer or user with information that was relevant to what they wanted in a form that was concise, accurate, and accessible was considered one of the most critical parts of web design and online marketing.
Some of the old tactics and methods that allowed a site – whether it was about payday loans or pandas juggling chainsaws – to get to the front page have changed with the advent of the social media “revolution.” The shift has caused a few to consider whether or not content still sits on the throne, or if something else has replaced it.
Content is still what is crucial to convincing people to sign up for RSS feeds or come back to a site. If there isn’t anything useful or interesting on the site, why would people bother with it? Good content, even if it’s just a short-but-insightful quip, will be what gets people linking to the site, driving up its rankings in search engines. Flashy designs may get the attention of a customer, but it is still good content that keeps them from leaving once they start looking for some substance.
However, content isn’t just about the written word anymore. It pays to get visual and to give everything a little bit of appeal. This is especially true in a social media environment, where information is bombarded at all times and people can only keep their attention on one thing for a short period. With pictures being able to present an entire “story” much more concisely than a wordy description, content these days is likely to include the visual alongside the textual.
In social media, unlike traditional websites, it isn’t enough to start an idea and roll with it without accepting input. Comments are fine, but tend to feel lacking and detached. No, in the social media arena, the best way to drum up interest in content is to talk about it. Design things such that they’re great conversation starters, topics that people can get into. It not only encourages people to actually read through everything, it also adds value to the piece by stirring discussion among its readers. Not everyone who reads will bother to comment, but sometimes just a few can work wonders.