Your website is no longer the best place to publish ALL your content.
Before you lose your mind, let me add one caveat. Hosting your own website, on your own domain is still an absolute necessity. Posting original content on your website is an absolute necessity.
You must have a home base for your business on the Internet.
But I’d like us to think a little deeper about which types of content belong on our website and which do not (or have a limited impact).
Website Traffic is a Silly Metric…duh
According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketing B2B Survey, for the last six years website traffic has consistently been cited as the most often used metric in measuring success.
Yet the three most important metrics to B2B content marketers, in order, are:
- sales lead quality,
- sales and,
- higher conversion rates.
Higher traffic seems to be missing.
76% of B2B content marketers plan to produce more content in 2016 than 2015.
More content is not the answer for increasing lead quality, sales, and conversion rate. This is doubly true if all new content is going to live solely on your own website.
Instead, focus on content quality and context.
“Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media.”
Great content alone isn’t enough, that content must also match the context of who you’re speaking to and the environment they operate in.
“Respect the platform. Respect the audience. Take your agenda and make it third.”
Great content plus proper context = $$$
The Fragmentation of Attention
Every day the Internet continues to fragment into smaller pieces. Even inside a giant like Facebook, attention is ripped and torn to shreds by Edgerank and Private Groups.
eMarketer summarized their 2012 on Audience Fragmentation, with:
More channels mean smaller audiences despite more time spent with media.
Taking in all the data, eMarketer ultimately concluded that a shift in strategy was necessary to capture the continually growing micro-audiences forming inside of every platform.
“In this context, “critical mass” has a much different meaning than it did, 10 or even five years ago. On the surface, there is a critical mass of TV viewers, smartphone and tablet owners, and mobile web users. But digging below the surface exposes the fragmentation into micro-audiences. A return to the prior model seems highly unlikely; if anything, the challenges associated with fragmentation will only proliferate, necessitating a shift in both strategy and focus for marketers that want to keep up with their audiences.”
Every new web app, platform or tool is fighting for the most valuable asset in business: Attention.
Why does attention matter?
Because without attention, connection is impossible.
Why is attention is so valuable?
Because attention is scarce and discriminates.
You have to work to capture attention and even harder to keep attention. We retain attention only as value as we continue to provide value.
Without attention, no one knows who you are, what you do, or why they should care.
Better put, without attention, no one buys from you.
Here are just a few places that I consumed content today:
- Email newsletters (Paul Jarvis, Jason Calacanis)
- Email blog subscriptions (Pew Research, Contently)
- Medium mobile app
- Audible (So Good They Can’t Ignore You)
- Facebook mobile app
- Facebook desktop
- Twitter mobile app
- Yahoo Finance mobile app
- iTunes Podcast mobile app
- Text messages
- Replied to 13 emails
That’s just today and it’s a Sunday. During the week the list might be twice as long (shit, by the end of the day the list might be twice as long. I haven’t checked my fantasy baseball team yet or watched TV).
It’s fair to say my attention (in terms of content consumption) is fragmented.
Five years ago this list would have probably have been Facebook, email, blog subscriptions, and TV. That’s it.
It’s much easier to target attention in a less fragmented world.
So What Content Goes on Your Website?
The primary theme of content published on your website should be intent-based.
What the hell is intent-based content?
“They ask, you answer,” and the other four essential content types evangelized by Marcus Sheridan as, “The Big Five.”
Your website should be stuffed with resources and solutions. This is the type of content potential customers are searching for in Google when they’re in “Buy Mode.”
Get it? Intent-based marketing, they have an intent to buy (it’s actually a little deeper than that, but we don’t need to go there today).
Here are the questions you be asking about content on your own website:
- Is this a best-in-class resource on the topic?
- Does it answer a specific question my target customer is asking about our product/industry?
- Is this content 10x better than the competition?
- Will this content rank in search?
- Will my target customer find this content useful?
This is content that belongs on your website.
Where All the Other Stuff Goes
Medium. Facebook. Twitter. Youtube. Snapchat. Instagram. Email Newsletter. Guest Blog Posts. Podcast Interviews. Slideshare. Quora.
Where depends on what the content is and who you’re looking to reach.
Maybe you’re asking, “What is the other content?”
You, exercising your expertise.
I recently wrote an article titled, “The Business Case for Snapchat from a Guy Not Selling a Snapchat Marketing Course.”
Sure I could have put this on RyanHanley.com. But honestly, neither was a good fit. Medium was the perfect venue to get this message in front of a broader audience more dialed into Snapchat.
It would have been selfish to write this on my own website. I don’t want to be known as The Snapchat Guy. I had a take on the platform that I thought would be useful.
Medium helped me reach a more diverse audience.
I wanted people to read the Snapchat article and be like, “Damn, this guy is a stone-cold marketing gangster and like uber genius smart. I need to sign up for his email list.”
That’s what I wanted.
I don’t care if you visit my website. I want you to find value in my content and subscribe to this newsletter.
I can provide you the opportunity to do that from anywhere. Not just my own website.
This is the point of thought-leadership style articles, to attract attention and grow your audience.
Reaching out in native social platforms with your thought-leadership content allows potential new audience members (customers) to find you in the place they’re most comfortable with.
It also allows you to combat the fragmented Internet by not forcing people to leave the platform they're on to consume your content. This is why I see Facebook Instant Articles as a big play.
Not every piece of content (or maybe even most pieces of content) need to live on your own website. At least not every piece of content needs to originate on your website.
For search and sales reasons, there is absolutely content that must live on the website you own. But more and more we’re going to have to play in other people’s sandboxes to find the audience we wish to attract.
For all of the reasons above, I’ve started building a Medium Publication called, Scale Magazine, with Mark Traphagen and a few other writers/marketers we’ve invited so far.
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