Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 08 - Creating Content - the How to and Where for Guide

photocredit: jimhillmedia.com
Content originally meant just information. When the WWW version of the Internet came out, it also came to mean graphics. Later, we added audio, video, PDF's, presentation, and just about everything else.

While this probably could and should have been a section of its own in An Online Sunshine Plan, most of it wound up in Section VI - Promotion, with a tiny bit on sales pages in Section IV (page 187.)

So reviewing these sections is your pre-assignment for today.

But wait - there's more: I'm giving you your freebie right up front today - because you'll need this right off. From the original Online Millionaire Plan archives (the pre-cursor to The Online Sunshine Plan) is a chapter I wrote/compiled/edited for that book: Copywriting and Sales Pages.

Now, we'll get to the ease and simplicity of writing soon enough - first we need to talk about the rest of what shows up under "content".

Types of Internet Content

Look at your average search, particularly popular ones.

Google now lists
  • web pages and articles
  • blogs (which they categorize differently)
  • forums and discussions
  • video (and sometimes audio)
  • images
  • shopping sites
  • other document formats, such as Word .docs, .rtf, and .txt files.
- all competing for those few top spots on the top. (And this list is gradually expanding)

So content isn't just writing anymore, although it always starts this way.

As I covered before, search engines think in terms of words. Everything is a keyword to Google, etc. What you see on the search engine rankings are the most popular combinations of words. Because they are trying to serve up just what you are looking for, they'll also populate that search with various combinations and "pretty close" look- and sound-alikes.

It's not just webpages they do this with - it's also videos, audio, images, forum posts, and all the rest.

And this is why there may be "millions" of search items, but mostly you are really only concerned with the first 2 pages - because all these "close but no cigar" populate the rest. (And is why, for those who know, SEO is so easy - once you are over the learning curve.)

The way you author your content is how it's going to get found. So the main keyword phrase has to be used realistically so that it will rank well. Note that term: realistically. Search engines follow how people tend to act in most situations. They study people who use their program. So they know that if content is sloppily put together, or spammy (ie. crap), then people won't stay there very long or come back to visit again. And so devalue that page.

Again, the Internet is built on valuable information being shared.

Any content can be simply converted to the others (as gone over in pages 254-262 of OSP.) A simple sequence is to create the original article (with links and images) in a standalone editor such as Kompozer (the old Mozilla Suite Composer - updated). And post it. Then open that up with OpenOffice/LibreOffice and convert it to a PDF. Take that same work and whittle it down a bit, then post it with additional images as a Powerpoint (on Slideshare.net). Now read that text out loud into Audacity or similar program, and post the audio file on Archive.org as a podcast. Then marry the video and slides together into a video for YouTube (or one of those hosts). That's five different types of content. If you properly title the images, you'll wind up with 6, as Google will associate your images with that keyword.

If you then took a collection of those web pages and converted it into a book (or ebook), you'd then also have the audio-book ready for publishing, as well as a CD/DVD collection of videos.

And the point of doing this all is that you can rank for multiple positions on Google, plus all those properties can backlink to the original piece, which search engines rightly appreciate. (We will cover more on back-linking as a promotion strategy in upcoming days - not too far off, though.)

Authoring Styles

The Internet isn't particularly built (except private sections like Ebay and Craigslist) to host sales pages and ads. But it does. And some elitists get this a bit wonky.

There are 3 types of people who use the Internet.
  1. Lookie-loo's: These are here only for entertainment - and are what made MySpace and Facebook big in their time. They don't buy, they just look, smile, and move on.
  2. Researchers: People who want real information. Often this is precursor to a sale, but not necessarily.
  3. Buyers: These people already know exactly what they are looking for and want either factual comparative reviews - or the best possible price and terms.

They each require slightly different styles to get and keep them interested in your pages.

However, a lot of what passes for advice on copywriting is either for the first or the third. And Wordpress.com policies are built on the first - not wanting to offend, but also not wanting people to spam their free blogging platform with sales offers. (And so a direct sales offer, or too many direct links to affiliate sites will suddenly get your WP.com blog banned, and maybe your own account as well - trust me, I've accidentally stepped on their toes more than once.)

The first two types of visitors can be written for similarly. You write factual, accurate, and informative articles which then link to another page which in turn does a soft-sell review of the product - and in its own turn links to hard-sell landing pages. (And that is the strategy for using the free WP blogs (and anywhere so tight about it.)

Do your landing page (or ensure your affiliate sponsor has a good landing/sales page). This is designed to convert. Period. Next, you then do a review about the product(s) - and you can have affiliate accounts with all the products you compare on that page, BTW.  Your "review" page links to sales/landing pages - probably with a disclaimer that they are heading to a sales page with that link (people appreciate honesty.) Then you do another page which goes out on free blogs and as articles, etc., which then link to your review page.

While convoluted, this still is a way you can write for all 3 publics and get maximal possible leads and conversions. (The lookie-loo's are simply never going to buy anything - but you know they will some day need your product or service. So you want to write this light and memorable. Posting your light ones on the free blogs is sensible as it also can push your review site higher in Google with backlinks (although I'll go over that expressly in the "Secret Sauce" series coming up.)

The third type - buyers - are given hard-boiled sales/landing pages. And you simply take out classified ads to drive them there. This is why classifieds (properly written) have double or more the conversion rates of regular web pages. Visitors are already looking to buy.

You aren't really interested in website or blog generic "traffic". You are interested in people who can be cajoled or are already into a buying frame of mind. You tailor make your site to deal with people who come there for those specific keywords which they use to find information about the valuable product or service you are offering.

And in those few paragraphs above, you can tell immediately if some of these "guru's" are smoking something odd. If they only tell you about getting your traffic up, then they are fakes. If they say you have to get your traffic up in order to get that 1-2% of the market - they really don't know what the Internet is all about. Only if they say you are looking for precisely-targeted leads to convert - then do you continue studying what they say.

- - - -

Now that is really what I've distilled about content authoring since I wrote An Online Sunshine Plan. It's more refined than all I studied about it - and gives you the middle ground so you can effectively market your goods. (And believe me, I write this so you don't have to do the years of content as I did in order to have the retrospective view and distill it all yourself. Costs too much.)

Assignment is to simply do some studies of your own. Go back over your own market research and look up the pages people are using to promote their products which exist in your keyword space. Clickbank has some wild examples of good and bad landing pages, as do others.

Do study over the freebie I linked above. I've got some more really good classics coming up later. One thing at a time - one day at a time.

Some great stuff coming up. We'll give out some tested Affiliate data tomorrow, I think...