Monday, December 22, 2008

Laws of Good Content Continued...

Law #3 -- Significance:
Understand this… There is a very basic law that governs information on the Internet. This law, as viewed from the recipient’s standpoint, is simply this: Information should be free! Break this law at your own risk.

Actually, there’s a bit more to it than that. You must first establish Trust with your audience before you can start asking them to pay for anything. Trust is a byproduct of Value and value is in the eye of the beholder.

If your audience gives your information a positive valuation, you are well on your way to establishing trust. The common currency used for this exchange on the Internet is obviously information. A key variable in this Value + Trust = Customer Loyalty equation is the significance of the information provided.

By significance I do not mean quantity. What I am talking about is the quality of your information. If you can communicate your special value to your audience in a single page, so much the better.

Perhaps you have a one-page matrix, graph or spreadsheet that would be useful to your audience. Great! Let them have it! Don’t be bashful about letting them know this information is theirs to use for FREE! There is a natural inclination (an innate tendency really) within all of us to “return the favor.” By giving away significant information (content) you are tapping into this most basic of all human instincts. Your audience will reciprocate!

Law #4 -- Frequently Updated:
Your audience wants to know that you’re on-top-of-your-game! After all, they are coming to your web site or opting-in to your ezine to find out more about you, your information or your company, with the eventual and very real possibility of spending some of their hard-earned money on your products and services!

An easy way of demonstrating to your customers that you are indeed on top of your game is by updating your web content frequently. Having done so, you should send an e-message to your opt-in subscribers that “new” information is available on They will do the rest.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited web sites only to bail out immediately and go to the next one in line when I read this telltale sign at the bottom of the page: “Last Updated -- October 2001.” See Ya! If it took me 8 seconds to get to this point, great, if not I go away with the feeling that I’ve wasted my time.

If you are using such an update notice on any one of the pages in your web site, make sure that you keep it current. If you have no intention or plan to keep your web pages current and updated, remove the update notice immediately. This is essentially preventive maintenance, which is better than the damage control of trying to win-back lost visitors to your web site.

Another dead give-away is a web site visitor counter that hasn’t seen much action in a while! Counters do little to gain visitors confidence and trust—especially when they note that, “YOU are visitor # 246 since Oct 2000.”

Final Notes On Good Content
A couple final notes on good Content: First, it is important to strike a reasonable balance between your own company information, news and events and relevant industry related information. So many ezines and web sites on the Net today are nothing more than glorified sales literature. Don’t get caught in this trap. Give your prospects and customers excellent content, always. If you don’t, be assured that your competitors will.

Second, maintaining good content on your Internet Assets (website, ezine, blog, etc.) doesn’t happen by itself. It requires a concerted effort. As I mentioned earlier, you get back what you put out. Fortunately there are numerous resources at your immediate disposal to assist you with this challenge. The rewards for developing and maintaining a good content plan are great and are waiting for you, just around the corner.

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