Guest post written by Jessica Edmondson
Despite the various trends and techniques discussed in SEO circles, Google has been adamant that its algorithm simply tries to find the best websites for a search term and that quality content is an integral part of that calculation. That consistent assertion has given rise to content marketing, a strategy that companies adopt to deliver just the quality content Google and – more importantly – users are seeking. Companies from all industries and sectors have adopted content marketing, publishing anything from blog posts and press releases to white papers and eBooks. Still, businesses don’t want to crowd every section of a site with content, and users don’t want to have to sift through endless pages to find the content they want. So what’s a content marketer to do?
Create a content resource center. According to Marketo Blog, “a content resource center is a section of your website where you can organize and publish your content in a way that makes it easy [for users] to find and share the content they need.” Your business website needs a content resource center, as it makes it easier for your customers to find the information they want, and that improves your site’s value in Google’s estimation.
Now that you know why you need a content resource center for your business website, you need to understand how to make it work for you. It can’t just be a collection of information, unconnected to the digital world around it. It has to draw people in, and to do that, it has to stand out. Here are four ways to make sure your content resource center does just that.
1. Start with a “press” or “company insights” section
If you engage in content marketing, you (or the agency you hired) probably also launch press releases and want to promote information about updates to services or products you provide. These things should live on your website, and they should live in this section.
TechTagger maintains a press section on their website to collect press releases. This section also features announcements of feel-good items like TechTagger’s free community-service initiative, in which anyone can request two tags free of charge.
2. Sync up your blog posts and social media with your resource center
You can do this even if your resource center is just a collection of press releases. You’ll want to develop a way to integrate your blog posts and, potentially, even your social media activity on one page of the resource center. This will allow customers to engage with your content in one, logical place, and if you do it well, it will create a unique customer experience.
Bridgestone did this when they created the Tread and Trend section of their website. There, customers can click through a range of topics related to tires and see blog posts with an embedded social media stream fully integrated.
3. Include visually-engaging content
Content is not just blog posts and press releases, though. The Internet lends itself to visual media, and so some of your content should also be visually pleasing. With a content resource center, you’ll have a natural place to host content like data visualizations and infographics, which easily draw in social media shares and links that point directly back to your website.
Concert Hotels did just that. With knowing that their customers – people searching for hotels near music venues – are obsessed with music and love interesting new ways of processing information about music, they developed The Sound Board. It’s a resource center dedicated to visually appealing content on music. They also generate loads of social media shares, which makes potential new customers aware of the brand in an interesting way.
4. Include “thought leader” materials
It is one thing to include fun content that gains clicks and links, but you also need content that earns customer trust. That is where “thought leader” materials – white papers, case studies, and industry surveys – can be useful. With this kind of content, your company and your employees can be established as experts in the minds of users and customers.
OpenView is a venture capital firm that establishes its expertise and trustworthiness with case studies, peer reviews, workshops and more. With this, customers can feel more assured of the company’s competence, and journalists can look to the company as a reliable source of information. Both of these can help the company increase brand awareness and reach more potential customers.
Content resource centers are a necessity for any business website seeking to create a better customer experience and compete in search rankings. By approaching the task with creativity, you can build a resource center that allows people to find information about the company more easily, to see new trends in customer interest, and to broaden your appeal across digital channels. In short, content resource centers let you consolidate and intensify the strategy behind all your content marketing. That’s a lot of hard work for one (not so) little section of your company’s website.
Jessica is a writer and content marketer at Distilled, a creative online marketing company. She particularly fancies small business topics that involve social media and branding. You can circle her on Google+ here or follow her on Twitter here.