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Cynthia Clark | August 22, 2013

5 Steps to Provide Great Content

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content curation2.jpgCustomers want great content. Whether it's images, video, or text, having the right content can make the difference between a successful organization and one that struggles to grab and retain customers' attention.

Especially because of the explosion of the Internet, today's customers have information at their fingertips. Further, a larger portion of the sales journey is taking place before the prospective customer makes the first contact with the company. It is therefore essential for organizations to ensure that they are providing their customers and prospects with the right information that will help them make a purchasing decision.

According to Pawan Deshpande, CEO of Curata, today there is so much content online that unless an organization is providing the right and most relevant content, they will look for the information elsewhere. "A search query is only a click away," he says. Instead, by providing customers with the right content at the right time, organizations will gradually start being perceived as a trusted authority. "Once they have accomplished that, they can more easily influence their customers," he notes.

A mistake that organizations tend to make is not providing comprehensive information or publishing content with themselves in mind, rather than content that appeals to their customers. "When this happens, organizations may publish low quality content simply for the sake of search engine optimization or to be out there with no real substance," Deshpande says. Instead, organizations should choose a topic that matters. They should also add their own perspective rather than regurgitate what other people are saying.

One way for a company to make sure it's providing interesting information is to curate content. "Curation is imperative for organizations to be able to regularly publish content for their customers," he notes. "It's not feasible or cost efficient to create all content on behalf of an organization from scratch."

Further, having the right content goes a long way towards establishing a brand as a trusted resource for information. "By bringing together the most relevant content on a specific topic from other experts, trade publications, and vendors alike, an organization has the opportunity to simultaneously gain a buyer's trust, and quickly educate the buyer on that topic," he notes. Deshpande shares these five points to ensure great content:

• Hire a dedicated content creator: Organizations need to make sure that someone is responsible for the content they're creating and sharing. They need to have a dedicated person who can create and write this content.

• Crowd source internally: Employees, especially customer-facing ones, can be a great source of information as to what content is relevant and interesting. People from different departments should be recruited to write blog posts or other content in order to give an additional perspective.

• Outsource externally: Not every organization has the resources that can be specifically dedicated to content creation. In this case, companies should consider hiring an organization that can create custom content that will interest customers and prospects and entice them to want to learn more about the company.

• Curate content:
Sharing already existent content can be a great way to keep customers engaged, but this needs to be done well. Deshpande recommends including clear attributions and a clear annotation on why the company sees this content as relevant to its audience.

• License content:
Purchasing syndicated content about a topic that is relevant to the organization and will give value to readers can be an important addition to a company's content.

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