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February 21, 2010

The Lifeblood of the Internet

If you’ve been involved in marketing of any kind over the last two decades, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “content is King.” Marketers, successful marketers, live by that mantra. When I look at the Internet what I really see are two things. There is the content and then there are the applications that allow you to interact with the content.

To completely over-simplify things, the applications are what make it possible for us to create, share, and use the content we find on the Internet. So to say content is King, you’d have to also say that the applications are Queen in order to have a more complete view of the Internet. There are all kinds of applications from the browsers that make surfing the Internet possible to all sorts of applications that manage and deliver the content.

Think about it. Without the application we know as Google, how would you find the content you’re looking for on the Internet? I’ve been there and I remember finding things online was next to impossible, but that was back in 1987. Then we have Adobe TM Flash that allows us to see and hear sounds and images over the Internet.

There are all sorts of content management systems available to us today that simply didn’t exist a few years back. As it becomes easier and easier to manage and digest, the demand for new content grows and grows.

Marketers who create quality content often find they are able to generate large amounts of traffic, they usually have large mailing lists, and it almost goes without saying that they usually have healthy bank accounts.

It all starts with the content. The more you create, share, distribute, the better off you’ll be in building a profitable business on the web. If you want the real secret to Internet success, this is it.

Content comes in many forms, and it’s best to use as many forms as possible on your web site because there are now so many ways to access and use content and not everybody wants it the same way. Some people love to read, others prefer to listen, some prefer to sit back and watch a video.

As you develop your content, think about creating not just written articles, white papers, and special reports. Be sure to add streaming audio, podcasts, videos, screen-captures, and even animations to your mix.

Sometimes it’s best to offer the same content in different formats. For instance, you might offer an article as both a regular web page and a downloadable .PDF file. You might offer a video and also offer just the audio track from that same video.

Now how do you get from creating content to building a successful business?

Think about why most people use the Internet. They get online and check e-mail. They log into their social networks to keep up with their friends. They search for information to help them answer a question. They look for things to buy. They come to play games and meet people. All of these activities revolve around finding and using content.

When you’ve got content on your web site and you make it easy for people to find, you increase the traffic to your web site, naturally.

The more content you have, the more people will be stopping by your web site. Truly the days of the single-page sales letter web sites are done. You’ve got to do more than make a compelling sales pitch, you’ve got to demonstrate that you’re the leader in your market. You’ve got to show people why they need what you have and how it will truly make their lives better. And most of all, you’ve got to let them sample your stuff before they buy.

Let’s look at it from the customer’s perspective. Your customer wants the best of what’s available but how can they figure out what’s best from a sales letter alone? They need more information that’s not in the form of a sales pitch. They need to feel like they can try it on, test it out, and they can do that when you offer them plenty of content on your web site.

So if you’re selling a product that is best demonstrated in a video, be sure you have a number of videos on your web site showing customers using and loving your product. If you sell consulting, demonstrate your knowledge of your topic with articles, reports, white papers, audio presentations, and even videos of you speaking to an audience.

As you plan your content, also keep in mind how you’re going to present it on your web site so that it’s in the formats people can really use, that it’s easy to find, and that it’s readily accessible from different Internet devices, including smart phones.

If you’ll take to time to do this, what you’ll soon realize is that your sales letters will perform better, people will not need as much strong-arm salesmanship before they buy, your mailing list will grow, and your web site will show up in more places on the Internet.

It’s no surprise that web sites that offer a lot of content lead the field when it comes to sales. Take a look at your web site today and think about how a new visitor would really get to sample what it is you do without having to buy what you’re selling.

How good is your web site at attracting new visitors with little or no direct effort on your part? Do you have enough easily accessible content on your web site to keep people coming back for more?

Most web sites, including my own, can always use more great content. Adding content is the best and most profitable use of your marketing dollars because the return on your investment continues for years.

For instance, in 1991 I wrote my very first article on marketing. It was published in a national business magazine a few months later and it continues to appear on the Internet almost 20 years later. In that time, this one article has been read more than a million times, and has generated countless sales for my business. What other kind of marketing can do that?

In my opinion, no other marketing piece can do what adding fresh content to your web site can. Ideally, you’ll be adding new content regularly, and expiring content that is no longer relevant. When you do, you’ll have the most profitable marketing strategy working for you all day, every day for years to come.

Robert Imbriale is the author of the best-selling book, Motivational Marketing (Wiley, 2007). He has personally coached thousands of business owners since he began coaching in 1995. He is a leader in the marketing industry and regularly appears on radio and television. To get your free copy of Why People Buy go to

11 Responses to “The Lifeblood of the Internet

    avatar Dan Johnson says:

    Nice to read that someone else feels that content is King. I see so many articles that are written for SEO instead of for the readers.

    avatar 24ondemand says:

    Really useful article about content

    avatar Tom Hargrave says:

    This author is 100% correct – content is king. But web developers are not the ones who need to read this article because we understand. Those we develop web projects for need to read and understand. I’m approached with the same “why isn’t my site on page 1” question at least once a week. And when I explain that content is king and that they are responsible for delivering content to me to publish because they understand their business better than I do, I get the same “deer in the headlights” look.

    avatar MasterLinker says:

    While I agree that content is important, it is not King if your goal is to get more of your website’s pages crawled by Google and if you want to rank higher in search results so you can generate more traffic to your website. If that is your goal, then Backlinks are King.

    Is this my opinion? No, it’s straight from Google’s mouth. Here is an example given by Google’s Matt Cutts:

    The number of pages Google crawls in a website is commensurate with the amount and quality of backlinks to that website. If a website has 1,000 pages of excellent content but only 10 backlinks, Google will crawl very few of those pages. As a result, the website will not rank highly in search results for ANY of the pages.

    However, if a website only has 10 pages of content but has 1,000 quality links, Google will most likely crawl all of those pages and the pages will rank highly in the Google index.

    So while content is important, it is secondary to building backlinks. Again, this is not my opinion. It is straight from Google.

    Good luck!


    avatar Gift Basket Jewels says:

    I’m appreciative for the update and what makes a businesses competitive in today’s online marketing scheme.

    It’s time to update what I have and move up on up the line, so to speak.

    I clicked on Robert’s site and am excited to see the comment regarding Jerry and Easter Hicks! I’m a fan and will look for their book to purchase.

    I also purchased Robert’s book and am getting ready to listen to his audio.

    Thanks for the useful information. SiteProNews can be relied upon to bring “up to date” online SEO news to readers.

    avatar Thailand says:

    I try to add at least 2 new static pages every week to my site, each little bit of content helps.

    I have to agree with MasterLinker completely.

    So many people miss the boat and think content will get your website to the top of search results. Plain and simple, it won’t. Never has, and never will.

    We have tracked and tested this for years, and we pay very close attention to the patents filed by the major search engines.

    Content is good, but if your website doesn’t have authority (i.e. – lots of backlinks) then the search engines do not waste their time indexing all of the content you worked so hard to create. It is ignored and will never show up in search results.

    Google says they love content, which they do. But in the same breath they say they WILL NOT INDEX your content if your site does not have authority. It’s a case of the cart before the horse. Get some authority (backlinks) for your site, then publish lots of content.

    This is fact, not opinion. So if you are going to create content, make sure you spend even more time creating backlinks to your website.

    Good luck!

    avatar remonatrix says:

    Content is King !

    We have a need for informative information and concise content.

    Not everyone is into that game. I do understand the SEO aspect of content but information is still king.

    Hi Remonatrix,

    I appreciate your opinion, and I would have to say the content vs. backlinks argument depends upon your objectives. If you have a lot of information to disseminate, and you can find other ways of getting people to find and view that content, then you are correct: content is King.

    However, if you have a commercial website and you want it to rank higher in search results, get more traffic, and make more money, then backlinks are King. I’m not saying content isn’t important, because it is. But it plays second fiddle to backlinks for making money on the internet.

    Why? Because more than 87% of all traffic on the internet is generated by links. Even more poignant, Google (which generates more than 65% of all web searches) states that links are the very fabric of the internet and rewards websites for having them.

    So without backlinks, it will be very difficult for people to find and read your content, unless you spend a lot of money promoting it. There are tens of millions of pages of content that get very little traffic because nobody knows about them.

    The old adage, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, then does it make a sound?” is very true in this instance. If you build content but nobody knows it’s out there because the search engines ignore it due to your lack of backlinks, and you aren’t spending a ton of money promoting it using other methods, is it really helping you?

    So we can agree to disagree…I’ll put my opinions aside and listen to Google (visit Google’s Webmaster Central Blog for videos on this topic) and focus on building backlinks so my content gets indexed and my website ranks higher in search results. You focus on building more content and finding other ways of getting people to see your content. And we’ll both be happy in the end.

    Everybody has an opinion, but if you have some facts from the search engines themselves on how they rank websites based on content which leads you to believe that content is king, I would be more than happy to hear it. Our company has been analyzing this topic for more than 4 years and we are always open to learning something new in case our extensive research missed something.


    avatar KCDoberstein says:

    Creating content is nice but coming up on ideas on new content can sometimes come slow.

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