Make Media Work for You- Elements of Good Online Content

construction If I’m going to tell companies that content marketing is important, I should probably give my thoughts on how to make it useful. I’m thinking about blogging, podcasting, shooting photos, making video, and all the other tools social media allows us to use to tell stories (not market). In my ideas, I give you nuggets of what matters to me in media making, and what I believe will matter to your prospective audience. Not your customers, per se. Maybe this is for internal audiences. Instead of thinking B2B vs B2C, just think “human.” These are elements I feel humans want.

What do you think?

Elements of Good Online Content

  • Be Brief – No matter how short the video or blog piece or podcast is, make it shorter. No matter how many pictures you took, choose only the few that make your point.
  • Make it Portable – If you’re going to bother making media, make it easy for people to share it, use it, shift it around. Think embeds in YouTube. Think RSS and email delivery, etc.
  • Make it Useful – No one wants to read about your product. They want to read something that empowers them. That’s why books sell. We read them to improve ourselves. We buy cars to feel better or to move our families around.
  • Make it Personal – Repurposing your TV commercial for YouTube isn’t enough. That’s okay to do, as well, but why stop there? Video is free and cheap. So is blog content. So are photos. Do something memorable by making stories about your customers, your employees, whoever matters.
  • Make it Fresh – Wow, there is a lot of redundant content out there. I’m going to say it before you do: some of mine is redundant. One reason you don’t often ding me for that is because I try to find a fresh angle. It doesn’t always work. But if you don’t try…
  • Make it Relate to Your Business – Let’s not be too noble here. If you’re looking to sell blenders, You can’t do better than BlendTec. If you’re looking to sell computers, you might be the next Digital Nomads. It doesn’t have to be pure and noble. Just be clear when you’re helping versus when you’re selling.

Does this help? What questions do you have? Tell us about your experiences?

Photo credit Bill Jacobus1

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  • http://www.egitisim-blog.com E�iti�im Kariyer Enstitüsü

    Ä°t is same with, “make a product which people desire to talk about it” it is cheap pr and ads.

  • http://www.egitisim-blog.com E�iti�im Kariyer Enstitüsü

    Ä°t is same with, “make a product which people desire to talk about it” it is cheap pr and ads.

  • http://www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk Fabulous Photo Gifts

    The problem is the ‘editing’. I’ll explain.

    Because so much online social content is edited by the same person that produced it, it’s very difficult to be subjective about ones own work – If you didn’t feel it merited inclusion, you wouldn’t have put it there in the first place….etc.

    Interestingly, we were discussing video’s the other day and one suggestion was to keep videos to 3 minutes – whether that’s a wedding video or a product shoot. 3 minutes was about the right time-span before people started wandering.

    I think my 3 minutes or rambling are just up.

  • http://www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk Fabulous Photo Gifts

    The problem is the ‘editing’. I’ll explain.

    Because so much online social content is edited by the same person that produced it, it’s very difficult to be subjective about ones own work – If you didn’t feel it merited inclusion, you wouldn’t have put it there in the first place….etc.

    Interestingly, we were discussing video’s the other day and one suggestion was to keep videos to 3 minutes – whether that’s a wedding video or a product shoot. 3 minutes was about the right time-span before people started wandering.

    I think my 3 minutes or rambling are just up.

  • http://www.podmedia.ca Simon

    Great post. All true, but I would say being useful is, wihtout a doubt, the most important element. Forget this one, and any post is useless. Thanks Chris!

  • http://www.podmedia.ca Simon

    Great post. All true, but I would say being useful is, wihtout a doubt, the most important element. Forget this one, and any post is useless. Thanks Chris!

  • http://overjobs.blogspot.com Luciano Bitencourt

    Be original, that the question! But.. how to be original with “millions” ads, paid links and banners and in website/blog? Impossible. My opinion, we need “Forrest Gumps”, storytellings and creatives. People making “mix” technology with folk culture. We need much more humans, being humans.

  • http://overjobs.blogspot.com Luciano Bitencourt

    Be original, that the question! But.. how to be original with “millions” ads, paid links and banners and in website/blog? Impossible. My opinion, we need “Forrest Gumps”, storytellings and creatives. People making “mix” technology with folk culture. We need much more humans, being humans.

  • http://www.mikeslife.org Mike CJ

    We have a great case study of this in action. We have a bricks and mortar business which has been successful for 8 years. Most of the business is driven through a traditional website.

    A few months ago, we set up a blog alongside it. The blog doesn’t showcase or sell anything. It simply talks about the people who work with us, the clients who buy from us, and the area we’re based in.

    The enquiries that come to us through the blog are just amazing! Not in quantity, but in quality – these people are our friends before they come to us, and you know how easy it is to do business with friends?

  • http://www.mikeslife.org Mike CJ

    We have a great case study of this in action. We have a bricks and mortar business which has been successful for 8 years. Most of the business is driven through a traditional website.

    A few months ago, we set up a blog alongside it. The blog doesn’t showcase or sell anything. It simply talks about the people who work with us, the clients who buy from us, and the area we’re based in.

    The enquiries that come to us through the blog are just amazing! Not in quantity, but in quality – these people are our friends before they come to us, and you know how easy it is to do business with friends?

  • http://www.integratedmarcom.blogspot.com Joan Damico

    Good info. I would add be relevant. Speaking as a B2B marcom pro, online content has to be relevant to the intended audience. All too often it’s relevant to the marketer, but not the market.

  • http://www.integratedmarcom.blogspot.com Joan Damico

    Good info. I would add be relevant. Speaking as a B2B marcom pro, online content has to be relevant to the intended audience. All too often it’s relevant to the marketer, but not the market.

  • http://fpn.advisen.com Mason Power

    Helpful & relevant post and discussion – does anybody have a similar success story to Mike’s but about something good with social media tools other than blogging? Thanks

  • http://fpn.advisen.com Mason Power

    Helpful & relevant post and discussion – does anybody have a similar success story to Mike’s but about something good with social media tools other than blogging? Thanks

  • http://tv.factor77.com Jared O’Toole

    Its so hard to determine how long to make something. We do interviews and its tough because there’s lots of questions to ask that are great content but what is to long.

    But I think things can be long especially if you make it accesible whenever someone wants by making it portable.

  • http://tv.factor77.com Jared O’Toole

    Its so hard to determine how long to make something. We do interviews and its tough because there’s lots of questions to ask that are great content but what is to long.

    But I think things can be long especially if you make it accesible whenever someone wants by making it portable.

  • http://www.tumblemoose.com Tumblemoose

    Hi Chris,

    I hate to admit it, but if a blog post is too long, I’ll just pass it by – unless it is something exceptional in value.

    I’ve unsubscribed from blogs that had posts that were consistently 2000+ words. This is especially true when I can look at a post and pare it down to 500 or so and not lose the meaning.

    Good tips for sure.

    George

  • http://www.tumblemoose.com Tumblemoose

    Hi Chris,

    I hate to admit it, but if a blog post is too long, I’ll just pass it by – unless it is something exceptional in value.

    I’ve unsubscribed from blogs that had posts that were consistently 2000+ words. This is especially true when I can look at a post and pare it down to 500 or so and not lose the meaning.

    Good tips for sure.

    George

  • http://www.iRelaunch.com Carol Fishman Cohen

    Chris, We have a mutual friend in Susan Kang Nam – I spoke for her Salty Legs Career Club about a month after you kicked off their speakers series. Would you mind ripping apart this blog post on Twitter’s @GeekMommy I just put up on Monday on Yahoo Shine (before I read your post above)? http://tinyurl.com/c2wyu8 I’ve got a thick skin and welcome any constructive criticism you might want to throw out, so if you are so inclined, please go to town – thought it might be instructive for all of us to see you analyze an actual blog post based on what you wrote above.
    Thanks so much, Carol (on Twitter @iRelaunch)

  • http://www.iRelaunch.com Carol Fishman Cohen

    Chris, We have a mutual friend in Susan Kang Nam – I spoke for her Salty Legs Career Club about a month after you kicked off their speakers series. Would you mind ripping apart this blog post on Twitter’s @GeekMommy I just put up on Monday on Yahoo Shine (before I read your post above)? http://tinyurl.com/c2wyu8 I’ve got a thick skin and welcome any constructive criticism you might want to throw out, so if you are so inclined, please go to town – thought it might be instructive for all of us to see you analyze an actual blog post based on what you wrote above.
    Thanks so much, Carol (on Twitter @iRelaunch)

  • http://timandren.com Tim Andren

    The ‘Make it Useful’ component is by far the most important. So many in marketing and sales easily forget this as they are busy tailoring their message. For instance, it’s so critical to have the best copywriter possible on your project, someone who has the creative ability to weave an offering into strong, attractive copy. This goes for any aspect of creative direction.

  • http://timandren.com Tim Andren

    The ‘Make it Useful’ component is by far the most important. So many in marketing and sales easily forget this as they are busy tailoring their message. For instance, it’s so critical to have the best copywriter possible on your project, someone who has the creative ability to weave an offering into strong, attractive copy. This goes for any aspect of creative direction.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Being succinct and on target is so crucial. I’ve begun limiting myself to no more then 600-700 words per post. If it’s longer I’ll break it up into pieces. Now my blog posts average about 450 words. It’s a great exercise for those of us that like to be slightly long winded… :)

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Being succinct and on target is so crucial. I’ve begun limiting myself to no more then 600-700 words per post. If it’s longer I’ll break it up into pieces. Now my blog posts average about 450 words. It’s a great exercise for those of us that like to be slightly long winded… :)

  • http://www.marketingspecifics.com Erica Bell

    That’s a good post, especially about make it short because people will often turn away if it takes too long to get the message. The best advice in life are short and sweet! I also agree with Mike CJ that we often do business with our friends people we actually like; that human connection.

    Erica

  • http://www.marketingspecifics.com Erica Bell

    That’s a good post, especially about make it short because people will often turn away if it takes too long to get the message. The best advice in life are short and sweet! I also agree with Mike CJ that we often do business with our friends people we actually like; that human connection.

    Erica

  • http://www.quired.com J. Paul Duplantis

    Two words that strike me in this post. “Help” and “Sell”.

    If you create your product, service or event to ultimately help a consumer fulfill a need and relate this message to the consumer you are empowering your brand.

    Social media fuels consideration for those with good intentions and those who are willing to share. The more consumers continue to use these tools the more difficult it will become to just “sell” your brand.

    Once people begin to purchase on price and understanding then maybe the market will yield better quality. I think we would all do better by focusing less on easy money and more on quality consumer relationships that yield repeat business and steady growth.

    I love money don’t get me wrong but maybe more of a focus on “helping” is what we all need.

    I personally think there is a market for it.

  • http://www.quired.com J. Paul Duplantis

    Two words that strike me in this post. “Help” and “Sell”.

    If you create your product, service or event to ultimately help a consumer fulfill a need and relate this message to the consumer you are empowering your brand.

    Social media fuels consideration for those with good intentions and those who are willing to share. The more consumers continue to use these tools the more difficult it will become to just “sell” your brand.

    Once people begin to purchase on price and understanding then maybe the market will yield better quality. I think we would all do better by focusing less on easy money and more on quality consumer relationships that yield repeat business and steady growth.

    I love money don’t get me wrong but maybe more of a focus on “helping” is what we all need.

    I personally think there is a market for it.

  • Eddie Reeves

    Great post. I would probably add one thing — something you do instinctively, Mr. B: Make it collaborative. In other words, overtly solicit feedback on how whatever you are communicating to other humans might be made better by those humans!

  • Eddie Reeves

    Great post. I would probably add one thing — something you do instinctively, Mr. B: Make it collaborative. In other words, overtly solicit feedback on how whatever you are communicating to other humans might be made better by those humans!

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  • http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com Deirdre

    This was a helpful post. I agree with Eddie Reeves that your content should be collaborative in the sense that people can comment to you, to each other and share ideas further. This will only help you to create more compelling content. Thanks!

  • http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com Deirdre

    This was a helpful post. I agree with Eddie Reeves that your content should be collaborative in the sense that people can comment to you, to each other and share ideas further. This will only help you to create more compelling content. Thanks!

  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com Ethan Yarbrough

    There are two kinds of writers: those that write like they’re *paying for* every word they use and those that write like they’re *being paid for* every word they use. I fall into the latter group, I’ll admit it. Short is generally better in a blog post, but I think you can periodically throw in a longer, more analytical or contemplative piece. If most of the time you don’t overtax your readers’ attention spans, they’ll come along with you on the occasional longer pieces as long as you put some effort into making it readable and entertaining.

  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com Ethan Yarbrough

    There are two kinds of writers: those that write like they’re *paying for* every word they use and those that write like they’re *being paid for* every word they use. I fall into the latter group, I’ll admit it. Short is generally better in a blog post, but I think you can periodically throw in a longer, more analytical or contemplative piece. If most of the time you don’t overtax your readers’ attention spans, they’ll come along with you on the occasional longer pieces as long as you put some effort into making it readable and entertaining.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Great to read everyone’s perspectives. I’m sorry I’ve been slow to respond. I’m in a completely different time zone. It’s 6AM here, and you guys have already had hours to digest the post and think about it.

    I’m still reading all the comments, just hours after the fact. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Great to read everyone’s perspectives. I’m sorry I’ve been slow to respond. I’m in a completely different time zone. It’s 6AM here, and you guys have already had hours to digest the post and think about it.

    I’m still reading all the comments, just hours after the fact. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  • http://angelaalbright.com Angela Albright

    Fantastic post Chris…thank you. I find trying to get the right combination of elements in social media (length of blogs, blog and tweeting content, personal to business ratio,) really just takes getting out there and doing it and not being scared to scratch ones knees :) However, reminders, suggestions and informative content from pros like you that have been doing it longer are just tremendously helpful – so thank you! Your content and efforts are very appreciated.

  • http://angelaalbright.com Angela Albright

    Fantastic post Chris…thank you. I find trying to get the right combination of elements in social media (length of blogs, blog and tweeting content, personal to business ratio,) really just takes getting out there and doing it and not being scared to scratch ones knees :) However, reminders, suggestions and informative content from pros like you that have been doing it longer are just tremendously helpful – so thank you! Your content and efforts are very appreciated.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    @Deidre – I love collaborative efforts. I agree. Great point.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    @Deidre – I love collaborative efforts. I agree. Great point.

  • http://cc0105.com/ tongmingyu

    Great post. All true, but I would say being useful is, wihtout a doubt, the most important element. Forget this one, and any post is useless. Thanks Chris!

  • http://cc0105.com/ tongmingyu

    Great post. All true, but I would say being useful is, wihtout a doubt, the most important element. Forget this one, and any post is useless. Thanks Chris!

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    I agree with every point you have for developing good content. I think that higher education and government would benefit from putting into practice these points when they develop content for their websites.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    I agree with every point you have for developing good content. I think that higher education and government would benefit from putting into practice these points when they develop content for their websites.

  • Czarlos

    In general, great post, however…
    saying video is free and cheap is like saying a car is free and cheap. You can get a free car if you want, but how far does a free car get you?
    As a professional I’ll tell you video can be done dirt cheap, but time is money so don’t leave the house with your camera unless you have a validly good idea.

  • Czarlos

    In general, great post, however…
    saying video is free and cheap is like saying a car is free and cheap. You can get a free car if you want, but how far does a free car get you?
    As a professional I’ll tell you video can be done dirt cheap, but time is money so don’t leave the house with your camera unless you have a validly good idea.

  • http://www.zencollegelife.com Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife

    Excellent tips. Short and to the point, and when executed correctly, will translate into greater success. I like the simplicity. Thanks!

  • http://www.zencollegelife.com Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com

    Excellent tips. Short and to the point, and when executed correctly, will translate into greater success. I like the simplicity. Thanks!

  • http://tv.factor77.com/ @JoshHurlock

    Market as if to build a relationship with the customer. The key is to getting to the point because no one needs the runaround. At the end of the day, just add tremendous value to other people.