Join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to our very own writer and researcher, Liz Hill, on a successful defense of her Master’s thesis today. Liz’s research was on Madness and Leprosy in the medieval period. In the first year of her Masters degree, Liz received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, followed by the Walter H. Johns Fellowship, Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship, and the Field Law Leilani Muir Graduate Research Scholarship.She presented at the HCGSA Conference at University of Alberta in 2016 and will be writing the entry on Leprosy in World Christianity for the De Gruyter’s Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (forthcoming).
Even though your marketing manager and graphic designers may be talented beyond your wildest dreams, the reality of the current state of the internet is this: without purposeful, brilliant content even the best-advertised and most beautiful websites will die. With 150,000 new websites and 7 million new pages added to the internet daily, how can you ensure that you and your business will be found? To be frank, if your marketing manager is not staying up at night worrying about the content on your website, you should be rethinking their position in your company. This is the Age of Information and those who don’t provide it are bound to be left by the wayside. The internet is a powerful business force that can render a company successful or bring giants to their knees. As with any powerful force, it should be approached responsibly and with great attention to detail. Content is one such place that can make or break an online presence.
What is “Online Content”?
Online content usually refers to regular posts added to an online blog that is part of your overall website. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your rank on search engines (particularly with your target audience – people in your geographical location) but is often overlooked in the slough of other things that start-up entrepreneurs get weighed down with. Most start-ups are focusing on a business plan, building a product, mapping strategies, finding investors (if necessary) among a thousand other things. The last thing on their mind at the end of the day is settling down in front of their computer to write a blog article about any aspect of their business. Finding the time is difficult, but even harder is the actual writing. Business owners are rarely writers and since writing is a veritable, professional skill, not just anyone can do it well!
How can you make your mark?
The first step to building your online content is to hire a writer. In order to justify this, it needs to be recognized that this may very well be one of the best investmensts your company makes. Regular, timely content on a blog diversifies your content so dramatically that eventually, people who are combing the net for your business can find it by virtually any relevant search terms. Search engines no longer operate on optimized key words but rather go through your content after it has been published, incorporating it into their complex search algorithms. If you are a restaurant but you’ve never posted about the Top Five Local Farms Around Calgary or 18 Pictures of Food-Porn From Our Spring Menu, chances are most people are not going to find you. Writers are experienced in what works and what doesn’t – and we are highly trained in writing. It’s just what we do.
What does this achieve?
An effective blog will drive swarms of people back to your website, generate more buzz about your brand and company, develop a deeper sense of company legitimacy and community-awareness, generate more product sales, create an additional income stream through advertising, and it can become a great customer service tool for your clients to browse for more information. Blogs tend to lend themselves well to developing the “human” side of your company – with informal reflections and information presented in interesting way for netizens to devour. You can write blogs (or have them written by your writer!) in your own voice – this reassures current and prospective clients that there is a real person behind your website (something that marketing managers are often accused of not being!). A blog is also a fantastic content-management system with various archiving mechanisms available to help people find the information that they need in a timely fashion. With a well-written, regularly-updated blog, we have seen clients become the voice of their industry, building a following of thousands of loyal readers and growing exponentially every day.
What are the Measurable Benefits?
While writers tend to be preoccupied with the value of writing for writing’s sake, business owners are definitely (and rightfully) more concerned with the bottom line. Blogs can fill the social media void by automatically updating all platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and Pinterest with timely content. This increases your share-ability and exposure. Blogs also drive people back to your eCommerce website, if you have it. I have personally witnessed the very beginning of a blog turn into a lucrative online sales business which increased profitability because of lower overhead and low maintenance. Advertising sales on your blog can also generate additional income and increase your readership.
The Drawing Board blog has steadily been growing in popularity since it was launched just over one year ago. With nearly 100 posts in that short time, The Drawing Board has been popular the world over for various posts on politics, business, the craft of writing, travel and much more. Not only has our popularity expanded in terms of where we are gaining traffic (see: The Drawing Board’s Popularity is International) but it has also grown in terms of sheer volume of numbers.
With over a quarter of the year left to go in 2015, we have already quadrupled our readership and the numbers just keep going up.
How are people finding us? As a content management and creation business, we believe in the power of content to revolutionize the online impact of a company. It should come as no surprise, then, that the vast majority of our traffic comes from search engine searches (mainly Google) that linked back to content on our blog. It’s as simple as that. The next highest sources come from social media outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter where our posts are automatically uploaded.
Does any of this translate to an increase in business? While our online traffic might not necessarily turn into direct clients coming in the door (although that *has* happened several times over the past year!) what is more important is the building of an online legacy that lends legitimacy to our business – the same work we do for our clients. This legitimacy results in increased business so that we and our clients who use our services can do what we do best: help others and uplift our communities through the important work we do. That being said, we have also increased the number of contracts from this time last year from four to twelve major clients – an increase of 300%! And that was accomplished without traditional advertising (all online and word of mouth) or any real initiative put forth to garner new clients. When we put a real effort in, we can imagine what kind of impact that will have on the number of businesses we can help.
Want to appear on our blog? If you are a writer or a client and would like to capitalize on our online success, feel free to approach us about having a feature article written about you or an interview published to highlight your incredible talents. We would be happy to support you and develop more content in the meantime!