7 Content Ideas that Will Blow Up Your Brand and Business in 12 Months or Less—Guaranteed

by Marcus Sheridan

unqiue blogging contentOK, we’ve heard all the phrases—Content is king, Content Rules, Content is Everything…Yes, yes, yes, it’s true, no doubt. But the real question is no longer about just producing content—it’s about writing stuff that truly teaches, inspires, and answers consumer questions. And not only that, it’s about producing content that stands out—that’s opinionated—and makes the world (your industry) take notice.

So the obvious question is how? How can your business come up with article ideas that will skyrocket your brand, garner web traffic, and also rock and roll when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization)?

That’s what this article is all about. Having coached in the last year businesses from all walks around the globe on this very subject, I’m stoked to discuss today simple yet extremely unique strategies that will not only give you stacks upon stacks of consumer and SEO friendly content, but will also leave you thinking in no time (once you look at your website’s analytics)—“Wow, how did this all happen??”

7 Content Ideas that Will Forever Change Your Business

1. Pricing Articles

I’m always amazed at how often I’ll go to a company’s website and they are afraid to discuss pricing. I’m telling you, this is just about the dumbest thing ever. For whatever reason, many companies want to have customers meet with a sales person before that evil thing we call ‘pricing’ is ever brought up.

But think about it for a second—When you’re interested in a product, what’s the first thing you look for when you’re on someone’s site? Yep, that’s right, you want to know how much the dang thing costs. And if you can’t find any pricing info? That’s right, you move on to the next site.

So if you’re a business owner and you’re not talking about product pricing on your website, then get with the program, because you’re not only losing business but it also appears as if you’re embarrassed about your own pricing. ( Keep in mind here that you don’t have to always give specific pricing per se. Ranges are fine, especially if your product or service varies in its cost.)

Just to give you an example of what I’m talking about, type in ‘fiberglass pool pricing’ in your little Google box. In the first couple of places you’ll see this article that I wrote about 1 year ago. And how many views has it gotten during this 12 month period? Well, to be exact, a decent 31,279 reads. Not too bad, eyy?

2. Cost Articles

I know what you’re thinking—“Marcus, you just talked about this.” Yes, I did, but in the eyes of Google and their algorithm, I clearly did not. You see, when it comes to product pricing, there is a large group of people that will type/search (let’s assume your company sells widgets) ‘Widget Pricing’ or ‘Prices on Widgets’ and then there is another group that will type in ‘Widget Costs’ or ‘Costs of Widgets’. Are you seeing what I’m saying here? When it comes to awesome content that gets major love from the search engines you need to write articles that address exact phrases and words, not just general ideas. This is very, very critical to understand if you want to be successful.

Just to shed further light on this, the most successful page on my pool website is far and away the fiberglass pool cost page, which, in the last year alone has been read exactly 54,305 times. (And no, I’m not kidding).

So to reiterate what I’m saying, the 2 most popular pages on my entire website both talk about the exact same subject, but address two very, very different words—cost and price.

3. Vs. Articles

Whenever I meet with a new client, one of the first things I talk with them about is their competing products and manufacturers. For example, let’s assume that your company sells John Deere lawn mowers. This being said, you are competing with handfuls of other lawn mower manufacturers, which also means your potential customer base has to choose between said manufacturers.

Let’s assume someone came to your store and got a quote on John Deer X model. Then, after going down the street or looking on the internet, they get a quote on a Husqvarna Y model. Being confused as to which is better, they go to Google for advice and type in John Deer X vs. Husqvarna Y: Which is Better?  If you’ve written an article on such a topic, and it’s good, there is a very good chance you could show up on the first page of Google for said results.

A perfect example of one I’ve written is ‘Fiberglass vs Concrete Pools: Which is Better?‘. This article alone has garnered 56 inbound links and has been read 8,652 times in the last 15 months.

4. Problems Articles

Whenever a person is looking to spend money on a product, one of the first things they do is seek out the negatives or drawbacks to said product. For example, in the inground swimming pool industry, there are 3 types of pools—concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. And considering that many builders like to blab all day long about the ‘problems’ of the other products (types of pools), consumers are constantly typing in Google ‘problem’ oriented phrases.

To give a powerful example of this, my business partner Jason (of Skyward Blog) once wrote a landmark article called Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Problems and Solutions. Because no one in our industry had ever had the guts/marketing sense to write about such a topic, it immediately shot to the first page of Goolge. And how has it done since? Well, in just over one year it has garnered 137 comments, 168 inbound links, and 25,589 views as of today’s date.

Seriously folks, this is an amazing content strategy and you need to do it today.

5. Review Articles

I love review articles. So do consumers. But for whatever reason, companies are afraid to write them. My question is this—We market and sell our products and services all day long, during which time we are comparing said products/services with other companies, so why are we so afraid to take these same thoughts and put them to pen?? Frankly, it makes no sense to me at all.

If you really want to see further what I’m talking about here, just type in Google any phrase that has to do with ‘fiberglass pool reviews’ and you’ll see one of my articles show up on the first page—every time.

6. Awards

Ahh yes, award articles. Man these work great! Here are a few I’ve written over the past couple of years with their corresponding stats:

4 Fiberglass Pool Manufacturers to Watch Out For in 2011: Written only 2 months ago, this article has garnered 118 inbound links and 1544 views

Large Fiberglass Pool Design Awards For 2010: 1749 views to date

Small Inground Fiberglass Pool Design Awards For 2010: 54 inbound links and 6,886 views to date

You may be asking yourself the question, “What gives me the right to give out awards to vendors/manufacturers in my industry?” The answer is simple—You have an opinion. And you’re an expert in your field. So share it.

As you can see, the traffic and SEO juice is exceptional.

7. Gimmicks

Every industry has its gimmicks. I see it every day in the internet marketing world, the swimming pool industry, and the many other fields in which I’ve assisted clients. It doesn’t matter the niche, they’re all the same, and there are going to be gimmicks, frauds, hacks, whatever.

But the main question is this: What are you going to do about it? Are you going to just let it be or are you going to nail your 95 Thesis to the church door and call them out? Yes, the latter will garner positive and negative attention from those in your field, but in terms of marketing and branding, there’s no question the results will be well worth it.

Here’s an example of a ‘gimmick’ article I’ve written before:

The Most Egregious Fiberglass Pool Warranty I’ve Ever Seen

So there you have it folks, 7 content ideas that should get your creative juices flowing and if followed through with, will have a huge impact on your company’s brand, web traffic, and bottom line. Yes, I know much of what you read above is a new way of thinking, but trust me, it will work, and if you have further questions as to how, contact me above or just email me at marcus1@thesaleslion.com and we’ll make it happen together.

Your Turn:

So my questions today are simple: Have you or your company ever utilized any of the content ideas above and if so, what were the results? Also, why do you think so many companies are afraid to produce content that talks about the things consumers are truly searching for—problems, gimmicks, reviews, etc. ? Jump in folks, this is an incredibly powerful subject, and I’d love to discuss it with you below.

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Dino Dogan April 18, 2011 at

You threw me off with the content in the headline. I wouldn’t call this content. I would call it brilliant integration of what you know and write about already and the way people access information. But I guess content is little quicker to say/read lol

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Dino, great to hear from you man, and sorry the headline threw you off ;-) ..But yes, ‘content’ is a pretty lame word, as it really is all about ‘people’ and ‘information’…and how they get it.

Thanks for stopping by brother. :-)

Marcus

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Stuart April 18, 2011 at

Marcus, you do realise that I’m now going to go to sleep with the words “fiberglass pool floating around in my head?

I’m kidding really. Highly impressed with your points here, and your proof to back them up! You’ve certainly written a lot of articles that have garnered much attention. Perhaps it’s time to release the older articles and let them get some more love? Especially those from the days when 10 comments was normal for you ;-)

It’s up to you, but I think you’ve got so much quality in your archives that if you were to unleash it onto us, perhaps as a sequel to an archived post, you’d then have two articles that would be boosted. Perhaps encourage people to comment on the older post as well?

Keep up the fiberglass pool love my friend :-)

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Davina K. Brewer April 19, 2011 at

First, ITA Stuart I love the real-world examples. Second, yes to leaving posts open to comments. It’s how Marcus got THE Chris Brogan to drop by, which got me reading – and commenting – on the post, sure a few other reads and RTs too. GOOD content has no expiration date. ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Thanks for that Davina, and yes, it was dang cool that CB stopped by for a quick chat. Honestly, I have no idea why bloggers turn off comments. It simply makes no sense. Like you said so wisely– Good content has no expiration date.

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Haha Stu! You rock buddy, and make me smile :-) But if you’re dreaming about fiberglass pools, that can’t be too bad, right??

It’s funny what you say about archives. I’ve actually been thinking about that, because like anyone who took a long time to grow, I’ve got some of my best stuff at the beginning, and it’s buried. So yes, I think I might re-write some of my old stuff so as to make sure my audience, (that now actually exists) can get to see it.

Always appreciate your support bud! :-)

Marcus

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rob white April 18, 2011 at

Great, practical ideas, Marcus. I love deepening my understanding and clarity on how this inbound marketing works. I consider my blog a fertile field in which I plant different seeds of higher consciousness. I’m not always sure when or what will spring forth but I have faith that continually sowing seeds of powerful content will yield an abundant crop. The specificity you outline here is a helpful guide.

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Hey Rob, thanks so much for stopping by here and I’m so glad you feel like you’ve learned a little more about inbound marketing through this little article. I know you’re in quite a personal development field, and there are so many people that need to read your great stuff, and by making sure you word titles and headers just right, Google will have a higher chance of sending people your way and thus your ability to help those that need it and are searching for it most will grow as well.

Really, really appreciate you and your kind way of being Rob.

Marcus

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Eugene April 18, 2011 at

I think you’ve nailed down the effects of not putting a price page on your site perfectly. People leave! I know I’ve done it before looking for certain items online. If I can’t quickly figure out what I need to pay I go on to the next one.

Is it lazy on my part? Maybe. But it is also a bad decision on the provider’s end to not cater to their customers. Especially in the world of instant gratification we live in today, people want answers NOW.

The company that readily provides that information will probably get more business (even if they charge slightly more) just because they make life easier fort he consumer.

I think that in most cases the business is afraid to scare off their potential customers by giving them a price up front. But you HAVE TO give the price eventually don’t you?

If the potential customer is inquiring about your service after seeing the price you’re in really good shape. And if they leave BECAUSE of the price then does it really matter? They’re clearly not willing to pay the amount…what can you say to change their minds if it is out of their price range?

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Yes, yes, yes Eugene. I’m so glad you brought further light to this subject. Price is a HUGE deal to consumers. And like you said, if they can’t find it, they’re going to get frustrated and look elsewhere…and why in the world would be ever want them looking elsewhere?? It is baffling, isn’t it??!

Your comment was great here Eugene and I’m always thrilled that you’re willing to add to the conversation. :-)

Marcus

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Paula Lee Bright April 18, 2011 at

You are absolutely right, and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner. I have a content site that I haven’t gotten up and running yet, because I’ve been twiddling my brains on how to do it right.

I’ve been afraid to address my biggest competitors, which are big brand tutoring franchises, and quite the opposite of me in everything we do.

But only when I tell people that, and comparative costs, will they ever think my ideas might be worth trying. Egads, I have wasted so much time! Thanks as always, Lion.

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Oh Paula, you really do have such an opportunity with your niche!! Yes, if you follow the strategies above, I can assure you you’ll get traffic, and lots of it, but you’ve got to be consistent with your content and you’ve got to write for the consumer.

If you decide on some post ideas, like a list of 20 or so, feel free to shoot them my way and I’ll give you my thoughts on the titles and topics.

Good luck Paula!!

Marcus

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Frank April 18, 2011 at

Marcus,

I am overwhelmed by the massive amount of insight you were able to throw into this post. Each statement you made is solidified by the detailed examples of the benefits. I don’t have a business myself but if I did I would use these tips to help drive my business based blogging efforts. You know what I do a lot of marketing for my church and this is a great way to build the church’s brand and public perception. I guess I can use this advice.

Now I need you to help me find a way to get an outdoor pool I can swim in during the winter. Any suggestions? (don’t answer) :-)

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Frank, always love hearing from you man, and your content needs interest me quite a bit. With growing a church and congregation, there is so much opportunity there and most churches are currently not utilizing social media and especially blogging as they could. This stuff works, in any niche, and if you come up with some article titles I’d be happy to give you my thoughts if you shoot them my way. Good luck man, and thanks so much for your comment.

Marcus

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Jk Allen April 18, 2011 at

Wow Marcus…first page for:
“firberglass pool hustler review”, in spot #2.
And same results for:
“hustling firberglass pool review”

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

This article is great. The best part is that it’s not rocket science. It might be fiberglass pool physics, but at least it’s not rocket science!

I think people sometimes lean towards the conservative because they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t know that it’s okay to have personality and to be opinionated…and to be honest, personal opinions carry more value because they are based on an individual’s perspective, not generalities that everyone shares.
I will tell you, despite the simplicity that’s layered all throughout this masterpiece, I think you’ve formulated some great strategies in getting seen on google – which is like a modern day billboard – and you proved it by sharing the results that you’ve gotten from each idea.

Last week I had a meeting with my team. During the meeting, individual rankings were shared and ya’boy somehow turned up to be on top of the list. My manager asked how I managed to crush it (her words) and I said because I’m efficient and don’t follow traditional processes. This opened up a 2 hour discussion which I focused on empowerment.

I share this because even conservative big businesses are starting to see the importance of “the creative approach”. If they try to strap down my ability to be creative and keep me from going against the grain, they may notice a dip…and not one that adds mass to the triceps…

Keep these coming Marcus. You make it seem easy to be a Sales Lion!

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Davina K. Brewer April 19, 2011 at

Hee… wonder if I’d get front page “fiberglass or concrete press releases, inquiring minds want to know?” I get the creative approach, going against the grain. Works for you JK.

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

My boy, my boy, my boy JK…’crushin it’ ,were you?? Ahh yes, Gary V would be proud, and that’s quite the compliment to him btw.

I’m going off road a second JK and want to tell you that I think your next career is doing exactly what you did with your fellow workers in the office. That is, you shared and worked with them to help each individual catch the vision of what ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘reaching one’s potential’ really is. I’m not sure when it will happen my friend, but your blog was your first major step towards attracting that next phase of your life into reality.

I just can’ t really tell you in words JK just how much I appreciate you and the person you are and the kindness you demonstrate to everyone you come in contact with every day.

Have a great day bud,

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

btw, #1 page for ‘fiberglass pool hustler review’??–Sweet!!! ;-) I like that!

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kira permunian April 18, 2011 at

Now, I know it! The company I worked with have hired content writers with SEO background ofcourse. The articles they produced have undergone several content editors before passing it forward to our clients. What we did was that, we surpassed what is required by the clients. And we always do that to all our clients, that’s really the reason they kept on coming back to us.

The only thing where we could get a little problem now is the article marketing side, as we all know with the update, seeing the effect of it to some article submission websites, so alarming. I believe being wise in this aspect is somewhat crucial.

Thanks, I am learning great things here.

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Marcus Sheridan April 20, 2011 at

Hey Kira, thanks so much for commenting and I’m glad to hear you’ve been having so much success with content.

Appreciate your support!

Marcus

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Brankica April 18, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

to start with pricing. Here is an example. I wanted a new car about a month ago. So we go to the car place here in GA. I know exactly what car I want and I wanna pay cash for it. No loans, nothing.

So we ask about the price and they go, well we will have to check your credit first, yadda yadda. I was getting annoyed but had no intention of telling them I wanna pay cash until they tell me the price.

So we go back and forth for 5 more minutes, and all they keep saying is, why don’t you go to the office with our financing manager, we will look at your credit, etc etc… I left and will never again go to that car place!

I am not even going to go deeper and comment on every point you made because they are 101% correct. I can see myself applying a bunch of these on some of my sites.

People search the new either for a free info or a price of something (mostly) and this is the perfect way to get all that traffic and capitalize on it.

And this post is definitely going into a round up…again….

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Hey Bran! Let me tell you, I think you need to call that car dealership up and give them my number for some sales training, because they STANK! ;-) It is amazing though how, in general, so many businesses are scared of this price thing. Ridiculous really, and it’s all over— whether in a car dealership or on a web site. You know, the last I looked we couldn’t make anything happen in the world of business without the money.

BTW, cash Bran?? Uhhm, good ya send a little of that spare change up here ;-)

Thanks for commenting and all your promotion too!

Marcus

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Brankica April 21, 2011 at

Lol, that is how we roll in South GA :)

And as a side note, my hubby’s and mine jobs are very highly paid, no business like war business, RLMAO

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Patricia@lavender-oil April 18, 2011 at

Hi Mr Sales Lion

Another brilliantly helpful post Marcus. Like Brankica, there are things for me to implement from reading this and so thankyou for your generous sharing of your own experiences selling those pools :-)

As you know I have just done my first product review and although it is not a product I sell, it’s interesting how much traffic it has garnered. When I publish a post, always wonder how it will go and pleased for Pawel, that my readers are going to check out his book after reading my post. Sweet

Have a great week Marcus and thanks for sharing with us. Appreciated.

Patricia Perth Australia

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Great point Patricia, reviews work every time. And do you know why? (I’m sure you do but I’ll say it anyway) Because they force both the writer and the reader to have an opinion, which sparks a high thought level, and maybe even some debate. Plus, they’re useful as heck to a consumer because there are often times not enough reviews out there for a particular product.

Good luck with all you’re doing now Patricia with internet marketing. I very much hope it all works out and you get the results you’re looking for.

And thanks for your constant support too!!!

Marcus

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Jeff Ogden April 18, 2011 at

Interesting tips. I’ve posted pricing to Find New Customers, including a downloadable price sheet. (Never saw anyone else do that.) We also have articles on problems.

Thanks for the great tips.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple”
http://www.findnewcustomers.com

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Howdy Jeff. A downloadable price sheet huh? Wow, good for you man. Tell me, if you wouldn’t mind, what has been the difference you’ve noticed since you implemented that? Have sales been impacted?

Really appreciate you stopping by Jeff. Hope to see you again and thanks for the comment.

Marcus

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Jon April 18, 2011 at

Marcus,

Well you did it. Inground and fiberglass pools are now synonymous with Marcus Sheridan to me. Thanks.

To be honest I haven’t done much of the Vs. or the Problems approaches but those stand out the most to me. I know from my own personal searching experience I’ve tried to find articles pitting one product (or service) against another.

Smarts delivered once again, my friend, thank you.

Jon

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Haha! Thanks Jon. Not to brag, but such is the case in the fiberglass pool industry. That’s the power of content man, it’s really crazy.

Well make sure you give the VS and Problems a try Jon, they’ll work wonders, I promise.

Have a great one my friend and thanks so much for your support.

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget April 19, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

This post was brilliant and the timing was perfect for me. I’m going to have a meeting with a Norwegian company next week about their Facebook strategy. And, I’m going to talk a lot about content marketing.

It seems to me that Norwegian companies are not doing this at all. They’re especially afraid of writing about the price and their strategies in order to reveal what they’re doing to their competitors. Hopefully I can turn their strategy around :-)

- Jens

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Sweet Jens, that’s exciting man. If the businesses there haven’t done any of this (and I know they haven’t), the results will be amazing. And i really mean AMAZING. So give ‘em your best pitch and tell them to call me if need be!! ;-)

Thanks for being awesome Jens!

Marcus

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Usman@FirstHosting April 19, 2011 at

Right, as the aim of blogging is to help others, not just like producing content for rankings of our site, we need to spend time to see what people need and produce what they want.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

That’s right Usman, it’s ALL about what they NEED— and they need info that is specific and opinionated and not afraid to say it like it is. Good stuff man, and thanks for stopping by to comment.

Marcus

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Usman@FirstHosting April 22, 2011 at

Yes Marcus!

and I don’t really like those blogs who just re-produce their blogs just for better rankings and etc, all is just scrap for others.

Regards

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john Falchetto April 19, 2011 at

Hi Bud, you know this conversation about pricing or not on the site is ongoing. I think when you sell a product, you HAVE to put the price. When it comes to services, it really boils down to the amount of hours and the project details, so pricing it is much tougher. Unless you have specific packages for certain services, pricing ranges onsite is much better for services, as you point out.

My personal favorite are the problem articles. You have concrete and fiberglass pools, I deal with a lot of hype about the 4HWW and location independence. They might not be similar, but both have their downsides and positives. In the personal development field there is a lot of people who go on about how great their solution is, or their approach. If we want to be honest with our clients we need to show both sides and honestly tell some folks, this solution isn’t right for you.

I think the biggest fear for many people out there is that they want to be everything to everyone. They want to be able to answer ‘Yes, we can do this’ to every question a client asks. Sometimes saying No or showing alternative ways of approaching an issue is the best thing you can do for someone.

Marcus, this goes beyond content bud, this is really what any business should be about.

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Davina K. Brewer April 19, 2011 at

ITA John. Coming from the PR side, the problem solving articles are a great idea, along with the Vs. and the Reviews; all serve to help establish credibility, promote expertise. Whether it’s a product or service biz, that’s what it’s about… showcasing and sharing what you know, what makes your biz different and worth it.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Wow, great comment John, as always my friend. Your industry is a very unique one, and certainly one that is thirsting for some opinionated leaders will to dispel truth between error. So you’ve got a tremendous opportunity when it comes to producing very direction and goal oriented topics. (which, btw, we should sit down in NY and brainstorm some topic ideas, that would be awesome).

As far as not pricing services, yes, that is a good point. Personally, I would do ranges and examples of costs, but it’s so variable I can understand being leery of that.

Thanks for your constant and huge support JF!

Marcus

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Sheila Atwood April 19, 2011 at

Marcus,

We can all get stumped at what to write. Your article shows a good way to stand back and look at what you can tell about your business.

I hate to shop and I live out in the boonies, so I do most of my shopping online. We recently bought all new appliances for my mothers house. Although we bought in a nearby city I had all my ducks in a row before we walked in the door. We also purchased from 2 businesses that gave out great info online.

I am amazed at how well teaching sells. It is almost like the more transparent I am the more the person is willing to pay me.

Thanks for another fine article.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Yes, that’s it in a nutshell Sheila— teaching sells Sometimes I feel like I need to beat those two words into a business owner’s head for he/she to ‘get it’, but such is life. Just look at your experience with the appliances— you knew exactly where you were going to buy because of ‘information’. The whole concept is so easy really yet very few follow.

Thanks for your wonderful support Sheila!

Marcus

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Marlee April 19, 2011 at

Hiya Marcus!

This article ROCKS! In fact, I plan to send to all of my healthcare marketing clients to help open their eyes. The resist addressing pricing all of the time and I constantly have to battle them in those areas. They believe that if they put their pricing online, people will see how expensive a service is and decide they don’t want it without them having had an opportunity to be sold to. I don’t have to go into the reasons as to why this thinking is flawed because you obviously get it, but I’m glad to have another resource to point to in making this point.

I also like your idea about creating awards. I’ve never considered that but it’s a great way to give positive recognition to products and services you sell within your business. This idea has a broad reach and I can see how it could easily be applied in many ways. Great stuff here – as usual.

Gotta love the lion!

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Marlee, love your thinking here, as I always do. :-) Yes, the health care industry is suffering from a serious lack of vision, and it’s gals like you that can open up a new world to them. And from the sound of it, ‘awards’ articles would work wonders.

Glad you love the lion Marlee, he sure as heck loves great people and supporters like you!! ;-)

Marcus

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Christina Pappas April 19, 2011 at

I 1000% agree on the pricing point. So can I ask for some advice? How do you convince upper management to reveal pricing? Companies are always scared of competitors seeing it but your point is valid. Its the very first thing we look for when evaluating products. We just dont want to talk to a sales person anymore and I think companies truly believe that if that hide pricing and force a conversation, that they can overcome any objections. If you are relying 100% on your sales team conveying your value proposition, maybe the content on your site needs some work.

Thanks for this post! You inspired me to write about how our software compliments a competitor’s software. Sometimes, it doesnt need to be either or.

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Robert Dempsey April 20, 2011 at

I think you answered your own question Christina with your last sentence – “If you are relying 100% on your sales team conveying your value proposition, maybe the content on your site needs some work.”

I say you are spot on with that.

There are many ways to overcome objections on the product/service page, two of which are:

1. Testimonials from customers
2. Good copy linking product features to rational and emotional benefits

Without those all you have is a page that’s describing that the widget is. If that’s what you got then you’ll need a sales team to do the selling. If done properly, the sales team complets the sales, not makes them.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

the sales team completes the sales, not makes them….

Wise words indeed Robert.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

I think you’ve raised a great question here Christina and as Robert stated so wisely, you’ve done a nice job answering it in the process. A couple other suggestions for you CEO:

1. Read this article.
2. Give him stats on keyword phrase in your industry revolving around ‘costs’ and ‘prices’. Ask him if he would like to get those visitors.
3. Look at your competitors sites, do they have pricing info?
4. Have a friend, group of people, (whatever you can get) look at your site and ask them about the lack of pricing. Ask them if it bothers them. And if it does, write or record their thoughts, and then give it to the CEO.
5. Tell the CEO to ‘pull head out of butt’. (that one always produces an emotion ;-) )

Good luck Christina, so glad you liked the article!

Marcus

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Marcia Hoeck April 19, 2011 at

What I like about you, Marcus, is the depth of your posts. There’s always a nice surprise. These content ideas are killer, and so are your stats.

Way to go, again.
Marcia

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

That’s awfully kind of you to say Marcia, and I really appreciate it very much. :-)

Hope I can only continue to merit such words from wonderful people like you.

Marcus

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John Sherry April 19, 2011 at

Obviously my blog isn’t a raw business one Marcus but I decided if it was how would I figure my content as you suggest here. And I came up with this – retro articles. What products, services, or ways to promote or connect to the customers are coming back in either a) the same but more refined market or b) a whole new conceptual one? Everything comes around again sooner or later, or so they say, so why not write and sell the premise of something first or even be the leader in idea regeneration? Another solid post from the Lion in my opinion Marcus, from John your ‘mane’ man ;)

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

You’re great John, you really are, and even though you’re not necessarily doing the ‘business’ thing with your site, if you ever created one I know you’d be very successful, just from your ideas here I can see that.

Your support is wonderful bud, thank you!

Marcus

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Rob April 19, 2011 at

Great article and very thought provoking – We offer different print solutions – I will do a digital v litho article – see where it goes.

Thanks

Rob

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Alex Blackwell | The BridgeMaker April 19, 2011 at

Thanks for this business-article writing primer. I’ve never thought of grouping my business writing in these classifications, so I appreciate what you have created for us Marcus.

Alex

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Cool Alex, thanks man. If you apply this stuff, I’d really love to hear about it, as it will work, I promise.

Good luck and thanks for your support!

Marcus

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Riley Harrison April 19, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,
An excellent lesson in marketing. You better hope your competitors don’t read your blog!
Riley

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Haha Riley! That’s the craziest part. I have tons of competitors that read my blog. I have literally no trade secrets. I’ve put it all out there for everyone. Yet 99% won’t do anything with it. Crazy, but true.

Have a good one my friend and thanks for your support.

Marcus

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Jason from Skyward April 19, 2011 at

Man, if hadn’t seen this work a thousand times already I might have doubts. The great thing is that for many industries, you’ve just provided at least a years worth of content ideas that are guaranteed to take a small business straight to the top.
This is golden brother, just golden!

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Thanks bud, heck, half of these ideas were yours anyway ;-)

Have a good one brother, thanks for being the best.

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Davina K. Brewer April 19, 2011 at

Being in a service biz, I can still see how this speaks to me Marcus. I did a post – ok, rant – on ‘easy ways to lose clients’ that ended up being popular w/ some other solo PRs. The #1 trick was tell them it costs money. Forget ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’, you can’t hide from pricing, costing strategies. Everyone wants and needs to know not just cost, but return and value on said investment. What it’ll do for THEIR bottom line.

And now for the FUN stuff:

- Awards. The “Ingrid Abboud, Does She Ever Get Tired of Typing?” Trophy for Longest Comment.

- Gimmicks. The “Ok Lori, I’ll Write Your Post Someday” contest, for every 5th comment I’ll draft a pithy, silly RT for one of your posts.

- Reviews. The “Way Above Average Brian Meeks” review on anything. Because it’s sure to rock. Hilariously.

- Vs. The “Joey Strawn How to NOT Suck” series that compares apples to oranges.

Maybe I’m a little over caffeinated today. WTH? No such thing. ;-) FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

haha Davina!!! This was GREAT! You’ve clearly given me a laugh today :-) ‘Does Ingrid ever get tired of typing???….Now that is a good question, and I’m thinking the answer is a resounding NO! ;-)

Thanks for bringing smiles with you wherever you go Davina!

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer April 21, 2011 at

See I just get goofy when the posts are smart and clever and way above my pay grade. So I sassify and what not, but think I may have to actually write this as a post, give out some awards, host a gimmicky contest, top prize could be whatever’s in the My Coke Rewards account. IDK.. just thinking. If nothing else, you at least think I’m funny. ;-)

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Mark Harai April 19, 2011 at

Marcus, not much to add here. I have my student EARS on and taking notes on all of the great information that’s surfacing. This is some excellent information every small business owner should be reading about : )

Traditional media is where my experience is, in terms of utilizing it to create a market or build a brand for the various businesses I’ve been involved with over the years. It wasn’t too long ago that the social web didn’t even exist.

It’s a brave new world out there that we’re dealing with in regards to business, marketing, customer service and the customer experience… and all of this is attached to the social, mobile web. It’s crazy.

It’s great to learn from someone who really understands and known’s how to best leverage these platforms to build business. This is great stuff.

Thanks Marcus : )

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Hey Mark, appreciate that man. It is crazy how all of this is happening so fast. What was working just a few years ago is already obsolete. It’s a challenge just to keep up and stay on the cutting edge.

But with your insatiable appetite to learn, you’ll have no problem keeping up my friend. Plus, that’s why we’re a team, all the expertise come together and fill in the gaps. Gotta love that!

Appreciate your support Mark, I really do man.

Marcus

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Robert Dempsey April 20, 2011 at

There were two things I was told early on in business:

1. Package your services like products – they’re easier to sell that way
2. Never show your prices on your website. That way, when someone with deeper pockets comes along you can charge them more.

#1 still makes sense today, #2 doesn’t. However I’ve been told #2 by multiple people within the past few months, so that notion is still going strong. I think it comes down to a few things:

1. People don’t want to scare potential customers away with their price.
2. Many people go for lead volume rather than lead quality

For #1, the countermeasure is to put the price on the page after you’ve told the reader about the awesome value you provide. This makes the ultimate price less consequential. But how many people write product/service pages like sales letters? Not many.

For #2 there’s a bigger issue to address. Frankly going for quantity sucks as you can waste a lot of time with people that will never become your customer, or refer you business, etc. I’m not saying to completely ignore them (perhaps but them on a backburner list), but I go for quality and price is an excellent qualifier.

If there is no way someone will pay your price, for whatever reason, they aren’t going to pay it, regardless of how long you talk with them about it.

Having said that, I’m in the process of better packaging my services and pricing them. That will be at the bottom of a sales-letter style page.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Robert, wow man, I’m seriously diggin your visionary approach to this, and the way you’ve broken it out. This is must read for anyone looking to make a buck, I mean that.

I love your mentality and it’s obvious to me that you truly ‘get it’ when it comes to information, but not only that– clients– and the types you want to do business with.

Thanks for all bud,

Marcus

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Steve@Internet Lifestyle April 20, 2011 at

Marcus,

Great points on what to write for online business articles to help make them successful.

I specifically agree with you on your #1 point. I know am always looking for pricing info, and I often do exactly what you say…no price…onto the next site.

I think that tip alone is pure 100% gold

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

Hey Steve, good to see you man and I really appreciate that. Coming from you, that means a lot…. The stuff works, no doubt.

Thanks for stoppin in my friend.

Marcus

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Mark Mathson April 20, 2011 at

Thanks for the insightful topic Marcus. I’d wager to say most of the companies that choose to not employ these content creation methods are the same ones that have a ‘don’t share anything publicly or our competition will steal our secrets’.

I say to that innovate, be market leader (or working towards), and forget what the rest say and ‘just do’.

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Marcus Sheridan April 21, 2011 at

I say you’re dang right Mark! If a company is hiding this stuff, they have a fear-based paradigm that seriously needs some adjusting.

Thanks for stopping by bud. Hope you’re well.

Marcus

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Christian Hollingsworth April 22, 2011 at

For one of my online retail stores we practiced lots of giveaways. The results were phenomenal. It was an retail store for dog products. We’d get hundreds of people sending in photos with their dogs, using the products, etc…It was a great way to drum up attention towards the product, dogs, and the brand.

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Email Fundraising April 23, 2011 at

True, content is the king no matter what. No matter how much you work on linking if the content is crappy then that won;t do any good.

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Cat April 26, 2011 at

Thanks so much for some great ideas on content for my blog. Just reading your post gave me about 10 ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. I’ll definitely be back for more!

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Marcus Sheridan April 26, 2011 at

Hi Cat, thrilled to hear that. It really is amazing just how many articles can stem from using this method, I’ve done it with many types of companies and businesses, and it always works. Well I hope you subscribed and will be coming back again!

Thanks for commenting,

Marcus

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waterpearls April 27, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,Nice and interesting topic.Thanks for sharing 7 content ideas and all are easy to understand and very helpful.

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Thomas April 30, 2011 at

Hi Marcus

You are making some very good points here. The price example is so obvious. The idea about writing about problems and issues with your products and letting your customers find that article instead of an article written by the one angry costumer who was disappointing with your product 3 years ago. That is something everybody easily could do and should do. Thank you for the inspiration Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Glad you liked it Thomas, and I do hope you try some of the ‘problem’ articles, as they can make all the difference and lead to huge trust and traffic.

Thanks for stopping by and your support sir!

Marcus

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bestmarketingmbaprogram May 19, 2011 at

Let’s see if this works. You have really great ideas here.

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