Get your message on the web

Online is where business is at. Customers are using the internet to make purchasing decisions and it is where businesses need to go to interact with them. A digital communications strategy is vital to all businesses.

If your website is optimised with keywords and metadata updated, your next customer might get a direct hit when they plug the right words into Google. But in a lot of cases you are going to have to seek them out and actively engage with them.

The key ideas in a digital strategy are content – search – social media. The right combination of these can deliver results.

Content is vital. Content that offers something useful will raise awareness of your brand, build reputation and drive people to act. It is also an organic way of generating search rankings. David Meerman Scott is also a firm believer in the power of good content and advocates the use of thought leadership content and online media to reach buyers directly and bring them into the sales cycle.

Creating such content is not hard. Think about what your customers, or potential customers, might find useful: market insight; investment tips; a comparison of sector performance. Is there a video of a conference speech or research paper that could be made available? Or create something specific, Allianz has.

Regularly updating your website with fresh content will help your search ranking too. The more you update your site, the more you link to other sites, the more other sites link to you, then the more the Google spiders like your site.

Social media also has a role to play in distributing your content, promoting your brand and even letting you know what customers are saying about your company. Plug you company name into Twitter or Technorati and see what comes up.

After you’ve uploaded your video onto your company’s site, do the same on YouTube. And the PowerPoint from yesterday’s conference can go on SlideShare.

Such sites might not suit your target market. But what about the Financial Times? FT Alphaville, the paper’s award-winning markets blog recently launched an exclusive community for financial markets professionals. In the Long Room members engage in informed debate with their peers and there is the chance for companies to sponsor the tables that host these debates.

In all of your online communication, use plain language. Users are not about to enter terms like ‘high-performance’, ‘innovate’ or ‘cost-effective’ into a search engine. They are going to use words that get them what they want. So before you upload your next media release or sign off on marketing materials, load the text into the Gobbledygook grader .

This post first appeared on BlueChip News.

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