10 May The Case for a Ghost
… or what’s a blog for?
How many times have you heard something like this said by someone in your company? Or maybe you’ve verbalized once or more yourself?
- Boy, I should really blog about that. But I don’t have time.
- We’re in the news – let’s get it on the blog!
- I’d love to do it, but I hate writing.
- We’ve got to get some posts up there to realize some SEO value.
Unfortunately, the vast number of businesses out there, especially small to mid-sized, attack the publishing of their intellectual property from this same standpoint. They know they have to do it, but if you pushed them to answer why, they wouldn’t have a clear answer for you. Their best answer would revolve around a vague sense of increased web traffic.
STOP SELLING – START COMMUNICATING
You need to stop treating your website as a sales tool when it’s really a publishing house. But you can’t publish just anything. Success in using your website as a publishing arm for your organization needs to be anchored in strategy, consistency and good writing for both search engines and searchers.
What are you using your blog for? Why are you publishing at all? Are you trying to lift your search ranking with an SEO play? Or are you going for a more organic, interest-based approach that appeals to an engaged human audience? Or are you going for both?
With the right ghost, you’ll pay the right amount for less material that does more; and that builds exponentially over time.
And how are you going to get it done? And how much content do you need? And how long will it take?
Your blog is a great tool for your business for many reasons. In the old days, it was all about volume. More content with more keywords meant more visibility. That’s not the case today.
Today, it’s all about quality. But who’s perception of quality? Machines – search engines – interpret quality using a complicated balance of factors called their algorithm. But there’s people quality, too. That’s where the viral component comes in. What’s intriguing? Challenging? Funny? Edgy? What’s most coordinated with your brand? More importantly, what’s shareable?
And most important of all, how do you know? How do you rise to the challenge?
THE WRONG WAY
You could hire a content grindhouse. There are a million of them out there. They have playful names for themselves and their “teams of writers.” They conjure images of superheroes flying in capes. Or they might try to convince you that their stable of writers are all experts in your field.
Some are cheap. Some aren’t. Some you pay by the word. Some you pay by the post. You tell them you need so many pieces of content 300-400 words long and they will tell you that you need more and deliver them every month along with their invoice. You want four pieces, they’ll try to sell you a package of 12. They’ll offer a volume discount.
And in the end, you’ll be unhappy with the writing and the result.
Because they don’t attack the challenge head on. They try and attach your blog as a nameless author and game the search engines into finding you. Some of them may work a bit. But when the actual reader gets there, they are looking for something else. Something these nameless writers can’t provide. They may even end up hurting your reputation in the long run.
THE RIGHT WAY
So what do all the most popular blogs have in common? Authenticity.
And consistency. Entertainment or educational value. Authority and simplicity.
In short, they are written by one author who has a voice they like who tells them things they find informative and helpful when they are looking for answers.
The problem: you don’t have time to be writing all of this material yourself. Much less finding imagery and creating headlines and keywords and everything else that goes into generating a top-read blog.
So what’s the solution? Hire a ghost.
What’s the difference, you ask? A ghost. Or a true content marketing consultant, will listen to you. Learn what it is you want to achieve. Understand the pain points. Interpret the weak spots. Understand your brand and connect it through your messaging to your call to action. A gifted ghost will take the time to adopt your voice to your goals and ensure that everything has a consistent, clear, compelling drive to results.
Your ghost will write your blog posts, your center of excellence eminence pieces, your position papers, your ebooks, your white papers, your emails, your press releases, speeches and your presentations, and ensure that they all carry the same weight.
You don’t need to create an absurd amount of content to be successful. It’s more important for the content you create to be important.
The Cost Differential?
With a standard-issue content grindhouse, you’ll pay more for more that does less; and is never connected to what comes next. With the right ghost, you’ll pay the right amount for less material that does more; and that builds exponentially over time. It’s a doing the right things better play. Stick to the fundamentals. Don’t get distracted by the next shiny solution. Do it right. Do it better. Reap the rewards. You’ll probably pay a higher rate, but you’ll definitely see a better return.
One or two great pieces every month will always outperform 12 or more mediocre pieces a month every time. Especially if you attack the program from a keystone perspective. Create a few amazing keystone content pieces that support your brand message and make everything else you do, point to those. It’s an approach that both supports and echoes your effort.
You create less overall content, but more important content. And you establish a working relationship with a professional or professional group who understands and is invested in your success intimately.
It’s not just about getting found when people are searching. It never really was. It’s about getting found in the right context. Getting your point of view out there. Engaging your most interested audience. Teaching your customers and answering the questions they find important. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Focusing the conversation. And it’s about being the one they think of when they think about your industry.