Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

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Saying it over and over again within and across media is essential. Let me repeat …

Information Dumps vs. Spoon Feeding

Whether it is a new product web page, a brochure or an email blast, companies everywhere have a seemingly irresistible impulse to cram every feature and benefit into the content. What should be a hard-hitting 200-word message turns into a 2000-word, mind-numbing information dump.

The root cause of the information dump syndrome is thinking, if we get everything out there in one fell swoop, our job is done. While this sounds logical and efficient, it fails to take human nature into account, a factor that is clearly essential for any content marketing strategy. To avoid turning your content into a dump, keep these two ideas in mind:

1. Short and Sweet

While there are exceptions, for the most part a marketing message’s impact diminishes as the word count expands. Since word count is directly related to the number of ideas being expressed, it follows that a shorter message with fewer ideas has greater impact. To restate it more compactly:

Fewer Words + Fewer Ideas = Greater Impact

This formula applies to web content in particular, because people move through web pages so quickly. Studies vary, but it’s safe to say that users make a judgment within a handful of seconds whether to read a page’s content or click off. The mere sight of an imposing block of content is in and of itself enough to drive many readers away.

2. Repeat and Repeat

Saying something once accomplishes very little, even when the message is compact and compelling. Users might be in a hurry when they read your stuff. They may have a hundred other things on their mind. They are probably not even close to being ready to act on whatever you’re saying. Some marketers feel that repeating the message somehow insults the intelligence of the reader, but I think just the opposite is true. Repeating a message makes it easy for me to remember, especially when the time comes when I’m ready to take action.

Repetition vs. Spam

Admittedly, there is a fine line between strategic repetition and spam. Staying on the right side of the line hinges on frequency and timing. Here are specific examples to help clarify. These are just suggestions based on my experience and data gathered over the years; what’s best for individual firms may be different.)

Content on the Page
• Landing Pages. Repeat the same call to action, but space it out every 200-300 words in pages with long content. On short content pages, one CTA in the body and one in the form are usually sufficient.
• Product Pages. State the one or two most compelling benefits above the fold, and push secondary benefits and features down. Touch on the top benefits throughout the page.
• Blog Posts. It’s seldom effective to cover more than one or two main ideas in a post.
• Brochures. Less is definitely more. Keep at least one page free of content clutter and instead use it to drive home one or two main points.
• Tweets. It’s beneficial to use the same or similar phrasing when tweeting the same message. Otherwise, each tweet strikes the reader as a new idea.

Content Syndication
• Email Blasts. One email per month is a desirable frequency; the argument for emailing more often should be very strong.
• Blog Post. Covering the same idea five times a week is too often. Covering the same idea every five posts is about right.
• Tweets. Repeating the same message twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon is as far as I will go. Chances are good that the AM and PM audiences will be different.
• Facebook Posts. High frequency posting seems to be less well received on Facebook than other media, even if the messages are different. Since users are especially sensitive to stream clogging and can easily block you, we seldom repeat a message more than two or three times a week.
• Google+ Posts. Google+ attracts a very savvy crowd, at least in the marketing world. Repetition two or three times a day might work, but your message needs to be well crafted, useful and intelligent.

“Well crafted, useful and intelligent” is a good rule of thumb for most content issues, making this last point worth repeating. The cumulative effect of repetition – when well crafted, useful and intelligent – is greater brand awareness, stronger brand identity, and ultimately, better lead generation.

Great companies are generally known for one or two things. Keep the message simple and streaming … it will help you get there!

Bonus video: Check out this entertaining, 31-second video that demonstrates the effectiveness of repetition!

This Content is Currency blog post was written by Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a web development firm specializing in Drupal, based in Chicago. They work with firms in a variety of B2B and B2C niches, including a firm known for building the best dentist websites and one that books golf tee times online.


Facebook is, simply put, massive. A global phenomenon. It’s predicted that there will soon be one billion Facebook users worldwide: not bad for a website that’s just eight years old. This huge audience is not to be ignored and more and more businesses, from multi-nationals to sole traders, are realizing Facebook’s marketing potential. Facebook users often check in to newsfeeds and favorite pages several times a day. The question is, then, how can your business get involved in the global Facebook conversation? Here are five ways you can get started.

Paging all customers…

First thing’s first. Set up a Facebook business page. It’s no good trying to promote your services from your own personal page – that’s not what it’s intended for. The process is quick, free and easy to do.

Make your business page look good. It’s an extension of your brand, after all. Create a slick landing page to welcome your visitors (you can create an excellent landing page for free at Use this page to host videos, push special offers or sign people up to your mailing list. Once past the welcome page, the new Facebook timeline feature allows you plenty of creativity in uploading logos, choosing cover images, highlighting stories and promoting your products. Always check spellings before you post anything. Nothing worse than ‘typo turn-off.’

Liker loyalty

It’s all very well for people to stumble across your Facebook business page, but you need to make sure they stick around and start doing business with you. Make it easy for people to sign up. Have obvious subscription forms, contact details, exclusive offers for new ‘likers’ and links to external websites. Incentivize supporters to recommend your page to friends and colleagues. Track down similar pages and invite their supporters to ‘like’ you too.

Set up discussion forums, competitions or games with random prizes to encourage people to keep coming back for more. You could have a ‘Fan of the Week’ who gets 10% off their orders for the next seven days. Think about what would make you return to a Facebook page time and time again.

Have we got news for you…

There’s nothing more off-putting than a page that hasn’t been touched for four months. Keep tours frequent and fresh. That doesn’t mean spamming product shots every hour. Look at the world around you – what’s hot in the media right now? Could you post something about a topical issue to stimulate discussion? What issues are your customers interested in? Most importantly, how can your business link to those issues? Think outside the box. For example, a company selling luxury leather sofas might comment on current interior design trends.

The Holy Grail of a Facebook business page should be an engaged, active audience, posting regular ‘likes’, comments, questions and feedback. Ever notice how, at a party, you are drawn to the most vivacious groups who look like they’re having a great conversation? Make your business page the Facebook equivalent.

The personal touch

As important as it is to provide fresh content, always keep it professional and relevant to your target audiences. If you feel the need to tell the world what color underpants you’re wearing today, use your personal profile to divulge that fascinating piece of information. It’s perfectly fine to inject some individual personality into your business page – a really good idea in fact, when done properly. Keep at the front of your mind who your customers are and what they want to hear.

Make sure you reply promptly (certainly within 24 hours) to comments and questions posted by other people too, again keeping it consistently professional.
One good planning tool to help you with all this is an editorial calendar. Plot out, say, six months of pro-active activity for your page in advance and work out when you want to post updates and what you want to say. Fill in the gaps with a mixture of business news, offers and launches, reactions to industry-related issues and personal insights that show the lovable human face behind your business.

Money, money, money

Finally, don’t forget that your Facebook business page is primarily there to earn you money. As discussed earlier, your content should be geared to turning your likers into paying customers through providing effective information and engaging with your audience. Work out what people want and give it to them. Often.
But don’t overlook other cash-earning avenues. Once your Facebook business page starts to become popular, you could offer sponsored blog spots or advertising. Adding a You Tube channel to your page could also earn you income from people who click through to view your videos. Finally, Facebook has made it really easy for businesses to sell their products via a business page by setting up an online store. You can post pictures, write descriptions and manage payments through Paypal. The newly added private messaging function for business pages can also help you stay in even closer touch with your customers.

Good luck!

This post came courtesy of Imogen Reed, a full-time professional writer and researcher for over five years.


As an internet marketer, you know that your job is much more than slapping some copy on a webpage, setting up a payment process and waiting for the cash to roll in. Perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of marketing is fine-tuning and tweaking pages to increase your conversion rates by just a few percentage points. Some marketers spend years making painstaking, incremental progress to learn exactly what a webpage needs to optimize sales. However, by following three simple rules you can drastically cut down this work and keep your copy fresh and competitive much longer. Why waste your valuable time when, with these easy guidelines, you can get your content right the day you publish it?

Keep it Professional

One of the foundations of all marketing techniques is that people respond to authority, whether it’s real or merely perceived. Most of the decision-making involved with determining authority, and thus trust, is made subconsciously. Extensive spelling and grammar mistakes are perhaps the most blatant example, but poor pacing and tone are also major pitfalls for many copywriters.

First, your content should not look like a GeoCities page from 1999 collided with an infomercial. Keep your copy crisp and free of excessive bolds, italics, colors and size changes. Average people are used to authoritative text being displayed in a minimalist manner. You don’t have to fall on the other end of the spectrum and present a thesis paper of a webpage, but keep the unorthodox formatting to a minimum.

The other key to sounding professional is to write knowledgeably while still being accessible. Keep insider lingo to a manageable level, but don’t be afraid to get into the technical details. Even if your product requires a more personal style of marketing, there’s a fine line between comfortable and rambling. Try to avoid using the first person unless you yourself are the creator of the product or feel that you have a personal testimony that is absolutely essential to making sales.

Don’t Be Too Pushy

If every other sentence in your copy says “Buy now,” “Try it out” or “Sign up now,” potential customers are going to take it as a sign of desperation. Good copy will have two major pitches, one at the beginning and a stronger one at the end. Everything in between is meant to convince the uncertain so that when your final argument kicks in, they’ll be agreeing with everything you say and ready for more.

Viewers know that you’re trying to sell them something, and they wouldn’t be reading if they weren’t interested, so don’t cheapen your copy with constant exhortations to commit before they’re ready. The best salesmen know that customers respond most enthusiastically to someone that they feel is genuinely interested in helping them. Don’t make your page about spending money, make it about bettering your customers’ lives.

Avoid Copy That Dates Easily

People want to buy two kinds of products: old classics and exciting new innovations. Unless you’re selling antiques, you want your product to look like its on the cutting edge and about to burst into the mainstream. For some marketers this is easier than for others. For example, an e-book detailing trade secrets will benefit from the fact that purchasing it before everyone else does will give the customer an advantage, but it will soon become outdated and the contents common knowledge. Most people understand that in the digital age, even products that are a year old can be far behind the times. That means depreciating revenue for you.

To keep your copy looking like it just hit the market yesterday, don’t include dates or other milestones unless you plan to update them regularly. If you sell an e-book or other service, reveal a revised version every year and advertise as such. This has the added benefit of bringing you repeat customers.

Writing is the most frustrating part of many marketers’ days, but it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on writing copy that is professional, fresh and organized you’ll find that your pitches are tighter and your conversion rates more efficient than ever. If you stop worrying about being a fraction of a percent off on your keyword density and instead try writing natural, powerful content, you may find that all of your worries have been over nothing after all.

Sam is a contributing writer for Quick Sprout and is also an avid internet marketing blogger. He has a background in conversion optimization as well as SEO and PPC.



For those who attended my Book Reading – Session on Tuesday, March 13th at the SXSW Interactive event, feel free to download my slides from the presentation:

SXSW Presentation 2012 – Content is Currency

thanks for attending! Please let me know if I can help in any way.

thanks – Jon


As any experienced search marketer can tell you, one of the most powerful search engine optimization strategies is to focus on building a destination that gets user generated traffic. The rationale here is simple: search is a classic example of a service with “long tail” dynamics — meaning that while there is a huge and growing volume of search queries, the majority of them only happen a few times. From this perspective, the optimal SEO strategy is not necessarily to create a destination that focuses heavily on just a few popular keywords, but rather create a site that can capture the virtually infinite number of queries in a given niche that only occur a few times.

Once you embark upon this line of thinking, it quickly becomes apparent that the best way to realize this goal is by creating a destination that generates user-generated content — meaning a place where others can create and submit their own content. This helps create the massive amount of content needed to pursue long-tail SEO strategies. And if you can get quality, original content from members — you may be on the way to building yourself an SEO gold mine. Wikipedia is the prime example of this strategy being pursued successfully.

So, the question: how best to build a destination that attracts quality content submissions from users that you can use to build your own SEO empire?

It Starts With Passion

What people really love to share, and thus what they will want to share and do a good job of sharing, is whatever they’re passionate about. “Without passion, social media is just noise,” says marketer Rick Stone. Accordingly, when building and running your social media destination designed to attract quality user-generated content, ask yourself: what passion are you tapping into? What type of users are you trying to attract, and what are they passionate about?

It Starts With YOUR Passion

To answer questions about what type of users you want to attract, it first helps to identify what you, the principal operator of the social media destination, are passionate about. Creating a “blank slate” web site that has the functionality to allow for user-generated content is not enough; rather, the site must be seeded — and moreover, it should be seeded with the kind of content you want members contributing. “If your site is chock full of the kind of high quality content you want your users producing, then your users will be more likely to contribute,” says Level Ten Design. To put it another way, if you authentically share your passion, you’ll be more inclined to attract others who want to share their passion. This simple concept can really serve as a powerful construct that helps you focus your efforts on a given niche.

Use Game Play to Reward Members and Retain Control

With any social media site that relies heavily on user-generated content, it’s likely that a tiny minority will do the vast majority of significant contributions. To maximize user engagement and get the most and best out of your contributing members, game play can serve as a powerful tool. Awarding members badges can help them feel appreciated, and can be used to build a sense of culture regarding what is appropriate behavior for your online community. As you are developing your social media destination, considering how you can use game play to get the most out of your contributing members can be quite valuable in your quest to get quality user-generated content from your members so that you build your empire in the search engines accordingly.

Wild Card: Monetization

If there is a one wild card to watch out for when pursuing quality social content, it is the challenge of monetization. Aggressive monetization can turn members off, and it is worth noting that the most successful example of SEO based on user-generated content — Wikipedia — is also a non-profit. Strategies centered around group buying, as well as those that provide contributing members with special discounts, may prove to be more successful. Ultimately, though, remember that the name of the game is passion — and so monetization can best be obtained when the goal of fostering passion is diligently pursued.

This Content is Currency blog contribution was provided by Simit Patel, who is the founder of InformedTrades, a user-generated site dedicated to helping members learn to trade the world’s financial markets. The site was seeded with a free forex course.


It’s no secret that the credit card industry is wildly profitable. Not only do the banks spend big bucks for flashy commercials, but they also dole out those dollars for online affiliates, too.

As a result, there are many “Goliath” companies marketing credit cards, such as Bankrate (NYSE: RATE) and Quinstreet (NASDAQ: QNST). These are companies worth hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. So how is it possible for a one-man financial blogger (such as myself) to compete with them head-to-head in the rankings?

The answer is content.

Take as an example. Bankrate owns a number of credit card websites but that one is their crown jewel. I’m not sure how many of their employees work on it exclusively, but according to Google Finance, Bankrate has 378 employees. So I think it’s safe to assume that at least several dozen of them are dedicated to that site. Whatever the number may be, one thing is for sure – there is a lot of money and manpower behind it. But head on over there and take a look at the content… does it impress you or not?

It’s true that their blog and editorial department has some great talent working for them. In fact, I think they do a knockout job with some of their investigative pieces. But what do they do a crappy job with? Their credit card information…

Example: Cash Back Credit Cards

If you take a look at’s page for this category (, what do you see? A bunch of generic bullets for what they consider to be the best credit cards with cash rewards. It’s not that the information is “bad” or “wrong” but rather that it’s the same darn bullets you will see on a thousand other credit card websites.

Content Is Currency and what they’re using is worth about $0.01!

Now as a contrast, compare to my site, The top cashback credit cards list basically consists of the same rankings. For the best offers, both of us list the Chase Freedom, American Express Blue Cash, Discover More, etc. at or near the top. But as you see, the major difference is content quality. While the other guy just uses generic bullets for the cards, I review them in much more detail (and obviously that is content which is unique). Not only do I talk about the basic info like cash back and annual fees, but I go above and beyond, diving into some of the nitty-gritty benefits.

What Does This Accomplish?

Even though my resources are just an itty-bitty fraction of what has, I can still rank alongside them for a number of different terms. If you search for “best cash back credit cards” you will probably find CreditCardForum’s list (mentioned above) flirting with theirs. Obviously the rankings change all the time – but at least as I write this – my site sat directly below the aforementioned competitor.

Let me be clear that this strategy is not a secret. In fact, any personal finance blogger worth his or her salt is doing the exact same thing as me. What we (bloggers) are doing is just taking advantage of the inefficiencies created by the big corporate monstrosities… that’s how David can beat Goliath.

Find out how your content can work harder for you and order Content is Currency today.

This Content is Currency blog post was written by Mike Dolen, who launched CreditCardForum nearly four years ago. He reviews the best credit cards he can find to help consumers make a wise choice.


Alongside Facebook, Twitter is one of the largest, most impactful of the social networking sites…as we all know, these communities are quickly changing the way we communicate and connect. Whether you are a private user or a business service, Twitter has become an essential platform for speaking your mind and making yourself heard. But finding people to follow you is not always an easy task. Luckily, there are a few ways in which you can make sure that your tweets reach a bigger audience. You need to keep your tweets:

• Relevant and informative (particularly for businesses)
• Current and in touch with world events
• Witty and engaging

Random Twitter updates that don’t provide any value can be frustrating to read. I don’t really care if MissTeen64 is eating sushi. Businesses that tell me they are having a great Monday will not grab my attention or my money. Try to keep your tweets informative and relevant. If your branch is having a sale, tweet about it. Tell the people what you need them to hear. This positive advertising and useful information will spread, and lead to new followers and turnover. If you use Twitter to voice your opinion or express yourself, then do so. The vehicle is there for you to take a stand, crack a joke, or spread information. If you want more visitors, try taking that approach.

Twitter gives businesses and individuals alike the chance to engage with a huge global audience in real time. In order to keep up and grow your following, tweet about things that are affecting you and your community now. If you continue tweeting about your family holiday in 1986, you simply won’t be exciting enough to attract more followers. Talking about the passing of Steve Jobs, or South Africa denying the Dalai Lama a visa will get you noticed.

Finally, even though Twitter is essential a tool for spreading news, information and opinions, there is no reason why your tweets need to be drab and formulaic. A witty outlook is sure to get you noticed. Make use of your limited characters in a clever, value added way if you want more followers. A bit of humor or insight really goes a long way too!

This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is currently learning about Business Credit Cards and credit card articles.


With the introduction of Google+ as a social networking tool, it was only natural that people would want to also use it as a marketing tool. After all, other social sites such as Facebook and Twitter have developed into powerful traffic building tools. Why shouldn’t Google+?

One thing to keep in mind when trying to build traffic with Google+ is that it’s not the same as any other network. It’s often compared to Facebook, but there are some key differences between the two. Some of the biggest points that set Google+ apart from Facebook are:

* Google+ has tighter privacy, thanks to its Circles feature.
* Google+ content can be found in search results.
* Unlike Facebook, Google+ has ties into other Google services, making it more far-reaching.
* Google+ is still much smaller than Facebook.

So, with this in mind, how can bloggers and webmasters bring traffic to their website?

One of the simplest and most effective ways is to start a business page and form a large network. This can be accomplished in much the same way that you would on Facebook, by encouraging visitors to your site to add you on Google+. By having a large following on Google+, you’ll show up on plenty of user’s Streams when they log on, giving you free advertising and a chance to bring in repeat traffic.

Since Google+ features Circles, not everything you share is going to reach the same audience. Posting a message on Facebook will automatically put it on the News Feed for everyone who is a fan of your business page or is friends with your personal page. On Google+, this can still be possible, but you can also lump people into different Circles.

This opens up the potential for more targeted marketing efforts. Suppose you run multiple blogs, one that gives advice to parents on how to save money and one that follows sports. With the Circles feature, you can make posts targeting only the Google+ users who would find your posts relevant, so that sports fans don’t get parenting tips and parents don’t get sports news. With the highly targeted marketing that Google+ allows, you can get a higher rate of return on your marketing efforts.

SEO is another major benefit of Google+, and might turn out to be the biggest of the benefits Google+ provides. Anyone who has Circled you in Google+ can see your content in their search results. This means that by posting content to your Google+ page that incorporates words people will search for, more people will see your content and will be likely to visit your site. This is a great way to increase traffic because it targets people who have you Circled, and you no longer are competing with thousands of other sites for placement.

One final, smaller method that is still effective for driving traffic is the +1 button. The +1 button is similar to Facebook’s Like button in the sense that it’s integrated into a number of aspects of Google, not just Google+. By incorporating the +1 button into your websites, you’ll gain higher visibility for users and see increases in traffic.

The thing to keep in mind is that Google+ is still in its relative infancy. These are all great tips for driving traffic, but the best advice for using Google+ to drive traffic to your site is to get signed up and start playing around. The networking site’s place on the web is still yet to be determined, and by signing up now you can get a head start on the competition.

This post was written for Content is Currency by Sean Gray. Sean blogs on an array of topics. If you’d like to learn more about him you can visit a company that will purchase your used automobile.


Humanize your Social Media Profiles

Observations from a customers perspective

Talk about word of mouth! I am a customer telling hundreds of my friends about your business. My facebook friends for example trust my recommendations. I share and promote your posts, sales, contests, and products. If you have a company blog, facebook page, or various other social media accounts but are experiencing no customer “action” don’t give up thinking it’s a waste of time. It’s not the medium that is the problem, it’s how you are using it. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind, my pet peeves as a customer or potential one as to why I don’t engage with your companies social media sites.

Social Media is not all about you.

I mean it is, but it’s nothing like television or radio advertising. It’s a TWO way street.

We are on these sites because we enjoy the art of socializing. Some of us respond more than others, but we are still watching and listening to what you post. Some users enjoy an opportunity to give their opinion on various topics. Others find pleasure in following interesting stories and responding to them. Many are on the look out for coupons, promos and incentives. If all you do is talk about your self, (and we all know someone like this in real life) if you never engage with me in some way, you will lose my interest and eventually I will drop you. Even a simple “like” to a response can go a long way and will keep us coming back for more. Keep in mind the social media marketing 80% – 20% Rule: Make 80% of the content you post interesting to your industry and 20% specifically about your company and/or product.

Social Media is about giving, taking and sharing.

There is an emotional element that comes with social media. We know the difference between generic and authentic posts. Who is the person behind your facebook page? There is a title for that person, it’s called “admin.” You see our profile picture and name. Why can’t we see who your social media content provider is? Are they male or female? I also click on your photos btw. If you have one or two photos up, I question your motives. I’m looking for pictures that express the human side of your business, not just pictures of your products. How about posting a picture of your web developer typing ferociously and photoshopping the computer “smoking”. I’m going to laugh out loud and share it with my online community!

Quality over Quantity

Instead of gathering us up like a heard of sheep, interact with us. If you are only focused on popularity, like getting 1000’s of fans, we see right through that. Make a human connection with us and we are more likely to come back for more. Think about the successful Dominoes Pizza Advertising Campaign. They admitted to their customers publicly in their ads that they made mistakes, and are listening to what their customers want. Dominoes even added an online “human tracker” element to their business. From dough to delivery, they show that humans are behind this company.

Don’t Trick Us

If you hire ghost admins or virtual assistants to represent your company, give them permission to come to life a little. Let them express their personality while staying professional. We don’t need to know how many times they were married, but a little personal knowledge about them is huge! I recently heard a contestant on Jeopardy talk about getting “the call” from the game show telling him that he made it as a contestant. He immediately called his sister to share the good news, and guess what? She just happened to walk into the “cash cab” at that exact moment! You see what I just did? I promoted a business, (Jeopardy ) by talking about one of their contestants. A short paragraph about your social media admin from time to time will help to humanize your business. Don’t underestimate us potential customers, we know the difference between generic connections and the real thing.

Just because we spend a hunk of time online does not mean we can’t tell real from fake. We grew up with late night infomercials. We sent in our allowance along with the coupon on the back of our comic books for those mythical sea monkeys. We learned at a young age about being scammed through advertising. We are sophisticated, we ask questions, we do our home work and we listen to our intuition. If you want your business to stand out through online marketing, treat us with respect and don’t forget to pay us a compliment and show some gratitude for subscribing and “liking” you online. Check out Firefox on facebook for ideas. Their tag line is “The browser with soul!” They host “Fantastic Fan of the Week” contests. Each week they post a “fans” picture, name and where they are from as their profile picture on facebook. Do you think the “fan of the week” shares this with everyone they know? You bet they do!

This Content is Currency blog post contribution was by Tanya Veilleux. She was awarded the 2011 Community Spirit Award by the city of Ann Arbor, Community Television Network. She is a freelance small business consultant currently working with Direct Incorporation, a company that assists with the core needs of a start-up business. Check out their site at: