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How to Find Great Content for Your Business Website

So what’s the secret to blogging success?

Yesterday Muhammad at Pronet Advertising wrote the 4 steps to success. His 4 steps are clear, good advice and probably similar to what you’ve seen before:

  • Step 1: Good Content
  • Step 2: Unique, Hosted Domain
  • Step 3: Be Social
  • Step 4: Invest Time, Be Patient

The interesting thing that was said, however, came in the comment box when someone asked Muhammad, “I know that good content is the key but where I find GOOD content? Is there anything that you can recommend?”

Ralph had a good answer that, “Good content is not for sale…. supplementary content is for sale….”

This got me thinking. So, of course, I joined the conversation with:

“Good content – especially compelling, interesting content – comes from inside you. Find what you love, what you’re passionate about, and write on that topic – even if it’s different than what you’re focused on now.”

What do you think? Can we buy good content? Or is it something that’s created by each blogger themselves?

Let’s talk about it in the comment box.

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Comments

  1. Hi Dawud-

    This is a great point- good content, where? For me, I’m constantly finding content from one of two sources:

    - clients’ questions and interactions.
    - my tendency to learn voraciously.

    I’ve needed both. And yes, the passion and love keeps me engaged with both, but I guess I see a crucial distinction between:

    - finding great ideas/content outside myself
    - then, synthesizing it within myself so that it’s coming from me, in my voice.

    The most interesting content seems to come when ideas/experiences from two or more different sources mix in my heart, and come out with some unique perspective. Like, for instance, marketing advice from Sean D’Souza or Robert Middleton, and spiritual teachings from my lineage.

    Or reading something about, say, adoption, or systemic constellation work, or what have you, and seeing dynamics from those places happening similarly in business.

    I think when people try to find content solely within themselves, is when the well dries up pretty quickly. But, when you look solely outside yourself for content, you get lost in the mix- why just repeat what someone else is saying?

    What do you think?

  2. Hi Dawud

    Funny, my reader showed this one first and then your (IMHO) answer – the post before this one: “It’s not about you” ;-)

    If you can focus on that, telling – from the heart, with sincerity – what your reader is going to get, an experience, something he/she can relate to, then the content should be good automagically ;-)

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  3. Karin,

    Automagically…I love that.

    It’s all about sharing, if you ask me. That’s what makes Darren Rowse the Problogger – his open sharing. And Liz the same. Giving and sharing are two qualities I’ve found in most good bloggers. What about you?

  4. Hi Dawud

    That’s what I’m trying to do too – blogging, newslettering, talking to clients in my showroom ;-)

    Givers Gain – best principle still.

    Karin H.

  5. Karin,

    Givers Gain…absolutely best principle. I’ve actually not heard that expression before. Origin?

    How is your content helping get clients into the showroom?

  6. For me the origin comes from BNI, see my post on: Doing it by givers gain way back in Jan 07 ;-)

    Content on static websites and FAQ blog is very informative (and constantly updated with relevan tinfo). The FAQ blog is also interactive for clients – prospects to ask questions about flooring or for advice when they have problems with flooring or products.
    (Just had an email in from a prospect – 70 miles from where our showroom is – for more advice on maintenance products. Result is an online order for maintenance products ;-))

    Karin H.

  7. You are absolutely right…. if you go looking for “good content” like at a free article website then all you have is “duplicate content”. a Blogger will never rank well this way. Posts must be original… coming from the heart. Not only will viewers know the difference, but Google will too.

    There are some days that I write a paragraph and link to another post or article, but this is once maybe twice a week.

    Another great post, Dawud. Thank you.

    TheNanny612
    http://www.abchomepreschool.com/
    http://www.abchomepreschool.com/PreschoolEducationBlog/

  8. I like what you said at the end there, Mark. We have to look both outside and inside ourselves for good content. Then we can mix it all up and add our point of view, too. Funny how doing/reading/learning something (seemingly) unrelated gives us insight and understanding into our business!

  9. Karin,

    What a great use of the web/blogging for your customers. I love hear you talk about how you use your blog.

    TheNanny612

    I think it’s important to remember that good content is in the eye of your readers. Sometimes giving them a little tip and a link can add great value to their lives. And when your readers trust you, they’ll click through and read the post you linked too. I’m guessing you’ve had that experience?

    Mark,

    Everything we learn or take in gets filtered through our selves, right? So, for me, at least, it goes without saying that we learn, integrate what we learn and then share it. Yet, the sharing it part comes from within us. Think about it…there’s little concrete in our internal world that isn’t an expression of what we’ve learned from outside us.

    LaurenMarie,

    I know what you mean. It’s odd looking at where I’ve learned what I know.

  10. Like Karin says, telling it from the heart is the key for me.

    You know, Dawud, if I wasn’t writing about something I’m passionate about, I would’ve given up a long time ago (I say a long time, but I mean less than a year ago when I started).

    Mark makes a good point though. The well can dry quickly if you don’t also absorb yourself in outside influences. It’s why I spend some time almost every day catching up on my feed reader and visiting design-related websites. Of course clients can provide a lot of food for thought, and even your children (thinking back to one of your recent articles).

  11. I’m absolutely agreeing with both Marc and LaurenMarie. It’s almost impossible to write effectively without looking outside of ourselves. And, at the same time, neither can we be effective until we draw from inside.

    When we stick exclusively to our thoughts and experiences, we get repetitive and stale; maybe the well doesn’t exactly dry up, but it’s obvious that it’s not being fed.

    As for buying good content: say what?!?

  12. David,

    Without a doubt. As I said in my response to Mark, I take learning and integration as a given. And I know that what I learn outside myself is then expressed from within myself. So, I guess it’s just a matter of perspective.

    What inspires you? …keeps your juices flowing when you write?

    Carloyn,

    Hey sweetie. I can’t imagine buying content. What’s the point of blogging if you’re not sharing who you are and what you know?

    So tell me…who are you and what do you know?

  13. I, too, agree with Mark. I guess I would say keep looking inside yourself, so you’re not just rewriting/linking to what has already been said. And keep replenishing your well with reading and thinking and new experiences.

    I’m really looking forward to Dawud reading Tim Ferriss’ book and telling us how he has integrated some of the content into his own life.

  14. Dawud,
    Did you read today’s post on Copyblogger? He’s talking about courageous blogging and says:

    “Tim Ferris, best-selling author of The Four-Hour Work Week and newest darling of the blogosphere did an interview with Darren Rowse today. Here’s what Tim had to say:

    ‘Do not try to appeal to everyone. Instead, take a strong stance and polarize people: make some love you and some hate you. Hate is an extreme, but here’s the gist: what you write, in order to create the highest pass-along value, needs to be “remarkable”. Is it something that is worth remarking upon?

    Polarize your audience, elicit some attacks — which create disagreement and rebukes and debate — and be anal about the numbers. Track what works and what doesn’t. Fine tune what works and test it again. Rinse and repeat.’

    Leadership is not about genius. It’s about courage.”

    That doesn’t sound like your approach. Sounds like a good blog topic to me. I’d love to hear your opinion.

  15. Another vote for hearing what Dawud has to say on the subject! There was a great discussion in the comments of that post at Copyblogger.

    I think it kind of is your approach, Dawud, (minus the making people hate you) because you go against the grain that says business is all about the company (at least that’s the attitude of many companies even if they say it’s about the customer). You make it just as much about the relationship as the business, which many would disagree with. They just haven’t found this blog yet apparently. I know you would defend your views if someone questioned them and all of the posts I’ve read so far are very “remarkable.”

  16. Jean,

    I’m so glad you stuck with Ferriss (and me). Let me know what you think of the book.

    And I did see both Brian and Darren’s posts today.

    I agree with Tim for the most part. I just have a different way to express what he saying. I don’t mind debate and even conflict, but I won’t argue or allow things to degrade. Nor to I tend that way. But I do want to talk about topics that do insight emotion and have many different facets. That’s what’s alive for me.

    And I agree with him on being remarkable and courageous. To be successful in business, you have to stand out from those around you. But not to everyone. Just to your focused market.

    And leadership is definitely more about courage than genius. A leader stands out front, often by themselves, and carves the path for those who follow – often through difficulty and into the unknown. That takes courage.

    Perhaps I’ll write a post soon on courage. Sounds fun. I’d love to hear your responses, Jean.

    LaurenMarie,

    You got it. I do go against the grain in that I don’t just look at the bottom line. When I look at businesses, I see people with conversation and relationships waiting to happen. So I focus on nurturing that while watching the bottom line.

    Ferriss, I feel, is right on measuring. Certainly we should trust our hearts – and even our souls. Yet, we have a mind also that needs to be used to evaluate how our business is doing. That means measuring, testing, tracking – looking at the numbers.

    I don’t see our internal guidance and external statistics as being at odds like many might. Rather, I see them as having more of the picture of how your business is progressing.

  17. Good content is not for sale unless you want to sell your soul.

    Many bloggers (me included) seem to hover over the skin of good content and hesitate to take that next step that can lead to healthy debate. Figuratively speaking the adage “put your money where your mouth is” can be a splash of cold water in the face.

    Polarizing people takes courage and faith in yourself.

  18. Great discussion.

    Several people have said something along the lines of “It goes without saying that you get ideas from outside you.”

    Here’s the thing: I don’t think it does go without saying. At this point I’ve worked with thousands of small business owners over the last 9 years, and this ownership issue is a big one.

    And one of the biggest misunderstandings I run into is the concept of ‘original content.’ Business owners of all sorts read stuff they really like and admire and learn from, but then they think they can’t touch it- that they’ve got to somehow come up with their own ideas.

    Or, if they do use someone else’s content, that they have to forever be a ‘wannabe.’

    I wrote an article (sorry, I was an article writer long before blogging came around):
    Cookie Grandma’s Secrets to a Unique and Powerful Business.

    That’s why I like to emphasize this point of both the inner and the outer aspects of having a unique voice- so folks don’t end up either sounding like a parrot, or a navel-gazer.

  19. Hi Dawud and all,

    ‘PLR’ (Public Label Rights) is part of the rites of passage for an Internet Marketer, and I believe it can be helpful for those who are already in a niche market or perhaps need help fleshing out an existing site, but after shelling out lots of dough, it turns out I like writing, and I like the things I have to say, especially since they are usually inspired by real life events, or something I have learned from someone else’s life. Cant go wrong there! I used to take some article I would purchase, and butcher it up to pieces and end up with maybe one line of the original + took twice as long to edit than had I written it myself!

    I may have defeated the original purpose of my blog, but I am having a lot more fun and making more friends in the process… and then.. somehow, this real content from the heart, is taking me and my blog places I would not have expected!

    Btw, if you are ever concerned about the time it takes to write content – I wrote a post that offers quick advice that really helped me.. http://getstartedtodayonline.com/the-best-copy-tip-ever/

    Be well!

    Andrea

  20. Carma,

    I agree. There’s nothing wrong with debate. It’s healthy. And if the people debating are ‘mature’ (sorry, bad word) enough, then they have the chance to learn from each other. If not, there’s little point.

    Standing in what you know – even if it changes later – take great courage, faith and trust in yourself, your message, and your business.

    Thanks for these great points. Now, let’s go over to your blog and start a debate…

    Andrea,

    I know what you mean. I enjoy writing more and more the longer I blog.

    There’s a number of reasons I feel writing your own content is so important. The biggest one, though, is most small business owners struggle in being an owner. So when they’re forced to write their own content, it brings them into direct ownership of their business. It’s one of the great helpers for people ‘showing up.’

    I’m heading over to your post now. Everyone, come with me…

  21. Mark,

    Ownership is a big issue for many small businesses. That’s why it’s important for people to recognize that what they’ve learned has been digested, at least to some degree, and then regurgitate (sorry) out through their perspective.

    Though I’m not fond of absolutes, there’s really no other way. Everything we experience is subjective so it has to be filtered through us.

    Original content does get in the way. And so do all the issues people seem to have with writing in general.

    That’s why I’m such a fan of conversation. People have much less fear around sitting in a coffee shop talking to someone about their business than they do creating a marketing message that will go out to the masses.

    Yet, their marketing message – regardless of how big – is not for the masses. Ultimately it’s not even for their target audience. Rather, it’s for the individual they can help – one-by-one. That’s where the conversation happens.

  22. Interesting conversation.

    As an editor and sometime ghostwriter, I’d say you you can’t buy good content. You can hire someone to finesse the content. You can hire someone to help pull the good content out of you through interviews and other processes. You can even hire a research editor to gather related pieces of content, but someone has to assemble those pieces into something new.

    But if you want that content to present your perspective, if you want that content to be your content somehow, then you have to add your two cents. Or two dollars. Or two hundred dollars.

    You’ve got to add your voice to the conversation in a way that does more than just summarize what’s been said.

  23. Andrea, “this real content from the heart, is taking me and my blog places I would not have expected!” — That is SO awesome! I read the post you shared with us and commented over on your blog :)

    Mark, that was an awesome article. I liked everything you said. “What they did do was combine platforms, and express them in a unique way. And impacted millions of people.” What an inspiring line! I’m going to go define my platforms. Thanks!!

  24. Mark,
    I read your article, too. It was great.

    Dawud,
    Your blogs are definitely remarkable, judging by all the comments you receive. But I don’t think you’re polarizing or are eliciting rebukes and attacks. That was the part of Ferriss that bothered me. I think you’re encouraging people to think more deeply about some issues and share their thoughts and experiences with others. You’re promoting conversation rather than debate. That’s why I keep coming back.

    So far I’m not inclined to buy Ferriss’ book, mainly because it doesn’t seem to apply to me. It seems to me he’s telling people how they can create a life they love. I’ve already done that. So instead I’m rereading Edward de Bono’s I Am Right and You Are Wrong. One of the points he makes is “We need to shift from argument to genuine exploration of a subject.” I keep visiting this site because that seems to be what you’re doing, too.

  25. Mark,

    Exactly. Your readers want to know you. And how can they get to know you if you’re not the one writing the content? Well said.

    LaurenMarie & Jean,

    Mark’s a pretty good writer himself. Both Marks actually (Mark Silver and Mark Goodyear). Mark Silver’s article is a nice example. I’m glad you both read it.

    Jean,

    True. I am asking you – everyone – to think a bit more about what motivates them to action. It’s an important thing to do in all parts of life – personal as well as business.

    I think I understand what you mean with Ferriss. Yet remember, he’s trying to create buzz around a book that’s now #1 on NY Best Sellers List. So he’s purposefully being sensational. I don’t want to be sensational, but I do want to be remarkable; I want to be remarked about, on and with. Conversation, sharing ideas, that’s what leads to knowledge – and relationships.

    It’s lovely that you’ve created the life you love. I certainly agree that his book isn’t for everyone. But it is for a huge number of people who struggle with their workflow or the pull of the office. What I ultimately see Ferriss’ book as isn’t about time as much as about control – who’s controlling you in your work and how to get out of that dynamic. Is it your boss, technology, the inbox or just information as a whole. That’s what I see Tim Ferriss addressing. And it’s and important thing for most business people.

    And…thank you for always joining the conversation here.

  26. I admit it – I first posted my answer to the topic without reading the previous posts.. Now I did!

    Great stuff here, and of course another great lesson to learn from Dawud:

    We are not just responding to a question, we are conversing… like at a coffee shop ;).

    I heard from a friend recently:

    Business is about building Relationships.

    Relationships are about being in service to others.

    Therefore Business is about being in service to others.

    People often forget, or dont know this..

    Dawud and LaurenMarie,

    Thanks for commenting at my blog :)

  27. Adrea,

    True – on all accounts.

    Business is definitely about relationships. I say again and again that people do business with people not with businesses. So it’s the relationship that makes all the difference.

    And I think of relationships as what connects people and how, through that connection, they behave toward each other. The best of relationships are mutually beneficial.

  28. Aubrey Clark says:

    I have a question, my blog is well built, rather boring, it’s about credit repair, how exciting can credit repair be? However I have a well-built tutorial that really helps those who are interested in repairing their credit. The problem is my bounce rate is through the roof, people just aren’t sticking.

    I do pretty well on adsense from the bounce but I need people to actually stay for my other monetized ads to work.. I can shorten up my tutorial and make it an easier read but the subject demands an in-depth explanation … any suggestions?

  29. The thing I’ve found from speaking to clients is that generally the sort of articles they could write which would be interesting to other people in their trade tends to reveal trade secrets that they’d rather keep to themselves.

    Which creates rather a catch-22 – a boring blog no one reads, or an interesting blog which could lose them their edge over their competition.

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