What Is “Content?” - Two Different Online Business Models.
Generally, anyone who has a venture that is “doing business” online will operate in a manner that will fall into one of two categories
First option is that they will be involved in some kind of “virtual” business, in which all (or almost all) transactions, advertising and so on will take place online. As is often advertised as an asset of such a business, there will be no physical office or shop premises, no inventory to store or deliver and so on.
Indeed, and probably most confusingly, there sometimes appears to be a lack of “product” at all!
This is quite common where, for example, the “product” is some kind of online marketing system, which is marketed and sold online using, well, itself!
In other words, you are sold a marketing system by a marketing system (thus proving that it works!) and then you sell the very same system to someone else, and so on.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but nevertheless true, that things change online very quickly. If you or I have an idea, we can have it out there in the online marketplace tomorrow, if we choose to do so.
Thus, although it can seem odd to buy something as intangible as a marketing system, it can still be of great value, as it has the potential to bring the latest and newest ideas to your PC in an instant.
Informational products represent another example of almost totally intangible products that nevertheless sell well on the internet. Examples might be a “how to” website on, let’s say, crochet or whitewater rafting or website design or the best way of making a chocolate cake. All are totally intangible, but still in huge demand, which means that they are very profitable as well!
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Still with it? Good!
Now, the other type of business will be a “real world” business that probably sells a real tangible product, something that you can touch, smell, see. It could be widgets, Jumbo jets, hairnets, submarines, whatever and the business in question has probably used the power of the net to expand the original localized marketing efforts to go world wide.
They still market “offline” locally and their online efforts are an adjunct to these efforts, not a replacement.
This very broad sweep would probably cover 95% of business that takes place on or through the internet every day.
Yet, even coming from two such widely separated poles, both models of business rely on content to be, or not to be, successful.
So, what exactly is content?
Content – A Definition (or two!)
As suggested by this title, there’s effectively two different ways that you could define “content”.
One way would be to try to establish exactly what it is, so let’s try that first.
Content is “stuff”! It’s the “stuff” that you see every day on the internet…
Now, clearly that’s not really a great deal of help.
It’s an indication rather than a definition.
Trouble is that, in these terms, it’s not at all easy to establish anything that is anywhere concise enough to be a definition, so let’s move on to definition method two, which is in fact a good deal more helpful.
This is, what does “content” do, and, as we shall see, the answer to this goes a long way to clearing up the ambiguity created by our “stuff” definition.
Content is whatever you have on your website that gives your visitor or customer the information that they are looking or when they come to our site.
So, it can be factual information, like a product description, a catalogue or pricing information for the Jumbo jet that you are selling.
It can be less factual and more of an opinion, such as a learned discourse of where mankind is going over the next 500 years.
It can be an article such as this one, part factual and part opinion.
Nor is “content” only written, and increasingly, online audio and video are becoming ever more prominent on the net.
To summarize, content is whatever information you have on your website about your business and products, in whatever form this information takes.
Content is what makes visitors come to your site, it is what drives “traffic” to your homepage. In turn, content and the driven traffic it creates is what makes your business money, it is the engine behind every single cent of profit that you earn online.
Which makes content kind of important, I am sure you will agree…..
Coming in part 2, where to find and how to create great content.