Marcus Sheridan: Unleashing the Power of Content in Your Community

By Angelika Lipkin posted Dec 11, 2013 07:08 AM


Content is king – now more than ever. In his high-energy keynote presentation at this year’s HUG Super Forum, Marcus Sheridan discussed the importance of delivering clear, concise content in communities to gain the trust of potential clients.

Here are three key ideas that Sheridan, an expert in inbound and content marketing, discussed with attendees aiming to strengthen their communities and memberships.

1. They Ask, You Answer

When it’s time for a potential member to make any purchasing decision, they take to Google to do their research. If a website isn’t forthcoming with basic information (such as pricing and educational content), that member will go elsewhere – and the company with the lacking website will lose their business. It’s a simple concept, but many organizations are hesitant to directly acknowledge things like competitors and cost – things that any smart member will read up on anyway. Organizations that are transparent, honest and upfront gain the most trust – and are the most successful.

2. Share the Ingredients of Your “Secret Sauce”

Every organization has its own “secret sauce”: the differentiators and key attributes that make it special. But just stating that an organization is better than the competition won’t encourage members to join and engage with you. Business leaders must substantiate their claims of greatness.

Ask yourself this: “How does my organization do what it does, and why?” Addressing these questions transparently builds trust with potential members, and makes them more likely to choose your organization.

3. Make Your Information Easily Accessible

The average member will only spend about five minutes reading a website. In all likelihood, they’ll scan over two to three pages relating to the information they care most about, then decide whether to make contact or move on.

When information is hidden – whether it’s through an unclear message or buried beneath 30-odd web pages – the member will almost always move on.

Organizations should use their websites as a tool to teach potential members about services – and that means making content easily accessible. Done well, a website communicates the valuable content that visitors are looking for in a straightforward, intuitive design. This, in turn, increases the chances that a visitor will take the next step of making contact.