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Come Original: Why Stock Content Is Useless On Your Website

Original content can be a tough concept to sell to non-marketers and people who are unfamiliar with the subtleties, value, and execution of a strong digital presence.

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There can be such an incredible hyper-focus on SEO and conversion rates that the real purpose of your corporate website can get lost. Even though market data backs up the value of original content, just having a place to publish blog posts isn’t going to cut it. The real value of creating original content goes well beyond increasing organic rankings, although it helps with that, too.

Focus on Who

When creating original content for your company, it’s really about your audience. Typically, before you even connect with someone they’ve already done some research online to compare you (and your website) with your competitors. Your website is often the first impression that you make. Are you saying the same thing as your competitors? If so, what sets you apart? What is the added value you offer over your competition? And how do you communicate that through your website (if you do at all)?

Original content establishes a certain caliber, which is where you want to be to stand out. Stock images and videos, and poorly written, flat copy, are obvious and you could lose credibility due to poor presentation without even being aware of it.

Come Original

To create original content on a website you may work with a team consisting of digital marketers, designers, writers, and other creatives like photographers and video producers who get to know your business, understand your brand identity, and help you express it clearly. Together you create original images, videos, and copy (written content) that are unique to you and your brand.

Original content allows you to make deeper and more meaningful connections with your audience by being authentic and showcasing what makes you stand out from the competition. What many people forget is that digital content is similar to talking to someone and describing who you are and what you do. Look at the images and words on your site now. Does the overall layout and design convey your brand? Does your site present your company and brand to your audience the same way you would in person?

Original Content: A Case Study

Solid Digital worked with the eminent corporate board advisory firm JamesDruryPartners in Chicago to redesign their website in order to better showcase the firm and attract high-end clientele. For this project, custom photography and video were integral in expressing this prestigious brand.

“As a provider of a high-end service, we felt that only custom photography and video could accurately represent the essence of our firm. When visiting our website, we want a potential client to feel as if they have stepped into our office, and to be able to visualize what it would be like to work with us. Custom photography and video makes that possible.”

— Jim Drury IV

It is challenging to represent a unique brand identity with images that hundreds of others are using. Likewise, it’s difficult to communicate a cohesive brand identity with stock content varying so widely.

Out With the Old

JamesDruryPartners previous website had generic graphics, images, and copy that did not represent who they are as a company. We aimed to showcase their personality and professionalism on the new site. I recall walking into their office for the first time to direct the photoshoot, meeting with their team and really getting an excellent feeling of trust. We wanted to demonstrate that as much as possible on the site. When you visit their site now, you are immediately greeted with the same feeling I received when I first visited – through imagery, video, and copy.

Back to the Drawing Board

The best feature of a website redesign is the opportunity to start from scratch. Instead of making little tweaks and trying to piece together a Frankenstein website, a website redesign allows you to go back to the drawing board and ask the fundamental questions that form brand identity. Who are we as a company? What are our values? How do we best communicate that? Who is the audience we are communicating to?

The target audience is important to keep in mind. We tend to get hung up on website data – how many people came to my site? How many clicks? Although analytics are a key component in creating and maintaining a digital marketing plan, don’t overlook quality over quantity. Yes, we want more people to visit your site and click the links, but what is ultimately important is that you’re attracting the right clientele. This goes back to achieving a higher caliber in order to attract similar clients.

SEO Power

Since digital marketing sometimes comes down to website rankings, let’s talk about the SEO power behind original content. In addition to a website redesign, or perhaps a part of it, your digital marketing strategy should include frequent website updates, like blogs, with original content, as well. Developing your own original content for keeping the site updated is now easier than ever. Smartphones have removed the barrier to entry so that now you can create images and videos in-house, or work with a social media specialist to really give your original content some power.

Google loves activity and frequent updates show you’re providing value, which can help increase your website’s organic rankings. This doesn’t mean several times a day – the right amount for you depends on your business and industry and a content strategist can help you determine that. New posts also allow you to use different keywords to attract more visitors from search engines.

Again, it’s not just about putting anything up and expecting your website to improve in rankings. Google and other search engines evaluate websites for high quality content. One of the tenets of high quality content is that it’s truly unique, original, and valuable to your users.

The Bottom Line: Authenticity

Being genuine is your best tool for landing new clients, and original, high quality content is the best way to achieve that. It is important to convey expertise and authority, but also in your unique voice, be it in writing, with images, or with video.

The goal is to make an authentic connection to establish the groundwork for a long-term, fruitful relationship. Marketing your company online is similar to having a client come to your office for a meeting. The office decor and what you wear will be the first things that they notice and assess, and then they listen to determine if you’re genuine.

Sometimes a first impression is all you get and often that’s with your website so make it count with original content.

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