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Selecting a Web Content Provider



Introduction to Web Content Providers

Related pages:
How to Build Site Traffic with Compelling Content
Selecting a Web Content Provider

Content Providers, Current Awareness Solutions & Content Syndicators

Virtually every commercial Web site includes certain basic pages: About Us,
Products and (or) Services, Contact Us, Office Locations, etc. While these pages are vital, they rarely (if ever) constitute "compelling content" that will attract traffic to your site. To draw traffic, you need content that is unique and valued by your target audience.

How do you get such content? Short of having a gargantuan budget to hire your own team of industry expert content writers (and impractical even then), the best way is to "hire" all of the best journalists in your industry to write for your site by contracting with a Web content provider, such as a content syndicator or current awareness provider. These vendors provide content such as news feeds, financial/stock information, specialized reports and research products. Depending on the particular vendor, you can in turn provide specialized news and research to your clients, prospects and/or employees via your Web site, intranet or extranet, email or RSS feeds. This information can be used to keep your employees informed about your industry and competitors, attract new traffic to your site, attract repeat site traffic, and communicate valued information to your clients and prospects.

The Process

Generally, the process of selecting a content provider will follow these steps:

1. Define your requirements, in terms of who you want to share information with and what type of information you want to share. Is it competitive and/or industry information for your staff delivered via your intranet? Industry news for prospects and clients delivered over the Web, extranet, email and/or RSS feed? Research reports for internal or external consumption? Financial information? Do you want to display a listing of company stocks or enable your users (internal or external) to set up their own lists?

2. Closely related to Step #1, define your budget. The entry point for news feed services is generally around $10,000 per year (although for a very specific, limited need you may be able to get by for slightly less), and to purchase a few feeds of even modest complexity you can easily spend $40,000-$60,000. Large companies with diverse needs sometimes spend $2 million to $3 million on these types of services, though most firms won't need to invest nearly that much. It's critical at this stage to quantify not just the cost, but also the value of the information you'll be receiving. Will it help you close more business? Increase site traffic? Differentiate your company from the competition?

3. Armed with your requirements and budget, you can begin contacting and
evaluating different content providers. Choose a provider (see Selecting a Web Content Provider) that can provide the type of information you need, in the format(s) that you want it, for a price that fits your budget.

4. Once you have selected a content vendor, you will generally work with them to define your needs in a way that their system understands, fine-tune the feeds, and then receive code for integration on your Web site, intranet or extranet. Depending on what type of information you'll be receiving and how you'll be delivering it, you may also be provided with an RSS link (or several), and access to the vendor's email marketing tool (or you may choose to use a third-party email marketing provider).

5. Just as with a new product or service, you'll need to market your new information offering. Once you have an information source, you'll need to publicize and promote this to your internal and/or external audience(s), via an appropriate medium (newsletter, press release, search engine marketing, etc.).

6. Finally, as with any Web marketing expenditure, you'll need to measure the results (e.g. Web traffic, newsletter subscriptions, conversion rate, satisfaction survey, etc.), in order to demonstrate and optimize your return on investment.

Related pages:
How to Build Site Traffic with Compelling Content
Selecting a Web Content Provider

Content Providers, Current Awareness Solutions & Content Syndicators

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