Don’t underestimate the power of valuable content: Ian Brodie’s story

Sonja Jefferson

We talk a lot about how businesses should create content for their websites that is genuinely useful to their customers. “Buyer behaviour has changed,” we say: “their first port of call is the internet. They are not looking for you, they’re looking for answers to their business problems. You’d better make sure that your website is packed full of valuable information that answers their questions and positions you as the trusted resource they seek.”

It’s a compelling argument but does it really get results?

Here is a case study from professional services business development expert Ian Brodie. Ian’s experience shows you how powerful the ‘valuable content’ strategy for your website really is.

Ian swapped a traditional, corporate website for his current content-rich site with impressive results. Here is his story.

Ian Brodie’s new content-rich website gets results

“I decided to invest in a new website a couple of years ago. Like many business owners I was incredibly frustrated with my existing site. I’d stumped up quite a bit of cash for what I thought was a good looking website. I’d written compelling, client-focused copy describing the problems I had helped clients with and the benefits they’d get from working with me. I had testimonials, case studies, service descriptions – everything.

Well, everything except clients.

Almost no one came to my site (despite paying for some search engine optimisation work). Those that did visit didn’t hang around for long.

At the same time I was hugely enthusiastic about what an effective website could bring me. As a sole practitioner I knew that my time was at a premium. I was spending a lot of time working to win business by going out networking, pitching, presenting and meeting people. I knew that if I could just get my website working for me it could bring me in business while I was with clients, sleeping or having fun.

I already had a separate blog – just for fun really: an outlet for my desire to share ideas on marketing and business development. I noticed that my pretty scruffy looking blog far outstripped my professional website in terms of traffic, and in terms of the connections it allowed me to make with my potential clients and peers in my niche.

Because my blog had useful articles on it, other websites and blogs had no hesitation linking to it and highlighting my articles to their readers. When I used social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn I had somewhere to send people to read more useful information (rather than just promotional puffery about myself which never goes down well).

Visitors stuck around far longer on my blog. They made comments. Some of them even emailed me to ask questions. I emailed back and we began to build a relationship. This never happened with my corporate site.

I started getting emails from people asking how I could help them in their business. Clients were coming to me!

In the end I abandoned my professional, corporate website. I got the blog tidied up and put all the stuff about my clients and my services as sub pages of the blog. I kept the focus of the new site firmly and squarely on delivering what you call “valuable content” to keep readers engaged and coming back for more – and to get other sites linking to me to raise my google rankings.

And the results?

Thanks to this strategy I now get the majority of my clients via my website – and as I’d hoped, I don’t have to go out and trade my time anytime I need new clients.”

Have a look at Ian’s site – www.ianbrodie.com– not overly fancy in design, just packed with extremely valuable information, absolutely relevant to his target clients, clearly laid out.

The lesson that we can learn from Ian’s story is this:

The most important factor in website success is the quality and depth of its content

Valuable content really does help you sell.


How about you? Do you have any stories to share about the benefits of valuable website content? We’d love to hear them.

Further reading:

If you are looking for help with your business website – either with its content or your overall approach – we can provide objective assistance. Find out more about our valuable website services or get in touch sonja@sonjajefferson.co.uk.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Sonja,

    Thanks for writing up my story – I can certainly testify to the power of valuable content on your website – I new get about 70% of my business through the web.

    If anyone want to ask questions I’d be happy to answer them in the comments here.

    Rgds

    Ian

    Reply
  2. This is a very interesting article.

    In my business I have been interested in the response and connections I’ve been making through Twitter – responses to my personality and to my knowledge, rather than through my fairly impersonal (dare I say corporate?) website.

    Based on this I have started personalising my website along the lines suggested elsewhere in your excellent blog – adding personal photos, showing the human side to my business. Also demonstrating my understanding of what I offer – genuine local recommendations of quality local businesses serving the domestic market.

    You have inspired me to fill my website with more content on my specialist subject – good practice for householders as advised by local tradespeople, also advice on where to buy which local foods, when.

    Keep up the good work. Thank you for your advice – really brought to life by the excellent case study. I like the idea that Ian’s blogsite became what websites were always supposed to be – something promoting your expertise 24/7, when you need to be doing things more productive than networking.

    If you’re based in East Devon, Exeter, or Teignbridge/Torbay, you’ll get tips for your home life as well as special offers from quality local independent businesses by following @NickLocalExpert.

    Reply
  3. I love Ian’s site! And I agree with him (and you) completely. My web traffic has increased dramatically since I incorporated my blog into as well – in the space of a couple of weeks I’m getting more traffic, more comments and interaction, and more business.

    Modern day marketing is all about communication, engagement and interaction with people – why not use your website to to this? It’s a tool like any other.

    Reply
  4. Too right Eli and Nick.

    I love your comments Nick about showing the human side of your business – getting your personality and knowledge on line. You do that with aplomb on your site (see http://www.ourlocalexpert.co.uk).

    Good to know that business is coming on the back of your engaging blog Eli. Some people in business will be amazed to hear that it is possible to get business through blogging, but you, Ian and Nick help to prove that it is a really effective method of communication that, done well, gets results.

    Reply

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