If pressed to designate one prevailing theme from this year’s edition of SES NYC, I’d have to say it was “understanding.”

Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik (@avinash) began the SES journey to understanding with his keynote presentation, Business Optimization in a Digital Age, in which he shared his innovative thoughts on the importance of “balancing multiple media channels, leveraging super awesome metrics, grounding your digital existence in driving economic value, and leveraging the Clear Line of Sight model.”

SES New YorkCentral to Kaushik’s presentation was his emphasis on making sure your brand is making smart, educated decisions about conducting business online: doing homework about your target audience to (1) influence them to check out your content, (2) anticipate what they expect and need to experience in order to spend time with you, and (3) provide that valuable “thing” at the right time–that key impetus that nets the transaction you need.

Underlying it all, though, is this: if it’s to be successful, web content needs to be written for somebody, not about something or for the benefit of a search engine.

Understanding the target audience – their wants, their needs, their expectations, their motivations, their habits, their pain points – was a crucial component of Lee Odden’s (@leeodden) Content Marketing session on Thursday, as he contends that such core customer-centric knowledge strengthens and empowers a brand’s ability to elevate their web game from also ran to leader. As a publisher (to be clear, ANY brand with a website is a publisher), brands cannot simply focus on internal variables and shameless self-promotion because now, more than ever before, the web is user-centric—more focused on what “I want or need” than what “you have to offer.”

EVG frequently meets with brands to talk about developing strategies for honing their web voices and making their online presences more robust, more compelling and more search-friendly. Invariably, though, we always try to steer the conversation back to this core point:

If your content isn’t customer-focused, if it doesn’t provide the solution (information, a product, a service) to whatever problem or concern has motivated the user to visit your site, don’t expect them to stick around long.

Good, sound research and well-planned, smartly conceived content strategy that weaves in tactical considerations like geo-specific content, keywords, and social elements can help better position your site to anticipate and be what web users need when they need it.

Joseph Hall
VP, EVG Content Creation Center

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