At a recent marketing association event about landing big company clients, one of the participants asked the speaker, "How do we find the watering holes where the decision makers meet?"

The room burst into discussion. Some people said golf courses. Some said nonprofit boards. Others (facetiously, I hope), suggested the Cayman Islands. But I couldn't help thinking of a better alternative: Build your own watering hole. Load your Web site with so much fresh, valuable, and compelling information that it becomes the center of your industry's discussions. Or at least the most valuable and visible entry point for potential prospects looking for answers—and eager to read what you have to say.

The key to building a watering hole is creating a constant stream of fresh content that seduces search engine spiders, lures qualified visitors, and encourages repeat visits—all while reinforcing your image as a credible expert. Here's what it takes to make it happen.

Don't swallow the goat

Ever see a boa constrictor digest a large animal? It can be done, but then the snake is immobilized for a good long time.

Too many Web site projects are like that snake. They begin with grandiose plans, elaborate designs, and bewildering navigation charts that span entire whiteboards. And what about content, the actual words? Out comes the old brochure copy, stale corporate bios, and tired mission statements. And they sit on that Web site, unchanged, for a looong time. Just like the goat in the boa's belly.

There's a better way to build a site: Start simply and create the minimum number of pages necessary to allow visitors to accomplish what you want them to accomplish on your site. Then think of your content development as an ongoing process that will continually refresh your site and help it grow organically.

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image of Jonathan Kranz

Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz

Twitter: @jonkranz