Content makes the world go ‘round -- the Web 2.0 world.  It can move you to the top of search result lists, move people to action, and turn strangers into customers.  But it will take more than one blog post, video, or podcast to make this happen.  It will take creating captivating content on a consistent basis to turn clicks into customers. 

Most small and mid-sized businesses understand the importance of passing The Google Test -- showing up in search results lists for important key word phrases.  And many of them know content can push them up those lists.  With all this in mind, many small and mid-sized businesses still aren’t pushing out enough content to “win any new friends," let alone influence enough people to become customers.

So why aren’t more small businesses generating the enough content if they know it would be good for business?  Many feel it’s too time consuming to crank out the content when they have so many other things to do in order to keep the lights on and the doors open.  And while there is a certain level of time and effort that goes into blogging, webcasting, and such, there are a number of ways to create content with relative ease and quickness.  Here are a few ways you can begin passing the Google Test quickly.

Posting with Posterous

Posterous is a site that allows you to post just about any kind of document to the Web via e-mail.  So if you if have whitepapers, PowerPoint slides, images, and other files on your hard drives, you can e-mail them to Posterous and they’ll create a blog post out of it.  You can even mail a link to a YouTube video you think is interesting and they will embed the video into the post for you.  This allows you to easily move content to the Web, making it possible for Google to index it and make it available to searchers.  You may also want to check out other popular document sharing sites like Slideshare.net, ScribD, and Docstoc.com.

Talk is cheap for making content

Nothing is easier for us to do than to open our mouths and talk.  In fact many of us may be a little guilty of talking too much.  So why not turn some of that talk into content that can drive traffic to our websites?  Utterli is a service that lets you use your mobile phone to post things to the Web.  So if you have an interesting thought or insight that hits you while you’re in transit, you can dial up Utterli and record your thought, and Utterli will post it to the Web.  You can also use service like Talkshoe to record conference calls that are made available to people interested in the topics covered on your call. 

Turn bookmarks into blog posts

One of the things we’re used to doing is bookmarking webpages we like.  And when we find interesting things on the Web, we tend to share it with others whom we think would share our interest.  So we’ll e-mail links to people, as well as receive e-mails with links from others.  Sharing bookmarks became much easier to do because of sites like Delicious and Diigo.  But these sites also made easy for you to turn your bookmarks into full-blown blog posts.  So instead of having a bunch of e-mails with links floating around, you can set up a weekly job that creates blog posts with all the links you’ve bookmarked over that time period.  Not only does make for an easy way to generate searchable content, it also creates opportunities for people to comment on your blog to generate conversational opportunities.

Don’t forget about comments

A good comment can be as effective as a blog post, YouTube video, podcast, webinar, or any other kind of content. That's right I said it -- a comment is just as much a piece of Web content as all the other kinds you can think of. So don't overlook the power of commenting. A good comment can lead to a good conversation, which could lead to some good collaborative experiences, which in turn can lead to some pretty cool relationships -- business and/or otherwise.  And if you begin commenting on different blogs across the Web, a free service from CoComment.com allows you to keep track of all your comments from one location. It also allows you to create an RSS feed from your comments, which can be subscribed to in a feed reader like Google Reader.   And if you have a blog you can create a widget that allows others to display comments from your blog on their site, which also can drive traffic back to you.

So don’t let the idea that creating content will take too much time and effort stop you from doing it.  It’s getting easier everyday to push all kinds of content onto the Web.  And if you’re still not comfortable doing it yourself you can use services like Elance.com to find people who can do it for you.  The key is to figure out a way that works for you.  In today’s world, Web content is the equivalent to a welcome mat.  If you don’t have a welcome mat out for people, they’ll find the companies that do.

Brent Leary is a small-business technology analyst, adviser and award-winning blogger. Leary is also host of a weekly radio program heard on Business Technology Radio. His blog can be found at www.brentleary.com.