As a general member of the public, I can honestly say that I am getting fed up with traditional forms of marketing.
I am over those TV ads popping up during my movies and I absolutely hate it when you hear words to the effect: ‘ we will be right back after a short ad break’. I am so over getting hammered with ads and information that I’m just not interested in and in fact, these types of ads are actually turning me off the product.
And this brings us to the very powerful marketing tool known as content marketing in the digital space.
If you are a small business owner, or in the marketing field you may be unaware of content marketing. But, one this is for certain, it is here to stay and the uptake of this medium will only grow over the next 24 months.
So I hear you ask, what precisely is content marketing?
Content marketing is basically using online channels and mediums to create, share for free ( in some cases) and promote your content. It is all about providing online users with information that they actually want to read rather than it being thrust down their throats. Forbes has a great article worth reading called What Is Content Marketing?
In a way, it’s a very passive marketing technique but one that will grow in popularity as more business owners and marketing professionals look to extend their reach and sales base. This is a long term strategy and should really be handled by a team of content marketing and SEO experts that fully understand this.
Because content marketing is really a ‘soft sell’ approach you will be engaging and exciting consumers and clients that want to know about you and your product as opposed to a scattergun ‘ hard sell’ approach which is often the playground of traditional marketing approaches like newspapers, radio, magazines and TV ads. Yes, it may have worked in the past, but with the internet close at hand, including the entire mobile and handheld device market, consumers will tend to go with brands that they find online and trust.
If for example, an article has been written about a certain brand and users online have reviewed it positively, then this will engender a whole lot more trust and brand value than a 3- second ad on TV. This is especially true if this article has been liked, retweeted or endorsed by friends or family. It is just so easy to create that I feel that this will play a huge part in how businesses, organisations and companies get their name out there in the years to come.
Content marketing can take a number of different forms:
: basically if you are reading this article on the hopping mad blog then you are experiencing first-hand the wonders of content marketing. Your company website should have a blog and you should be able taught how to use it and post content. If you are unsure about this, speak with your web developer.
Videos: get a professionally taken video, post it on your website and watch the number of viewers click on it. If it is creative and fun or even informative, users will certainly share it. There are even explainer videos that have a powerful cut through rate with your audience and are well worth looking into.
We have just created an animated explained video for NSW education, which can be viewed here.
Infographics: If you want to try to communicate something in a fun, quirky way then why not get a professional graphic design studio to draw up a clever infographic that sits with your content and post it on your blog or website.
Email Newsletters: Keep your clients up to speed with your company’s latest news with creative content, that they will actually look forward to.
The basic aim of content marketing is to engage with an online audience that wants to be part of what you have to say and ultimately turn these readers into paying customers. Why do you think many companies now have dedicated content marketers whose job is to just write and market content and manage this content on social media platforms and sites.
And how does content marketing integrate and have a huge impact on all SEO campaigns?
The playing field over the last 12-24 months has significantly changed when it comes to SEO. Google has made it a hell of a lot tougher to rank websites and all the techniques that were used in the past to rank sites have basically been thrown out the window. Google has cottoned on to what SEO companies were doing in the past; spammy content with keyword stuffing, maximisation of back-links and over optimised websites and has become almost human-like when it comes to determining what sites will rank and what sites won’t. Prior to the last couple of algorithm updates, SEO was aimed at the search engines and satisfying what they want to see. This is no longer applicable and will have no bearing on your ranking. What will work, is if your website has been designed and worded for the consumer not for the engines. To dumb it down, basically, if you are marketing for the end-user and not the search engines then you will be rewarded. Putting the end-user in front of the mind of your online marketing is now what it’s all about. This makes, for now, content marketing the big flavour of the month and I see this continuing now for at least the next couple of years.
If you put aside the point that placing the customer first is highly rewarded by the search engines content marketing will also benefit your SEO in a number of other ways by:
a. Making you be on top of your game by always looking for new, fresh and exciting content.
If you want to be perceived as an industry leader and a source of authority in your area of expertise then you need to be constantly looking for new content to give to users. Sure you may be ranking well for your main keywords from an SEO standpoint, but if users come to your site, visit your blog and see that it was last updated in 2011, this won’t be a good look. You may have done all the right on-page SEO must-haves to get a ranking, like H1 headers and tags, but if the content is stale, old and outdated, you will not be doing yourself any favours. Think of say a medical company that last updated its blog in 2010. They may claim that they are at the cutting edge of technologies and treatments, but if their latest news section was last updated with new content in 2009, this will be a huge turn off for site visitors.
b. Creating more pages on your website.
The more page that you have on your website, the better you will be perceived in the eyes of the search engines. Basically each and every time you add a page or content to your site, the more you will be indexed and the more your content will be ranked. I have said this so many times to clients that I meet when they come in for a meeting that I am able to write an article and post it on my blog and have it ranked within 3-4 days. When I actually show this to them and prove what I say they are literally blown away. People do not fully understand this concept yet but I guess it is up to companies like us to educate them and show them what’s actually achievable online through content creation and content marketing. I even think that it will be the smart business owners of the future that will keep a content marketing company on a permanent contract to just facilitate this function. This would be a good move and the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
c. Ensure that you write relevant content based on keywords
This is a difficult point to convey so best I give you an example. Say for instance you are a lawyer and you want to create a page about your conveyancing services. This is easy enough to do but the point to note here is that you have to write quality new original content that is all about conveyancing. It will not work for you if you write about commercial law on this topic. The rick here when writing the content is to write as informative an article as you possibly can. It is hard to do at first but if you have the time and the patience then I promise you the whole process will become a lot easier.
d. Posting content creates and excites all those social signals.
As the old saying goes; t is so much better to be spoken about than not’. With respect to content marketing and SEO, this is very much the case. If your articles or blogs or videos are retweeted, liked, +1’d shared or re-pinned then this will send very strong social signals to the search engines which will in turn really help with the rankings. The more social signals, the better the rankings and in turn, you become perceived as an authority in your industry.
e. Write Lengthy Articles
Short posts or blogs with little or no content are not likely to engage readers. Content marketing needs to be in my opinion at least 1000 words if you are going to say anything important. Again, if they are read and shared due to the great content then this will have a positive effect on your SEO. I have met clients who gasp when I mention this word count, but unfortunately, this is the way it has to be. If you don’t think you have the skill or passion to do this, then there are always content marketing agencies happy to help you out. Check out what Yoast has to say on this topic here at Word count and SEO: how long should a blog post or page be?
Content marketing has become a huge growth area. I find it exciting as well as fascinating. Once you see the results it can produce it becomes a bit addictive. By this I mean the more you see your content rank, the more you want to do. Trust me, this does happen– all you require is a bit of quiet writing time, a tiny bit of research online and a small ounce of inspiration and creativity, which we all have! If you get stuck give me a call and I will be more than happy to talk you through it.