Content marketing: What’s in it for business?
Content can be defined as every single word on your website, your blog, your social media platforms, and your offline advertising. In fact, it is any text that promotes your business, tells people about who you are and what you do, your aspirations, and your expertise. When you look at it like that, it’s suddenly very apparent just how important content is.
What’s in it for my business?
One word – customers. Without good content that sells your message effectively, you won’t pick up new customers and may even have trouble retaining existing ones.
We’re not just talking about a quick email campaign here, or the occasional guest blog. Content marketing is the single most important tool you have in your arsenal when it comes to driving your business forward. It needs to be front and centre of your marketing not just once, but continuously.
Let’s have a look at how content marketing dovetails in with your business model, and what you need to think about to make sure you’re getting the biggest bangs for your marketing bucks.
Content vs marketing strategy
It’s tempting to regard these two as mutually exclusive, when in fact the simple truth is that they’re a symbiotic partnership utterly reliant on one another for success. Make your content work for you by synchronising it with the rest of your campaign, putting it right at the very heart of your model. How? Well, the easiest way is to use this type of marketing to present yourself or your business as the ‘go-to’ people for your particular field.
Guest blogging is the easiest way to do this, by reinforcing your brand identity to a context of problem-solving, rather than problem creation. Let’s take the current hottest topic in B2B conversations – the use of plastics in both manufacturing and retail. If your business sells any product then your customers are going to ask, “What are you doing to reduce the amount of plastic you produce as a result of your retail or manufacturing process?” – and you better have a good answer lined up, too. You can respond with a positive message that enhances your brand by using strong content to put your position across.
Content creation can help you say to your customers, “Here is what we’re doing to address the issue you’ve raised. Not only are we proactive, but we’re actively looking for new and better ways to do our business so that we minimise waste.”
This is just one simple example where content creation could be used across various platforms to reinforce a single message. Not only are you levelling up your own reputation as a business expert, and solidifying your connection with your customers, but you’re creating a solid environment for some juicy SEO backlinks, too.
Some what-links, now?
Ah, SEO. Ignore anyone who says that SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a lost art/dead/not worth doing. It’s still very much a crucial element to any content creation. Take, for example, this very article. The words ‘content creation’ appear throughout the piece organically, (that means we haven’t shoehorned them in, which is a ‘black hat’ technique and will get your page penalised by Google).
If a potential reader types in that term into a search engine, then the stronger the SEO, the higher up the pagerankings your piece will appear.
Write something seriously interesting, and you’ll start to develop some backlinks. These are effectively citations by others, confirming that your content is both trustworthy and relevant to the search your average user is typing into the URL bar. In short, it’s a digital thumbs up and enhances your online reputation.
You’re always aiming for position 1. Repeated studies have shown that around 90% of consumers click on the first listing that comes up. Keeping your name at the top spot is essential.
However, cramming keywords or ramming sponsored posts into certain platforms can and will work against you. Ad blockers can pick up on content that is obviously ‘advertorial’, so make sure your content isn’t overly sales-y, especially if that’s regarded as a big no-no by the platform. If you’re unfamiliar with ‘white hat’ SEO protocol or are unsure how subject-relevant content can work as its own SEO (according to Google’s new algorithms), it’s best to hand it over to an expert.
You can’t do well online without SEO, and you can’t create good SEO without killer content. Again, we’ve got ourselves yet another symbiotic relationship (notice a pattern with these?), at the heart of which lies strong, well-written and powerful content with a strong keyword density.
Getting your content out there
Once you’ve written that killer content, how do you get it in front of the people who matter – namely, your customers? Distribution of content is often overlooked, so it’s well worth talking to a digital marketing expert who will be able to advise you where to post your blog for maximum effect, or even do it for you.
You can also do a bit of homework for yourself by downloading tools such as Google Trends and Buzzsumo. Find out what’s a ‘hot topic’ and you can make your content relevant to the current trends. Do that, and you’ve got a much better chance of your content rising above the general verbal melee you’ll encounter online, and find its way to responsive potential customers.