Why Content Marketing is Important for Any Business
23 February 2017
Content Marketing has been the buzz phrase of SEO and digital marketing for the last few years. Content can take many different forms; written blogs, press releases, infographics, video and even audio podcasts. The benefits of content marketing are numerous, with many SEO specialists focused on the link building opportunities, and digital marketers using the influence of great content to persuade an audience and even create new brand advocates for your companies.
It's easy to create basic content simply to receive a link back to your website, but truly valuable content will provide your company with valuable citations, social signals that can improve your rankings with search engines, and also create additional points of contact for your customers to make purchasing decisions.
What is good quality content marketing?
We need to think carefully about why people consume content and for what reasons. By using this method, we can understand where to interject our brand or services in order to provide a useful solution to our potential reader. This comes from understanding your potential audience first, and when they would need your goods or services.
For example, if you're a plumbing company with a new product that makes it easier to fix leaks in 20 minutes without the assistance of a plumber, then making a short demo video on YouTube provides the customer with a guide to use your product to solve the problem. Should they be following that guide, they have a predisposition to purchasing your product and solve their problem - therefore making the sale for your client.
You are also able to place links inside the video to products on your website and how customers can order the product and make them aware of your website for future purchases.
Where do you want to place your content?
Citation and where you place your content is important from both a user credibility point of view, as well as in the eyes of search engines. The credibility and effectiveness of links have two separate elements, Anchor text and Trust - which will influence your ranking performance with search engines.
How Trust Works
The easiest way to relate this is in regards to thinking of links as spokespeople for your company. How trusted is the person speaking about your company and what are they saying about you?
Trust is related to the domain that your content (and link) is on. If a well-respected website in the eyes of search engines gives you a link, they are essentially vouching for your company and the goods/services you provide.
To refer to the analogy of the spokesperson, If the lady standing at the corner with her two dogs is telling everyone that walks past that you sell socket wrenches at the best prices, they may pay some attention to her, but the chances are that they will not truly value her opinion on that. However, if a well-respected & trusted celebrity says that you sell socket wrenches at the best prices, people are more likely to believe this as they have more of the trust of the public.
To go even further on that point, if you had a well-respected mechanic at BMW say that you have the best prices on socket wrenches, not only because he is trusted, BUT also that he is related to your industry are people who are going to buy your product more likely to choose you over your competitors. Search Engines work in the same way, with a link to your financial advisory site from KPMG being one of the best places for you to place your content or get an endorsement from.
Then your anchor text that you are using in your link send signals as to what they are saying about you. Often these anchor texts will relate to the products or service that you offer, for example KPMG can say that you are well versed in “Short Term Insurance” and then when people are searching for search term insurance, you are more likely to appear in search engine rankings for these terms relating to short term insurance.
To create the best possible link for your services / goods you would want to receive a link that fulfils both these 2 elements. From a site relevant to your industry / services or audience, a site that is trusted by search engines in a quality score and using words that directly identify your goods or services.
What type of content should you use?
Picking the type of content is crucial for the way you want to engage your audience and also the results that you aim to achieve. If you're looking to achieve improved ranking performances, text link building is your best opportunity, with search engines recognising anchor text for a particular keyword phrase that can improve the ranking performance of that and similar keyword phrases.
However, citation factors, social signals and reach are becoming more and more important. Understanding that users consume content in very different ways today, with YouTube, infographics and memes being consumed at monumental rates daily.
People are more likely to watch videos and read infographics than normal text. Users also have much shorter attention spans than before, with the urgency being to find short and concise solutions without being forced to put large amounts of effort in.
Sharing also forms a massive part of your content strategy, not only sharing the content that you have produced yourself, but also by creating content that users WANT to share amongst their friends and families.
For solving issues to common problems as showcased in the above examples is something that people will share, in relation to life hacks. These can also be curated for maximum effect according to the needs of your audience. For example, if you're creating a piece of content regarding how to surprise your valentine and make them say yes around this time of year, and you happen to be a florist or a retailer of small gifts, your potential to improve sales for the year, as well as have people actively share your content is very high.
This is not only something that can be used for product sales but also works for service orientated businesses as well. Many businesses can run on seasonal trends and it's important for you to create the correct content at the right time in order to maximise the exposure that will naturally occur through sharing.
Don't neglect your own website content
While the predominant focus of this article has been on offsite content, it's crucial to realise the importance of great content on your own site. You are experts in your own field - whether it's knowing how to brew the perfect cup of coffee, or how to organise your bank balance to save for that time of the year where every penny counts.
Use your expertise to create fresh and relevant content for your own site, either in the form of news, opinions, editorials or even infographics.
Content on your own site fulfils a number of important characteristics that many marketers forget about; creates relevant content to further indicate to Google how it should classify your content, it provides opportunities to create rankings for long-tail keywords that you usually wouldn't focus on, and also signals to Google that you have an active site that is often updated, making sure that your site is often crawled and has a better potential to rank for terms.
Your clients and other people looking for your expertise are also likely to share content from your own site, and by doing so can create natural linking opportunities.
Content marketing can take many forms and all of them beneficial, but it's important for marketers to see the options available, the multiple benefits from the activity and why it's important to not only create great content offsite but also on your own pages.