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Why content is – still – king when it comes to marketing your business

Content has always been important in digital marketing, but the landscape has now shifted, writes SIMON DELL, who advises business owners to focus on new ways of communicating online.

Once upon a time, ‘content marketing’ was all about stuffing as many keywords as possible into a blog post and crossing your fingers the page would rank well on search engines.

Today, it’s a lot more complex than that – but there are also far more opportunities to maximise great content on your business’ website.

The new version of content marketing is all about establishing a connection with, and delivering value to, readers.

It’s no longer a direct sales pitch, nor is it an article full of keywords that don’t fit the story.

In 2018, digital campaign manager Teagan West wrote an article for technology website Scrunch.com, explaining why content was king at that time.

Today, many of West’s principles still hold true, so let’s take a deeper look into the reasons why content is still king, and how you can leverage your content marketing strategy.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a broad term referring to how online content – in any form – can be used to reach and connect with a business’ potential customers.

In the past two years, the scope of content marketing has increased drastically. Today, it comprises:

• Social media posts
• Blog articles
• Landing pages
• Videos
• Email
• eBooks
• Podcasts
• Webinars

This list isn’t exhaustive, of course, but it shows how far content marketing has come from the days when it was all about blogging and social media. If that sounds like a lot of work, you are right – it is. However, there are ways to make content marketing more efficient.

For example, an informational video on a single topic can easily be turned into a blog post, emailed to subscribers, or shared to social media.

One piece of engaging content can be re-used or redeveloped across various digital marketing channels in order to reach more potential customers.

The role of SEO

Written content – particularly blogging – has always been about search-engine optimisation (SEO).

Pages with ‘good’ SEO rank higher on Google and are therefore more likely to be seen and clicked on by customers.

In the past, the standard practice for business owners was to fill every post with keywords relating to your business, so that you would rank more highly whenever someone searched for that keyword.

For example, if you owned the business XYZ Plumbers, based in Sydney, you would continuously use the keyword ‘Sydney plumbers’. However, Google’s secretive SEO algorithms now make it much more difficult to rank highly using this method – and reward those who take a more considered, informative approach.

In fact, a single well-written piece of content on your website’s blog has the effect of boosting your entire website’s SEO, giving you the chance to appear in more searches.

So, how can business owners improve their posts using SEO best practices?

Here are some easy-to-follow steps:

Structure – Ensure your posts are structured for the way people will read them, using headings and paragraphs

Relevancy – Written and visual content should be pertinent to the business and related fields of interest, rather than trying to cover a variety of topics

Links – Include links to other pages on the website (known as internal links)

Images – Add descriptions for your images and include alt tags with your keywords

URLs – Make the URL of your pages short and relevant

There is so much more that goes into making content SEO-friendly, but what is most important is for business owners to write for humans, not search engines; above all, content should be useful, relevant, and make sense to readers.

Directing traffic

Content exists to draw potential customers to your website and engage with your business.

SEO directs traffic to your site from searches; again, using the plumber example, the owner of XYZ Plumbers has written a great blog about how to fix leaking taps, so people searching for advice on fixing leaking taps are directed to that blog post.

While they may simply use the article to fix their taps, they might also decide to have and call XYZ Plumbers for assistance.

It’s important to remember that content marketing isn’t about converting every single visit to the website into a sale; it’s about capturing the right kind of traffic that positions a business to increase sales.

If a business can keep users on the site longer by providing plenty of useful
content, the chance of making a sale increases. Websites with very little content often experience high bounce rates – that is, visitors leaving the site quickly.

Another way to improve sales is to include an attractive call-to-action in the form of ‘Contact’ forms or other one-click contact methods on each piece of content.

This makes it easy for customers to get in touch.

Engage the audience

Another goal of content marketing is to promote engagement with followers or customers and one of the simplest ways to do so is through social media.

Whether a link to a blog, an infographic, a video, or an image advertising a sale, if your content is engaging enough, people will take notice and interact with the post by making a comment, liking or even sharing it.

Customers like to feel connected to a brand, which is why content is so important to keep people engaged.

Content marketing isn’t about converting every single visit to the website into a sale; it’s about capturing the right kind of traffic that positions a business to increase sales.

Social media influencers have turned this into a viable business model, carefully strategising their posts to maximise engagement, which they can then monetise later through product endorsements.

Again, not every post needs to result in a sale; if the post increases the audience for the business, that is also positive because it increases the number of potential customers who will be exposed to the business on a regular basis.

There are several simple ways to increase engagement on posts, from replying to social media comments and thanking followers for sharing, to using polls and quizzes.

Conversely, bombarding followers with sales pitches often leads to reduced engagement – and in some cases it can also turn people away for good.

Businesses can use the built-in analytics on social media apps to determine which content generates the most engagement.

Adding business value

Ideally, content should establish the business as an authority in the market, without directly promoting products or services; the business becomes a ‘trusted advisor’ to its followers, which in turn makes sales conversion easier.

Content can also add value to existing products and services; for example, ‘how to’ articles, checklists, webinars, instructional videos and step-by-step guides.

They’re purely informational, with no sales message attached, so they may not result in direct sales.

However, they do help to establish a connection between a business and its potential customers, building trust. Essentially, this value-adding content aims to solve problems for people in their everyday lives.

Content with purpose

In theory, everybody has the ability to create great content. In practice though, it takes some marketing knowledge to make content work.

A business owner could write a very informative blog post that customers would love to read – but if it is not SEO- friendly, it won’t rank highly enough on search engines and therefore won’t be found. If the business owner doesn’t share the post on social media, they are again missing out on another audience again.

Furthermore, if the blog post doesn’t link into any products and services on the website, it’s unlikely to generate any sales.

Ultimately, content marketing isn’t just about producing great content – it is about utilising strategy to drive traffic to the website, increase followers, and ultimately attract more leads that can be converted into sales.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Dell

Contributor •

Simon Dell is co-founder and CEO of Cemoh, a Brisbane-based firm that provides marketing staff on demand. He specialises in digital marketing and brand management. Visit: cemoh.com

Pink Kimberley Australia
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