The importance of content marketing
The old saying that content is king is one of those clichés which , unfortunately for the ‘think outside the box’ types who always want to come up with something crushingly novel to say, happens to be true. In many ways, the content of your online presence – whether that’s your website, marketing campaign or social media output – is the single most important component. Whether your website works in a manner which is simple to navigate and allows visitors to quickly find what they want is clearly vital, but if you employ the right team of web designers then this can be a given. Producing content which is effective, on the other hand, will draw people to your website in the first place and, more importantly, encourage them to revisit and to share that content with others. Content which is high quality and consistent – in tone, in usefulness and in the way it represents your business – will go a long way towards building your brand image, and establishing your online presence as a place which can be relied upon. Once customers and prospective customers buy into your reliability in one area, they’re far more likely to extend this trust throughout everything you offer, and are therefore more likely to become customers and even repeat customers.
The importance of content marketing is now such that any business which is serious about its online presence should dedicate a large part of its’ digital strategy to producing the right type and the right quantity of content.
Know Your Audience
The first step toward refining your content is to think carefully about the audience you’re aiming for. Will you be dealing mainly with other businesses, or with members of the public? Considerations such as these can make a huge difference when it comes to crafting the content you use, in that people working in the same business as you will be able to deal with, understand and enjoy content which is much more complex than that aimed at the casual visitor. Just because you’re an expert in your chosen field, don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone who reads your content has the same knowledge. A few badly placed and unexplained acronyms or pieces of jargon at the top of a page will put the casual visitor off exploring any further.
Many businesses make the mistake of supposing that their work around content is done once the website is up and running, but the way in which search engines (and in particular Google) work means that nothing could be further from the truth. Using search engine optimisation (SEO) in the right manner will help to drive your work towards the top of Googles rankings to begin with, but a good way to keep yourself up there is to constantly produce fresh and new content.
Take Advantage of SEO
It should be noted, as well, that SEO strategy now consists of much more than simply packing your content with the right keywords. Identifying keywords – the words or phrases which people are likely to type into Google when searching – is still vital, and can be accomplished, in part at least, by using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner. Once you’ve identified the words and phrases, however, you have to take the time and trouble to utilise them in the crafting of content which is of the highest quality. There are two good reasons for this:
The algorithms used by Google are getting better and better – and will continue to do so – at identifying well written, relevant content.
Attracting visitors is just the start of the process. Once they’re visiting your site, the content should be such that it keeps them engaged and involved.
Re-use the Best Content
Having produced a piece of high quality content it makes sense – logistically as well as commercially – to re-use and rework this content across as many different platforms as possible. If the material and information contained within is likely to appeal to your key markets then rework it as a blog, press release, social media content, you tube video, email marketing post and whatever else you can think of, since every reworking will amplify its impact and multiply the number of people it reaches out to.
One of the key factors to bear in mind when producing content is to be true to yourself and produce something which is genuinely original. The temptation to save time, money and effort by simply regurgitating or reworking the content which is already out there should be resisted, since the unique nature of your content will help to persuade those who enjoy it of the unique nature of your business.
All of this is a perhaps long-winded way of saying that, when dealing with content marketing, you should always place quality over quantity. You may not have the time or budget to produce reams of new material on a daily basis, but nor do you need to. As suggested, content which boasts enough quality can be repurposed across a range of platforms and refreshed regularly in order to maintain your Google rankings. Rework an older piece with some new links, a few new illustrations and a slightly different angle (it’s likely that the facts in question will have changed over time anyway) and you’ll be producing content able to place you higher in the search results.
Where content is concerned, quality matters more than quantity, originality is key and a well thought through strategy, involving SEO, social media material and offline content, will help to establish and cement a consistent brand credibility.