In our previous article, we spoke about how the marketing landscape has changed and that the traditional method of traffic generation, SEO (search engine optimization) is not the holy grail it once was. We finished the article by saying:
In this article we’d like to show you firstly, what content marketing is, and secondly why it is the best solution for your overall online marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
Simply put content marketing is marketing to people by creating and sharing high quality and high value content with them. What kinds of content? The most common kinds are (blog)articles, videos, images, and podcasts. Are there more kinds than this? Sure, but these are the big four. Types of content are really only limited by your imagination (and means of distributing the content to your audience).
Why Content Marketing?
In the early days of Google, it was possible for web designers and marketers to spam Google with a bunch of keywords and get themselves onto page one in a matter of days. Google doesn’t like this because it makes for an incredibly poor user experience for people looking for products, services, or information on their search engine. Google quickly realised that they needed to provide their users with relevant, high quality results or quickly fall into obscurity. They now use an increasingly sophisticated system which not only checks to see if a website is really about what is says it’s about, but they also measure the quality/reputation of the website that the information is on. You can find out more about how this works in this SEO article.
Traditional SEO practices often focus on trying to beat Google’s algorithms; to find work-arounds or loopholes to boost a website’s ranking. The problem is that Google doesn’t like this any more than they liked keyword spamming. When they find these loopholes and workarounds, they modify their algorithms and POOF! All of your time, money, and advancement in rankings is gone. You can NEVER beat the house when the house makes all of the rules.
But what if you started playing ball with Google instead of trying to beat them? The foundation of everything that Google has done, and will continue to do, is to provide its users with high quality, high value, relevant results to their searches. So what if we gave them that? What if we created the high quality, high value content that Google knows its users are looking for? That is why Content Marketing is so powerful; because it not only gives Google what it’s looking for, but it gives users what they are looking for. And it give you the added bonus of looking like a star!
Who is Content Marketing for?
So the question you may be asking yourself, right now, is “is content marketing really for me?”. Let’s take a look at the big picture. We have two websites that are both in the same field; Website A, and Website B.
The owner of website A has read a few articles and listened to a few people who say you have to be on the first page of Google and the way to do this is a major SEO campaign. So the owner forks out several thousand dollars to an SEO company for a six month campaign, sits back and waits for results.
The owner of website B is also told that they need to be on the first page of Google, but doesn’t have the marketing budget to be able to afford an SEO specialist, so they dig a little deeper in their research and find out about content marketing. They sit down and formulate a digital marketing strategy which focuses on creating and regularly publishing high quality, valuable content for their target audience which is directly relevant to their core business.
Now let’s take a look at these two businesses 6 months later. Website A is hovering between the top of Page two and the Bottom of Page one on Google due to some clever manipulating on the part of their SEO specialist. They are starting to get a slowly growing stream of traffic from people finding them on Google. Website A is feeling pretty good about their investment in SEO.
Website B isn’t doing quite as well. They are back on Page five or six of Google and the only traffic they have gotten to their website is through friends and referrals. Many people in their company think that their content is really good quality and of high value and can’t figure out why it’s not catching on, but after sending out a questionnaire to their slowly growing email list and social media audience, they find that from the point of view of their visitors, the content could be a lot better. They re-evaluate their strategy and resolve to make their content more valuable and better quality.
Let’s move ahead another six months.
The owners of website A are frustrated and gnashing their teeth! Two months ago Google updated its search algorithms and traffic to the website, which was growing steadily until then, has completely dried up. The SEO company is floundering around trying to find another loophole to exploit and meanwhile the website owners are back at square one, minus several thousand dollars and 10 months of their time.
Website B however, is starting to gain some traction. The reevaluation of their content has made a significant impact and due to the quality and high value of their content, it is being shared a lot on the social media platforms they have targeted. People are starting to recognise them and regularly consume their content due to their growing reputation. Google has also taken notice and as the reputation of the site and number of people visiting it grows, the ranking of their site on Google continues to climb.
Now, this is a pretty simple example but it illustrates the big picture difference in approaches to Google (and online marketing). Website A chose to work against Google and base it’s marketing strategy on trying to beat the system and paid the price. Website B chose to work within the system and provide exactly what Google knows its users are looking for. It was a strategy that took longer to produce results, but through perseverance and a bit of self examination, the owners of Website B have created a strategy which will continue to grow and see increasing returns over time. Just like the rocket in our feature photo at the top of the article; it’s going to take some time for the rocket to get to its launch platform, but when it does, look out!
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that content marketing provides exactly what Google and, more importantly, your audience are looking for; quality and value. If provided regularly this also builds trust. And trust is essential in turning traffic into customers.
So is content marketing for you? Only you can answer that. But if you’re asking us, the answer is absolutely YES!
Here’s some further reading:
When Can You Expect Your Content Marketing Efforts to Bear Fruit?
Feature Photo by iamdanw
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