In any industry, the best sales person is the one who convinces you that you need their product or service and has you asking for it, rather than them trying to force it upon you. You’ll walk away from a sale with them without ever having feeling as though you’ve been sold to, and that buying the product or service in the first place was completely your idea.
Content marketing ensures that this happens in a number of different ways:
- It’s not about selling, so people aren’t on their guard.
- Content marketing pieces are helpful and informative – so readers aren’t faced with a page of jargon that isn’t relevant to them.
- Because the content created is interesting, enlightening and entertaining, people want to share it with their social networks. Your messages are delivered by trusted peers, and are more likely to be read than unsolicited sales messages.
- People are driven back to your website, where they find other shareable content. They spend longer browsing around your website and looking at what you have to say.
- With the right driving forces and calls to action, this increased traffic can be converted to increased sales.
- Updating your website frequently with relevant, high quality content will have a positive impact on your search rankings. Google and other search engines also look to social signals people give off when reading your content – whether it’s shared, and how viral it is.
- The more people share your content, the more it’s validated in the search engine’s eyes as being high quality and relevant, so the more your rankings will increase.
- So as well as being a powerful promotion of your brand, content marketing makes your website easier to find.
Since an update in 2011 to the way in which Google ranks websites, high quality original content has become more important than ever before. Whilst once search engine optimisation may have been about keyword densities, changes to the way Google handles machine learning has meant that it can now start to look at websites in the way that a person might and read them in much the same manner.
Language, Structure and Depth
Just as any visitors to your site would hope to see well-written and well-structured pages, that’s exactly what Google looks for too. Using over 40 signals, Google judges the quality of web-page content. It looks at length, depth of content between pages, use of synonyms and antonyms and sentence structures. Alongside these signals, search engines also look for websites that are updated frequently and regularly with fresh, unique content. A proactive content marketing plan creating high-quality content will ensure your site gives off all of the right on-page signals.
But search engines also look beyond this. Using data gathered through users of Chrome, Androids, Google Toolbars and many others, Google can build up a picture of how people behave online. If people spend time actively browsing your site, clicking through the different pages and paying attention to what you have to say, these site metrics will signals to Google that your content is engaging and worth a visit. As search engines seek to deliver the very best website results to the people who use them, strong and engaging content that encourages people to browse through your site will result in more visible search rankings.
‘The Crowd’ factor
No discussion about performing better on search engines would be complete without a mention of the number of links that point back to your site. In essence, this is important because Google places value in the opinion of crowds, and just as a strong academic paper may be referenced more often, links once formed the backbone of how Google judged which websites were higher quality than others. However, recently there has been a shift in this mentality because links are so easy to manipulate. Instead, search engines are seeking to qualify websites’ popularity through the crowd’s validation through social signals in the form of Likes, Tweets, +1s and more. Content marketing comes into its own with social media, encouraging engagement and shares that signal to search engines that your site is worthy of a high search ranking.
Our feature content is tailored to appeal to humans, not just to appease search engines. Content that’s amusing, informative, exciting and new is far more shareable than content that isn’t, so we ensure that all of our feature articles hit at least one of these markers. Once it’s been produced, our engaging feature content can be expertly promoted on all the major social networks; there, it gets picked up by other users who share it with their contacts, who then spread it on to their contacts, and before you know it your article has a chance of going viral.
With only six degrees separating you from the rest of the world, saying the right shareable things on your social networks takes you one step closer to an audience you’ve not reached before. Creating posts and statuses that promote your own unique website content will mean that when people share your content, they’ll also be sharing your name, brand and voice.
Stand out from the crowd
In a world where millions of tweets, Facebook posts and status updates are sent out each day, standing out from what the rest of the crowd is saying is important. With original and useful content shared through these social networks, people will notice that you’re not just another voice repeating the same things. The right content marketing strategy will see you in the position of a thought leader, setting the agenda rather than following it.
Email campaigns and newsletters are essential to keep your brand front-of-mind and ensure that visitors have a reason to visit your site. But where a number of these fall down is in the content that’s included. Most newsletter open-rates typically see an open rate of around 10-20%, and the number of consumers clicking through to a website is even less than that. The reason for this is that for a number of people, an email campaign simply means yet another sales email in their inbox.
By using unique and engaging content that’s relevant to your audience rather than pushing out another sales email, they’ll start to engage with your brand much more. Instead of hitting ‘delete’ before reading what you’ve said, they will have a reason to look forward to hearing from you. Content marketing allows you to build a relationship with your audience by providing them with something that holds value, be it advice, information, humour or expertise. Because you’ve engaged with them in this way, using content marketing as the basis for your newsletters then means that your audience will be that much more forgiving and interested if you do then choose to occasionally send them a sales snippet.
PR means different things to different people. In the online world, it comes down to two things: Public Relations, and Press Releases. Content marketing is strong enough to bring about impressive, lasting improvement on both fronts.
Powerful Public Relations
Public relations are all about creating a buzz around your brand, managing customers’ and clients’ expectations, and establishing a commanding, influential and recognisable reputation within your industry. By opening up the lines of communication through content marketing, you’ll be better placed to build compelling and lasting relationships with consumers. Informative articles that provoke thought and discussion around areas of your industry that nobody else is yet talking about give you a chance to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Compelling Press Releases
Whilst both our Features+ and Content Unlimited packages include news-related content, you’ll notice that it doesn’t form the backbone of our Content Marketing Strategy, and nor should you let it be the exclusive activity of yours. Journalists and newspapers have their inboxes filled up each day with countless Press Releases, most of which will be repeating the same industry-specific, inward-facing news articles. In order to stand out, you have to create something that journalists want to write about. Content marketing allows you to find new articles to old stories, creating headlines that establish you as the market leaders. Once established, you can start to rely on the press to come to you for your own views. When you’re at the top of your game, it’s your views that make the news.
Content Marketing establishes you in a Thought Leadership Position
When done right, content marketing means that you’ll have a unique voice that stands out in the marketplace. When you’re guiding the conversations rather than simply following them, people want to listen and be a part of the community you’re creating. Originally created feature articles for your website are therefore the key to establishing your brand as the thought leaders within the industry. No matter what size your business is, you’ll be able to make waves, build lasting relationships, and stay at the top.