You may have heard of ‘content marketing’ but you’re not 100% sure you know what the term actually means. Here are some thoughts which I hope you find useful. I offer this as a simple definition:
Content marketing is about making your web presence work for your business.
Think about how far the web has come in 20 years. In 1996, when I first ‘got on’ the Internet, websites weren’t much more than online brochures. You went on the Internet, you called stuff up, you viewed it, you got off the Internet.
And that’s how it was with ‘getting your business online’ too. You put things up for other people to see and read. But then, if you had a business website, how could you ensure it was found by the people you wanted to sell to?
Thus began the Search Engine Optimisation dance. Website owners crammed keywords into sites to get high rankings, search engines refined algorithms to reward relevant content and penalise those gaming the system.
And so, relevant content has become increasingly important – from two perspectives. Firstly to attract targeted visitors via search engines – Google loves good content. And secondly to sell to those visitors by offering interest and value.
What makes up ‘good content’?
Among other things, it’s: articles, updates, infographics, blog posts, podcasts, news items, videos, surveys… All kinds of material, in fact, that offers value to a target market and grows relationships with prospects.
Quality content can do selling for you
The buying process is about identifying a need, then researching the market and individual suppliers.
Effective content marketing can do the research step for your prospects and create such value that you, as demonstrated expert, are presented as the obvious choice.
In the old days, most websites were kind of inanimate. Today, a good website will have a life of its own own.
So we must feed them quality, relevant content which can be shared with interested visitors. (The junk food/unhealthy analogy works here too.)
Consider the word ‘website’. It’s about a site, or one place on the web. But today we must think more broadly and go beyond the idea of an online business as a place or corner of the Internet.
We have to see it as more of a connected presence enabling the free flow of online traffic. Thus content marketing is about far more than a website on its own. It’s about a complete web presence – which incorporates social media in all its forms.
Clients and prospects often ask me about connecting with prospects on various online platforms. Do I really have to be on this one or that one? The answer, of course, always varies according to the individual business.
Here’s another interesting comparison between then and now. Traditional advertising – hard sell and soft sell – was kind of thrust at us. The ‘hard sell’ school was – ‘hit ’em over the head with it till they take action’. I guess that must have worked sometimes.
The ‘soft sell’ created ads that consumers had more chance of liking and actively embracing. And that’s what good content marketing does – it gives people the kind of thing they will be actively shopping for.
This is how businesses worldwide are benefitting from content marketing. And it’s how you could and should be benefitting too.
Best Words can help you with all aspects of content creation – from copywriting for articles, blog & news posts to video production and web development – so call us at any time if you’d like to discuss how we can help with your content marketing.