Why Content Marketing Needs to Be a Top Priority for Your Business
Two of the biggest challenges facing any business in the modern digital landscape are:
1) Establishing trust and authority as an expert to your audience
2) Proving to Google that you’re the #1 site for your top keywords
Each of those challenges on their own can seem to be quite daunting, let alone when you try to tackle them both at the same time. However, there is one digital marketing discipline that provides substantial benefits to your business by effectively influencing your customers AND raising your visibility in search engines. It’s called ‘content marketing’, and as you may have heard, CONTENT IS KING.
What is content marketing?
In simplest terms, content marketing is the process of producing informative materials that are valuable to your target audience, presenting these materials in formats that are desirable by your target audience, and distributing these materials in channels where your audience wants to see them.
If you just read that and thought, ‘well, I’m doing that already!’, you’re probably right. Businesses of all types are producing digital content in hopes of attracting visitors, influencing their opinions, and turning them into paying customers. For instance, things like blog articles and social media posts are examples of content marketing.
However, is your business pursuing these efforts with a well-planned strategy, informed by data, and designed to produce a measurable, tangible impact with your audience? Will your content provide a boost to your search engine rankings and raise the profile of your social media accounts?
If those questions give you even the slightest pause, then it’s definitely time to take a closer look at what content marketing can really mean for the success of your business.
What are the business benefits of content marketing?
One of the biggest benefits that content marketing offers is the ability to significantly improve your search engine rankings. Search engines like Google love content, and the more of it you have, the better. But it’s not just the volume of content your site has that Google’s algorithm looks at. It also examines the quality of your content, the freshness of it, and the external signals that point back to your content, such as social media shares and backlinks. This means that content is critical to getting found in search engines.
Plus, content offers you the ability to precisely target long-tail search queries that you may not be currently ranking for. To illustrate this, let’s think about the basic search query of ‘health food’. If your business sells health food, you have probably been working to optimize your site for that phrase and other simple variants such as ‘healthy food’ or ‘health food store’. By creating content such as blog posts or buyer’s guides that feature those types of keywords in longer phrases, such as ‘healthy foods to bring to a bbq’ or ‘top health food products of 2020’, you’ll not only be boosting your authority around the base keywords, but your site will also start to rank for those more specific types of searches.
This is important to keep in mind as long-tail search queries often have much stronger intent behind them, since those users are looking to answer a specific question or look for a very particular piece of information. Crafting content to directly target those types of long-tail search queries will give your site more weight in search engines around your core keywords as well as draw in additional high-intent traffic.
In addition, content helps your SEO via social media by giving you the assets you need to create high-value social posts that are far more likely to generate engagement from your audience, including likes, comments, shares, and clicks back to your site. Search engine algorithms factor in this activity to give more authority to content that has high levels of engagement. The more valuable and engaging your content is, the more your content will take flight in social media channels to generate greater authority for search engines.
Trust & Credibility
Providing solutions to problems, answers to questions, and clarity among confusion is how you establish the trust and credibility your business needs to turn a website visitor into a paying customer. Content marketing does exactly those things by delivering the valuable information visitors are hunting for around specific topics. If your answers are solid, your solutions are effective, and your clarity easy to understand, then you’ll become a trusted source of credible information among your audience.
This is why it’s critical to create content with the user in mind. Self-serving content that doesn’t deliver value to the user, and merely aims to drive them to sales pages, won’t convey the trust and credibility needed to effectively influence their opinion of your business. However, if you craft your content to deliver real utility to the user, such as a how-to video, helpful blog post, or informative infographic, you’ll discover that your content is far more impactful in all respects.
Social Media Presence
Success in social media hinges on how interesting, entertaining, or valuable your content is. You’ll only go so far in generating engagement and activity in social media by posting links to your product pages or pushing out your latest promotion. Content marketing helps boost your social media presence by giving you the high-value assets you need to produce social media posts that give users a real reason to pause their scrolling and check out your latest update.
Furthermore, the more value you provide, the greater the likelihood that your post will gain enough traction to be shared and distributed by your audience across social media. With each share your content receives, it becomes distributed to an increasingly larger audience, like a snowball rolling downhill.
The most valuable content also has a habit of finding its way into other social channels as well. For example, if you share an exceptionally helpful blog post on Facebook, your audience may choose to take that post and put it on their Pinterest boards, or share it to their Twitter audience. Great content has the ability to reach far and wide, and go beyond the social media channels that your business uses directly and extend into others that are used by your audience.
One of the most overlooked benefits of content marketing is the ability to assist your customer service team, and even take some of the pressure off of them by providing helpful resources that customers can use independently to solve common problems without the need of calling or emailing to find the required solutions. For example, video tutorials are a great way of providing valuable information in an easy-to-digest format that is accessible and available 24/7, long after your customer service team has logged off.
As you can clearly see, the benefits that content marketing has to offer are quite powerful. Any one of these on their own would be enough reason to pull together a robust content marketing strategy, and this isn’t even a complete list. Content marketing also offers benefits to businesses in the form of more impactful email messaging, materials your sales team can use for lead nurturing, and greater brand awareness, among many more.
So, now that you’re eager to apply these benefits to your business, what kinds of content should you produce, and where should you produce them? Let’s answer those questions.
How can I figure out what content to produce?
There are several types of content that are common in content marketing plans that businesses can select from, based on the needs of their audience and the nature of the information being presented.
Written content can come in many shapes and sizes, from short daily tips and helpful tricks, to long-form articles and white papers. Written content is unique in its ability to convey massive amounts of detail in a format that is universally compatible among devices, and can also be effectively reproduced in hard copy formats.
Some common examples of written content include blog posts, articles, how-to guides, case studies, testimonials, troubleshooting guides, white papers, tips and tricks compilations, interviews, news, and statistics roundups. While this is not a comprehensive list, you can see how varied written content can be. It can even take the form of a single-sentence social media post if the message is particularly powerful or relevant.
We believe that written content should be viewed as the foundation of all content marketing, as it offers the greatest impact to SEO and has the ability to include extensive detail in a highly accessible format.
Visual appeal is extremely important in making your content engaging, and can be critical in providing additional context to make your written content even more effective. Image-based content comes in many varieties, such as artistic photography, illustrations, infographics, image galleries, memes, screenshots, and more. Image-based content has the advantage of being much quicker to absorb than written content, and can often gain traction more rapidly in social media because of this.
Image-based content holds great power when combined with written content, as they both lend additional benefits and extend the value beyond what each format would be capable of providing on their own.
An extremely powerful type of content, and also the most difficult to produce, video content offers many advantages over written content and image-based content. Video content excels at providing guidance and instruction, such as in how-to videos and tutorials. Video also offers the most entertainment value for users, as it combines image-based content and written content along with sound and movement to provide a richer sensory experience.
Video content marketing, particularly on YouTube, carries a lot of SEO weight. As the second-largest search engine in the world, behind Google itself, YouTube is an essential channel for video content marketing that cannot be ignored. In fact, we recommend you explore this Guide to YouTube Video Marketing from Search Engine Watch. It provides a great deal of in-depth information on what you need to know to achieve success on YouTube.
Video content comes in all different lengths, from short clips intended to entertain and elicit engagement, to in-depth productions that deliver education and instruction. Thanks to the attention-grabbing nature of video content, it’s becoming a major element of many businesses’ marketing plans, and is increasing in popularity every day.
A big factor that has helped accelerate the surge in video content marketing is the widespread presence of mobile smartphone devices among consumers of all demographics. These devices make it easy to access and consume engaging video content anywhere, at any time.
Leverage a Content Calendar
One of the most powerful ways to enhance the content marketing for any business is to implement a content calendar. These simple but valuable tools make it easy to plan content out for maximum impact, and align the production of content with other important aspects of your business. Content calendars provide an at-a-glance view of what’s coming up, as well as opportunities where you may want to schedule specific content assets to provide synergy with other marketing campaigns and events.
You can also use content calendars to help diversify your content assets and avoid being too repetitive. There are so many different types of content that your business can produce, it can be beneficial to work in a variety of formats and styles of content to keep your audience engaged. For more examples of the countless types of content you could plug in to your content calendar, CoSchedule has produced a fantastic list of 113 different marketing content assets to consider.
Getting Started with a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy
For businesses that have yet to adopt a structured content marketing strategy, it can be difficult to determine exactly where to begin, given all the available content types and platforms to choose from. Whether you’re interested in starting a blog, repurposing existing content into other formats, or putting forth a robust video content campaign, WMT’s team of content marketing experts can help guide your business to success.
We can help you formulate your overall content strategy, select the most effective content types, pull together a comprehensive content calendar, setup social media channels for distribution and engagement of your valuable content assets, and aid in any other aspect of your content marketing approach.
Your business needs content marketing to raise your SEO presence, engage your social media audiences, and drive more conversions through your website. Get started today and contact WMT to help you leverage this critical marketing strategy the right way from the very beginning.
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