There are a lot of reasons to create online content. In this article I would like to discuss with you reasons why we create content and combine different approaches and tactics in using content for SEO & marketing strategies.
Traditional Marketing is Dying
Face it, because it is true. Consumers are experts at ignoring ads. Newspapers are dying. New technology lets users block ads. Online ads are also being ignored. Ads are widely considered as visual and mental garbage. The internet age has brought a new consciousness of self-educating consumers. Marketers have responded and the idea of Content Marketing, which has been around for some time now, has become prevalent with the world being driven by Social Media and Mobile Communications. Rejoice! -because Content Marketing is everyone’s friend! Unless your company’s product is so kick-ass it doesn’t need marketing, you have a large resource to dump on advertising, and you don’t want your business to grow.
Do you enjoy all those free mobile apps? 43% of B2C Marketers use mobile apps as a Content Marketing tactic. Content Marketing can (and I recommend that it should) work on all channels from blogging, Social Media, Mobile, Organic & Paid Search. What is the value of creating fantastically relevant, valuable, and engaging content if consumers can’t find it? One big mistake that I find small businesses doing is that they under value the importance of Inbound Marketing, or they think it is easy and can do it themselves. I lump people into three SEO categories:
- People who know SEO
- People who don’t know SEO
- People who think they know SEO, but really don’t.
Don’t waste your money on a strong Content Marketing team unless you have someone who really understands how to drive traffic, otherwise you will learn the hard way that a football team without a quarter back is like a bunch of kids playing soccer for the first time–no plan, no strategy, no game…just a bunch of people chasing after a ball.
The Buying Funnel
You want to reach your consumers on their buying cycles. PPC’ers have been using this marketing model for a while now. SEO experts also use it, or variations of it. Follow this link to get a better understanding of the Buying Funnel and how content creation can be aligned. The strategy is to align the right type of keywords in content marketing to the consumer’s buying cycle. The Buy Cycle, for instance, could use content that focuses keywords for local SEO, so that questions of where to buy is answered in a search. The word “value” is an interest and learning term and the word “cost” is a shopping and buying term; creating content around those parameters can set up alignments of rich and useful content for searchers on their buying cycles. Paid Search Experts also need to align ad-copy to the Buying Funnel process. Social Media gurus can find lots of success on the top of the funnel. With the bad rap that SEO practitioners have gotten over the years, it is great that there is a shift in the importance of quality content in terms of Content Marketing. I think the complexity of today’s Search Engines and Social Media, has brought more creative flexibility. Now SEO experts need to be creatively thinking about when classic link-building is needed versus content creation for content breadth & depth for any given keyword. SEO experts should have already done their competitive benchmarking research to identify content creation for keywords, then look at where it may fall in the funnel to shape and focus the content creation within a specific cycle. The best practice of course is relevant, valuable, and engaging content. The biggest and often hardest trick is getting the chain of command to see the value in Content Marketing, because great content comes with a price. Companies that don’t fully understand the value of content marketing will often give up in less than three months. A successful content marketing campaign will usually need six months of commitment before any ROI shows up. Some agencies will even think about reusing content–why? Because it is expensive to create great content. Duplicate content is bad right? Yes it is. Doesn’t original content get date stamped, thus later duplicating it will negate Google penalties? I believe this is true, but what then is the value of the duplicate? You will get no value on the duplicate and you also run the risk of devaluing the original if Google decides to change it’s algorithm. Remember that relevant, unique and rich content is what users are looking for–Google knows this and encourages this. Google also understands that great content is hard and costly to make. Keep this in mind when you look into the gray areas of SEO.
What are your experiences with Content Marketing from your various disciplines? Have you come into difficulties getting people on board with the topic? Success and failures? Please share!