It’s a broad term, so let’s unpack the idea a bit…
Content Marketing: What is it?
Content Marketing is a strategy that involves the creation and sharing of various forms of media–blog posts, infographics, news, video, eBooks, case studies, how-to guides, etc., etc.–in order to acquire customers. Content, writ large, is everything that people on the Web consume.
Content Marketing isn’t typically a sales pitch, it usually answers questions, discusses topics, and generally informs an audience in a compelling way. The kind of content used in this marketing strategy is designed to provide some value to the consumer, other than hawking the direct benefits of your product or service. If you don’t have a comprehensive content marketing plan, you need to get one. It’s really that simple.
Done properly, content marketing can condition an audience, build traffic, increase brand loyalty, enhance SERP rankings, and drive sales.
Content Marketing: By the Numbers
The phrase, “Content is King” is frequently uttered in digital marketing circles, and it’s a trope that’s only increasing in truth. To give you some idea of content marketing’s power, consider these eye-poppers:
- $118.4 Billion will be spent on content marketing in 2013 (eMarketer)
- Marketers spend 25% of budgets on content marketing (B2B Marketing Insider)
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing (Content Marketing Institute)
- 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing (Content Marketing Institute)
And those numbers just scratch the surface.
The Web is an unfathomably huge ocean of content creators and consumers; a vast, networked population that produces, views, and shares online content of every variety. Every story, picture, meme, Facebook post, you name it, right down to the individual tweet–it’s all content and it’s growing every day.
Businesses of all sizes use Content Marketing
The rise of mobile devices has put content in every pocket, and with it, the ability to reach out to, and interact with, your customer base. In the digital world, content marketing has become a dominant form of online advertising for businesses both large and small.
Think your small business is too small to make a dedicated effort at content marketing? You’ve got it exactly backward!
- Companies with fewer than 10 employees spend 42% of their marketing budget on content, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Content marketing is often just the thing that gives a small business a chance to compete at a higher level.
Content Marketing & SEO
Content should, of course, engage your intended audience; get them talking, sharing, contributing, and ultimately evangelizing on behalf of your brand. But content marketing also serves a distinct SEO purpose, as well.
Join your content marketing plan to your SEO strategy–they’re two sides of the same coin. Let specific keywords for which you want to rank help to determine your editorial or content schedule.
By producing content that speaks within the language your customers are using, you not only become part of the conversation, you eventually begin leading it.
The moment content is created, it begins its life-cycle–growing in richness and search relevance, if managed and updated properly. With each new piece of quality content you publish, not only does the content itself get indexed by search engines, it begins to train the search engines on what your site is all about and what you offer.
If you’ve ever wondered why certain sites succeed and others fail, it’s a good bet that good content (or the lack thereof) is the reason. Blackhat SEO types are always trying to find tricks to work around content creation, but stocking a site with quality, keyword-rich content is how SEO is done right, and how it withstands the test of time (read: changes to the Google ranking algorithm).
Search engines are, by nature, content brokers for search users. They’re going to return the most relevant results to searchers based on their query. Produce high quality, relevant content according to an SEO-focused schedule and you’ll see marked improvement in SERP rankings, Web traffic, and ultimately sales.