Anyone who knows anything about digital marketing knows SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is pivotal for a website to succeed.

No matter how interesting or cutting edge your website is, if it isn’t compatible with Google’s criteria it will be extremely hard for your website to achieve a good position ranking within the search engines.

10 years ago it was perfectly acceptable to keyword stuff and post your website link in bloggers comments. However now days the importance of content marketing is becoming more apparent.

The term content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing which is focussed on creating and distributing relevant, valuable and consistent content which attracts and retains a specific audience.

This will ultimately drive an action from the customer which will be profitable to the business or organisation.

The beginning of content marketing

We have always known content was important, however in recent years Google have been focussing more and more on content marketing.

Having interesting and unique content is one of Google’s key considerations when it comes to page rankings.

Google Panda

The biggest step towards content marketing becoming a key activity was the introduction of the Google Panda algorithm in 2011. 

Panda filters through website content and stops sites with poor or plagiarised content from getting to the top of Google’s search results.

For the most recent Google Panda changes check out our Panda Watch blog.

The Google Knowledge Graph

In 2012 the Google Knowledge Graph was introduced, this helps enhance the search results by taking into account information gathered from a variety of different sources. This includes social media and website blogs.

This change made it all the more important for businesses to be constantly building their social media and blog pages out with high quality, accurate content.

By the end of 2014 it was reported that 80% of brands used social media marketing and 75% of organisations use blogging so the ripple effect of these changes at Google can be clearly measured.

Google Pigeon

The next big change was the introduction of the Google Pigeon algorithm in 2014, this was the first algorithm change set in place by Google which targeted local search results and queries.

Sometimes users were wanting to find local businesses rather than businesses countrywide so this algorithm allowed Google to rank websites within a certain geographical area.

Localised content generates more engagement with local searchers. By the end of 2014 63% of marketers were starting to spend more budget on local content marketing.

Why Mobile Friendly Content Matters

2015 was the year of mobile-friendly website content.

Over the course of 2015 we saw a shift in where users were browsing Google from, by the end of 2015 over 51% of Google searches were made from a mobile device.

There has been a marked change in people’s use of mobile phone, meaning that content marketing needs to change too.

Websites need to be responsive, they also need to have easily readable content, for example there should be easily discernible paragraphs, sub headings and pictures to break up the text. 

To learn more about how to write content for a mobile audience see our blog post: 5 Tips on Writing for a Mobile Audience.

The five main reasons why content marketing is important

1. With Google, content is king.

We know there are a number of factors Google takes into account when finalising the SERP rankings and content is becoming increasingly important. Years ago having lots of links was a great way to boost your search rankings but Google has waged a war on link networks in the UK and abroad. To create sustainable and long-lasting high search rankings having good content is key. It’s a great way to procure safe and powerful links. By using off-site content marketing and on-site blog/case study writing companies can gain links by promoting the high quality content they create and post.

2. On social, content is king.

You’ve created a twitter account and steadily built up a stream of local followers. Only posting self-servicing sales tweets would be a great way to irritate and lose followers and engagement, adding new content is a great way to interact with users who are interested in your brand. Social sharing of your blog posts means the reach will be a lot further and could increase click-through-rates and engagement which may result in increased sales. Creating “top 10’s” or “how-to’s” is a good way to attract customers who may not have previously heard of your brand. Studies have shown that 48% of consumers will check a brands social media account before making a purchase, if they see that you are interested in your customers and aim to provide great service across all outlets they will be more likely to interact and buy from your brand. 

3. To consumers, content is king.

Creating regular content is a proven way to engage your customers, they will begin to view your brand as an ever learning and evolving business. If a customer visits a website and the last posted article/blog was from 6 months ago it looks as though the website is rarely updated and that the business is uncaring and not on top of things. A blog can also be a sales tactics, specific products can be recommended or reviews of products can be added.

4.  For email marketing, content is king.

Let’s be honest, it would be very difficult to run a successful email marketing campaign without high quality content. Sending out company newsletters with links to recent blogs can be a great way to engage with current or potential customers, this is also a great way to establish yourself as an industry expert as you can include guides and tips. Instead of pushing products why not link to a product review blog on the product you want to sell?

5. For PR, content is king.

Within digital marketing PR can mean press relations or press releases. Press releases are an easy way to communicate with journalists and get your brand known by the wider public, you may also acquire links from news sites or bloggers depending on where you send your press releases too. Content marketing through PR can help you target a specific audience, for example if you have a fashion label and a celebrity creates a range of clothing for you, you could send a press release to a range of fashion blogger. Those bloggers may discuss the new items of clothing and the users reading those blogs are your target demographic.

Different types of content marketing to include on your website:

Blog Posts Blogs are the perfect way to add extra content to your website. An average blog should be between 300-600 words however, varying the length of blog posts will attract more people. A more in-depth blog may need to be up to 2000 words in order to convey all of the information you need to. 

TIP: Use images and video to vary the experience and Google likes it too.

Infographics An infographic is a presentation of data into a visual picture or image. This can allow people who are visual learners to digest information in another format, it can turn dry or boring date into something visually appealing. Infographics are three times more likely to be shared on social media than other content.

TIP: Include links to authority sources to give your infographic credibility and maybe get a share from them.

Memes They’re visual, they’re interesting and they’re funny. Adding humour to your content can sometimes be difficult as it’s often inappropriate, however memes are a fun way to engage with users on a different, more casual level.

TIP: Use original photos, always have your URL on them and keep a gallery on your site that others can take a meme from.

Videos A great way to freshen up your content is through videos, they can be posted on your YouTube channel, social media accounts or in blogs and emails. There are a lot of ways to utilise videos, you could offer a tour of your office, meet new staff, interviews and new product highlights.

TIP: Get transcripts and use them as blogposts.

Guides Writing guides is not only a great way to establish yourself as an industry expert but it’s also a fairly long piece of content which is great for SEO purposes. Advanced guides are very popular among users as they of often information rich, pairing this with attractive visuals and an easy to read layout you may find your page views double.

TIP: Break these up into parts and send them out as an email series using an Autoresponder.

Product Reviews A product review can establish authority and leadership in your industry. Each industry is unique, you may want to review your own products and give examples of its unique selling points and how it can be used.

TIP: You could also review your suppliers and manufacturers, if these are positive reviews they may share them on their own social channels.

Opinion post The main difference with adding an opinion post is the tone of the writing, this is written from your point of view with your ideas in it. However, this still needs to be a well-researched piece of writing, if it becomes a rant where you only skin the surface of a topic customers will not want to continue reading.

TIP: Include quotes from other thought leaders and let them know.

How-to’s This is one of the most popular types of content, identify a common problem within your industry and then write an easy to read expert guide on how to solve the problem. For example, if you work in social media write a how-to of how to create a twitter advert, always keep it relevant.  

TIP: Create a video version or slideshow for broader reach.

Lists Lists are always appealing to users, examples would be “17 top tips on . . “ or “6 ways to . . “. Pick your topic and pick a number, lists are easy to write and easy to read so everyone’s a winner.

Case study A case study explains the product or service you offer and how it has helped a client. A good case study explains the challenges you faced, how you overcame them and then shows clear results. Finish with a call to action. This is a great sales technique as it doesn’t feel like you are trying to sell.

TIP: Always use specific numbers when sharing data as it is perceived as more truthful. 

Podcast Though podcast popularity has dwindled they’re still a good way to get your content heard. Many people still listen to podcasts on the move or at the gym so there is a market there. You can announce the release of a podcast on your blog and social and even ad a copy of the transcript to your blog to help improve SEO.

TIP: Get transcripts of your podcasts and turn them into blog posts.

Interview If you are able to invite a leader in your sector for an interview it’s a great idea to document it. Interviews are unique and it’s your chance to get some information that nobody else has. Make sure to do your preparation so that you are not asking questions others have already found the answers too.

TIP: Be sure to get an invite to their next piece.

E-books and White papers When you have enough high quality content on your blog you can turn it into an E-book or white paper. This is a brilliant tool to get users to sign up to your email newsletter, you could ask for their email address before they are able to download your content. You already know they are interested in the product or service you provide so they are likely to become a customer in the future.

TIP: List it for free on Kindle for 90 days.

Research and Original data In the majority of business sectors data and metrics are of upmost importance, sharing your unique findings with others is a good way to drive traffic, establish trust and establish your authority. Do your research then share it with the business community.

TIP: Use social media to garner data quickly (e.g. Facebook groups, LinkedIn etc.)

Data analysis Analyse current data and draw well thought out conclusions. You may be able to offer insight into data others within your industry have overlooked.

TIP: Let the source know you have used the data and you might get a link to your piece.

News articles You can create news articles about anything, changes within your company, changes within your industry or wider news stories that you feel may affect your industry/business. Anything that interests you and your business will probably interest those regularly reading your blog.

Tip: Use tools like Buzzsumo to discover trending content and do a round -up of the best pieces.

The future of content marketing

Over the last five years we have seen a huge shift in Google’s attitude towards content marketing, it is becoming increasingly important.

The main shift has been towards companies becoming publishers or working with agencies that specialise in content marketing.

We have begun to see companies using more strategic marketing implementation plans, more content is posted online daily so content has needed to become more relevant. Simply posting content is no longer enough, content needs to be relevant, interesting and off value to those reading it.

Content consistency has also become more important, companies need to present themselves as a brand and all of the content produced needs to be in keeping with this brand image. There is no “one size fits all” approach to content marketing however, audiences have higher expectations of brands when it comes to content. Savvy content marketers will view this as an opportunity, if your content is to a higher standard than others in the same industry as you you’re at a massive advantage.

Businesses have now realised they need to continuously keep a consistent presence across the networks most relevant to their audience in order to encourage as much engagement as possible. For example if your favourite clothing brand has no Instagram or twitter they’d be missing out on free advertising to show off their newest collection.

For more information about how we can help with your content marketing contact us.

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