The remarkable rise of content marketing is a direct reflection of a digital, globalized economy. As borders fall, clients, products, and services can come from anywhere. While this can be a boon for all types of business, it also means that competition is no longer local or even national. Your product is competing against products from all over the planet. Combine this enormous shift with the exponential multiplication of advertisements that we are exposed to, and it just might be harder than ever to market a business and obtain new clients.
Content marketing is a way to overcome this hurdle by building authority and trust between potential customers and a company. But it’s much more than that. Content marketing also serves to acquire new customers via the all important SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media channels. However, content marketing is not a solution in itself — the difference between optimized, high-quality content and empty, forced content is instantly recognizable. Taking extra time to provide high-quality written content take your business much further over the long run.
Content marketing for acquisition: the SEO angle
Content marketing is one of the best ways to draw attention to your site and business. Writing about relevant topics help interested people to find your blog, share your content, and eventually get to your product pages. But it’s not just about keywords and links, Google is focused on quality. Google wants to deliver high-quality results to people who search. The higher-quality the results, the more people will come back to use Google again for their next search. Google constantly updates its algorithm depending on what it determines is the most valuable and relevant content. The higher the quality, the more likely your site will show up on the all-important first page of search results. If you don’t create fresh, high-quality content, your site is essentially static, and will suffer by missing out on traffic.
This is where the importance of the written word comes in. YouTube’s enormous popularity is a testament to how marketable the video format can be for content marketing. However, videos are harder (and much more expensive) to produce than writing. Videos are also more difficult to consume, as certain situations prohibit be able to listen to the sound and poor connections can result in reduced quality and choppy buffering. Written content can be consumed almost anywhere you find a screen. Content marketers even recommend writing out the transcripts of videos on your pages to improve indexing and enable more people to benefit from that content when they can’t play the video.
Cultivating trust and authority
Becoming a thought leader in your field is one of the best ways to establish your authority. If everyone in your field looks to you for answers and advice, your potential customers will too. Again, just writing things and sharing them on the web is not enough. Anyone can write an article about anything after a quick visit to Wikipedia and copying and pasting from a few other sources. A true thought leader brings in-depth analysis and original information based on unique experiences. People can see through short, empty posts. The better the content you produce, the more people will respect you as a thought leader. This respect establishes trust, which shortens the bridge between interest and purchase among your future customers.
Be unique and original
One of the ways to differentiate yourself and your content marketing efforts is to find your unique voice. Like well-known authors, content marketers must hone their craft to produce one-of-a-kind content that stands out. Generic writing feels flat and is not recognizable. It gets lost almost immediately. Finding your voice boosts your content by ensuring that it’s not copied from somewhere else.
Just as important to writing in a unique voice is to find a unique angle for your topic. The ease of blogging and online publishing has caused a veritable tsunami of information. Chances are you will be writing about something that many other people have already written about. The challenge for the high-quality content marketer is to tackle a subject from a new point of view. Do your research. What’s already been said about this topic? Who said it? What’s something new that you can bring to the table?
Delivering valuable content, and getting people to read it
The best practice for producing high-quality content is to deliver value. Is the content that you are producing something that someone would be willing to pay for? Are you divulging useful, actionable information that not everyone has access to? Would you read what you wrote? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are on the right track. When people see you giving away content that has value, they become appreciative. They recognize the value and do what anyone would do, they share it! This is the viral effect – when content breaks out of your immediate networks and crosses into different networks. Low-quality content does not get shared, it does not get referenced highly by Google, and it certainly does not help you achieve your business goals.
All hail the headline
One of the most important aspects in creating high-quality content is the headline. According to KISSmetrics, 80% of people will read your headline, only 20% of people will read the content. The headline will determine who clicks on the article, especially as it is spread across social networks. The headline should reflect your original point of view on a subject, respect SEO guidelines, and inspire people to click. Spend at least enough time to come up with a few different headlines to see which one has the most pop.
Get writing now!
The sooner and faster that you get your best content out into the world, the greater the chance that your target audience is going to find it. Waiting only lets your competitors and everyone else producing content on the web to get ahead of you. The best time to start is right now.