The Basics of Content Marketing in 2019?
Whether you are just beginning your online marketing journey or you are looking for ways to improve your current efforts, content marketing should be one of your top priorities. You may have heard of newer, sexier “updates” to online marketing strategy like AI or machine learning, but all of this new martech is still based off of one core element – great content.
Let’s take a look at what content marketing is and how you can use it to the benefit of your business.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a form of marketing that is usually dedicated to the online space. Any action that is focused on the creation, publication and distribution of content for a targeted audience can qualify as content marketing. It is used for many marketing purposes, including lead generation, customer loyalty and expansion, improving sales, increasing brand awareness and engaging an online community.
In most cases, content marketing is free. However, it attracts prospects and creates conversions through adding value to the end user. Value can be defined as any information that an end user considers important, timely and relevant to a problem.
In short, content marketing is really about value. Through adding value, companies can build a brand and create a willingness to purchase without the need to use direct sales, a strategy that is losing its power in new generations of consumers. Instead, content marketing that adds value builds more long-term relationships through rapport.
Content marketing is different from other kinds of online marketing because it anticipates consumer needs. It does not attempt to create a demand for a product – rather, it simply informs users about information they may be interested in. In most cases, the company provides a product that corresponds to a solution that is mentioned in the content.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing remains important in 2019 because it is one of the main ways to sell indirectly to a targeted audience. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to gain search ranking in Google and the other major search engines. It is also a very effective way to continuously engage an audience, creating a loyal customer base from which customers can be lifted.
Content marketing is also very important for businesses to consider because it is so prevalent through all industries. Its popularity means that new content is always being created. Companies that do not pay attention to content marketing will find themselves losing online visibility.
Most marketing experts also love content marketing because it is quite cost-effective. Compared to other types of marketing and advertising, the creation of content can be done at scale for a relatively small per unit price. If it properly adds value, it does not fall victim to the rate of diminishing returns that usually date most other marketing efforts. Good content can be updated and continue to raise the profile of a website for many years after its initial publication.
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing works in a twofold way – attracting human visitors and search engine spiders. In order to attract these two “audiences,” content must be timely and relative. The popularity of content with either audience depends on its relevance with the other.
The major search engines index webpages based on content. Matt Cutts, lead digital marketer at Google has explained in blogs that its algorithms are being programmed to imitate how humans perceive online content. This means that old-school strategies like keyword stuffing and bait and switch no longer work. If your content does not appeal to a human visitor, then it will not appeal to the major search engines, either. Why is this important? Google and the other major search engines control anywhere from 70 to 90% of online traffic. Use visibility here, then you may as well not even be on the Internet.
However, it is important to ensure that your content appeals to a strictly human audience as well. The major search engines look at many variables when considering how relevant content is for its search rankings. A few of the more important metrics that it considers is the bounce rate, length of time on page and total time on site. Basically, if Google sees that people are clicking away from your content very quickly, they will reduce its visibility over time.
How to create a content marketing strategy
The best content marketing strategy relies on good writing. There is no advantage to keyword stuffing or any other sort of grey hat writing techniques anymore. It is also very important that your content is original. If it is found to copy other online content, then it will be punished through lower visibility.
There are many free online tools to ensure that your content is fully optimised. For instance, Copyscape helps to ensure that your content is not unknowingly copying any other online content. You can also check grammar and spelling through Grammarly, which is another important way to ensure that your content gains maximum visibility (the major search engines consider badly worded content as potential spam and will punish it).
A great content marketing strategy also has a dedication to a target audience. This is where initial research into your audience comes in handy. You need to know who you’re marketing to, as it will affect the type of content that goes into your website. Depending on your audience, you will incorporate different keywords, talk about different things and consider certain topics more than others. If you correctly monitor the needs of your audience, then you will find that your website stats will improve. Over time, this will improve your site’s search ranking.
Once you have a vision for your audience and dedication for great writing, you can begin to use the newer martech to your advantage. For instance, AI-driven lead generation efforts will only help if you have an idea of who your audience is and how to properly segment it.
Machine learning will only help you if the initial data on your audience is somewhat precise. Try to stay away from article spinners – they do not yet have the veracity to create more content for you in a timely manner that will appeal to the major search engines. Stick to professionals with expertise in writing online content.
The content marketing best practices above will keep your business flying in 2019. Although the particulars may vary depending on your industry, the basics of digital marketing will always be the same. Never forget the basics of content marketing, and always look to expand on your ability to create more value in the lives of your customers through it.