You’ve landed on this page, so I’m assuming you’ve heard that having plenty of content on your site can greatly benefit your business. You may have grumbled to yourself, “I don’t have time to make a blog! How is this going to help my business, anyhow??” Whether you have a new or existing business, having great, quality content on your site can help boost traffic, social following, and ultimately sales. How can a simple blog do all of that? Let’s look at it from the user’s perspective.
Let’s say you’re just browsing the web, perhaps you’re looking for some information on how neon signs work, but you’re not particularly interested in purchasing a neon sign. Would you rather read an article about how neon signs work or how great the neon signs are from a particular store? You probably want an article that gives you the information you’re looking for, right? And if that article happens to be on a website that sells neon signs, like this infographic, then that website will instantly be more appealing. And if the information is REALLY good, you may browse around the store to see what products they offer. See? You’re almost a customer.
Okay, so now that you can see how users perceive great content, let’s look at it from a marketing angle. First of all, what is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable and relevant content that is consistent with the interests of target audiences.
Sounds good, right? But how does it work?
Benjamin Taylor, on iMedia Connection, said it well: “Engaging a customer works exactly the same as every other human interaction. First you need them to notice you, and then to be interested in you, and then to engage with you.” Creating quality, interesting content will generate that customer interest in your company. Unfortunately, this step often gets ignored, and too often, businesses use their blogs to push their products instead of creating meaningful content for their customers.
There’s a reason why people like me don’t enjoy being “marketed to.” If you want me to care about your product, you have to give me something in return - a visually appealing, useful infographic, or a how-to article. Engage me; pique my interest; your advertisements can’t do all the work.
Another complaint I usually hear about content is that it will take too much time and money. Thinking this way will only harm your business. The great thing about content, especially quality, “evergreen” content, is that it continues to work long after the post is published - sometimes years after. HubSpot, an inbound marketing company, recently conducted a study on the effectiveness of their own blog posts. They found that 70% of their traffic came from posts that were months old, sometimes even years. Why? Because they not only had a full blog built up with lots of content, they filled their blog with a ton of GREAT, relevant content for their users.
So maybe you’re wondering how users find all of this old content; that’s where Google comes in. Each blog post you publish creates a new, unique page on your site that will be indexed and ranked by Google. This is why it’s so important to write quality, original content that has a better chance of ranking high for particular keywords. Sometimes you’ll have keywords that you are specifically targeting, but often your posts will rank for other key phrases. The higher your post ranks for a particular keyword, the more likely a potential customer is to click on the link - that’s why so many people want their website pages to be on page one (high ranking) in a Google search. I love this because it draws potential customers to your site who aren’t necessarily looking for your product.
Let’s look at an example of this, so you can see what I’m talking about. If you do a Google search for the keyword “country wedding venues” the first result is “Best Country Wedding Venues.” Can you guess what website it’s on? CamoRingsDirect.com, a website that sells camouflage wedding and engagement rings. There’s some correlation between wedding venues and wedding rings, obviously, but the wedding venue post isn’t trying to push a product. It’s just a useful, relevant list post for users who are looking for a wedding venue. And if the users like the post, then they might check out the collection of rings and, hopefully, make a purchase.
Okay, so now you know why content matters, but how does good content help? Having good content on your site will set your site apart from the mass of poorly written “filler” content that has filled the web. Most people don’t spend enough time creating their content, so you can imagine how a well-written and researched article will look to users. Quality content will establish you as an authority for your audience, and if you’re an authority, users will believe in the quality of your products.
We’ll talk about content strategies and Google ranking more in the next post.