A few years ago many believed that publishing was dead. Major newspapers and magazines saw their circulation numbers drop. And it is true that many of them have needed to reinvent themselves to adapt to a digital world and new models to distribute and monetise their content. But today publishing is flourishing. Barriers to entry are low and as a result more content is generated and published today than ever before. Smart and easy to use blogging platforms like WordPress and Medium have created a level playing field for individuals, as well as small and large businesses to publish and distribute content. Here is why every company needs to be in content creation and content marketing.
Content creates customer value
Relevant and authoritative content creates value for customers, and therefore a reason for them to come to your site other than to make a purchase. I have written about the buying journey before. Content captures attention and interest, the initial stages of the purchasing cycle. Relying on consumers to visit a website only when they are prepared to buy is missing a trick. Content of value to customers creates another motivation to visit and have affinity for your brand.
Large, established businesses continue to underinvest in content. I believe there are two reasons for this. First, it is hard to scale content creation; it’s a job that cannot be automated. And second, a rise in content-generated inbound traffic can mean a drop in conversion rate. Product teams are typically expected to increase conversion rates, so acquiring higher amounts of ‘low-converting traffic’ is counter productive to this metric. Of course looking at traffic this way is short-sighted as it doesn’t take into account the long-term value that content marketing provides the brand by attracting visitors who may not be ready to buy just yet but may do during a future visit. Because larger businesses remain weak in content creation and marketing, now there is an opportunity for smaller companies to compete.
Content is vital for organic search
Since Google released Panda back in 2011, it has been widely recognised that quality content is critical for organic search rankings. Some experts even claim that authoritative content is more important than SEO. But consumers are even harsher critics than Google. The more often people click on and view your content, the more you influence their personal search results, bringing you one step closer to winning more valuable customers. For companies wanting to increase organic traffic from search engines, developing a content strategy and investing in fresh and well-produced content that delivers value to their customers is essential.
Content powers social media
It’s stories that people share and engage with on social platforms. Images and specifications of your products can only entertain for so long. If your brand has no story to tell, or no purpose, it will be ignored. Organic reach is becoming harder and harder to achieve on Facebook since the social network took measures to demote overly promotional or spammy content. A good content marketing plan that creates impact puts images and text to work across Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms. Make sure that what you publish is truly valuable, worth seeing and reading, not just newsfeed schlock.
Content builds brands
With the growing popularity of performance marketing some businesses, particularly online, decided that building a brand no longer mattered. Continued emphasis on last-click attribution, or valuing only the last piece of content or ad touched before conversion, is proof of this pervasive belief. Conversely, in his book Do Purpose David Hieatt proposes that a brand is a story and that story needs to be told well. I couldn’t agree more. A great story, told in a truly compelling way, is exciting and engaging. Stories create emotional ties with consumers, which can create long-term value for a business. And according to recent research, 80% of consumers want brands to tell stories anyway. So get out there and tell yours.
Content provides reach
When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad? In 2016 more and more consumers have turned off to online advertising. The popularity of ad blockers has been growing rapidly and is at an all-time high. And it gets worse: in key e-commerce markets like the US and the UK, it’s the top earners who are most likely to use desktop ad blocking software. Whatever your opinion on the subject, it is clear that advertisers need to adapt. According to the IAB, the main reason that people block ads is because they find them interruptive. And herein lies the key: stop interrupting people and start providing them with content that is of value instead.
This article has been published with permission from its original source.