Content marketing is changing the face of SEO. It is a new way to attract an audience, draw their attention to a brand and place them on the path to becoming loyal customers. Content marketing takes advantage of information about how to sway an audience with detailed knowledge of the way Google ranks content pages to maximize both the amount of viewers that a page gets and the chance that the viewers become customers.
The key idea of content marketing is that rather than trying to write a sales pitch to sell a specific brand, marketers should instead write valuable, informative content that is related to the brand, without a hard pitch for the brand embedded in the text. This is more useful to draw in readers because most readers reject sales pitches, in the same way that they skip or ignore video and audio ads. However, providing interesting content both builds the brand’s goodwill among the audience and subtly emphasizes the ways the brand’s products can help the reader.
It is important that the content is genuinely valuable. Google’s search-ranking algorithm rewards websites that appear to contain useful and trusted content and punishes sites that have spam, gibberish or content that others do not value. One of the most important ways that Google determines the value of a page’s content is through linkbacks. Google tracks how many times other pages link to the target page. But quality matters even more than quantity. Google would rather see one link from a trusted source than many from unknown sources.
Content marketing is thus the production of valuable content that earns many linkbacks and which is related to the brand’s products or services without containing an explicit sales pitch. This content is optimized to raise the host page’s appearance on Google searches, from a mechanical perspective, and also is meant to build an audience that is interested in reading the content. A good advertising agency understands how to make use of content marketing to turn readers into customers.
Kinds of Content
There are several different kinds of content that are well-suited for content marketing. White papers are the most explicit of these in terms of being marketing documents. A white paper is meant to describe a product or service and its advantages. While this strays a little from the spirit of content marketing, white papers are primarily informational — they are meant to provide the details of a product to people who did not know that information before, rather than using marketing language to dress up a product and make it more appealing. White papers tend to be technical as well as informational because they are mostly used in business-to-business advertising. In B2B, the emotive techniques of consumer marketing are less useful than actual information about the product.
Ebooks are another common content marketing format. A well-produced ebook can take advantage of modern publishing tools. They tend to be more interesting from a visual perspective than white papers, which makes them more appealing to potential readers. Ebooks are also easy to adapt for mobile devices, so that they can reach as wide an audience as possible. Ebooks tend to be lighter than white papers, in that their content is less technical, but the aim is still similar — provide information about a product or related to a product in a way that aligns with the brand. Ebooks are a different approach to content marketing, but their role is similar to white papers. Any company considering using ebooks needs to be careful about their choice of publisher. Some publishers insert ads into ebooks, while others don’t index the content, so it will not appear in Google searches.
Case studies seek to provide factual information about a product or service by explaining how other people or companies have found it useful. Case studies illustrate the value of the brand through showing its value in a real-world application. The marketer in this case tries to provide examples of how the product was able to help real clients in the hopes that readers or viewers who are similar to the companies in those case studies will decide that they can benefit from the product in the same way as the featured company. The case study provides evidence of the way the brand adds value to its clients. This is different from a paid testimonial or similar form of marketing — it is based on real outcomes that actual product buyers experienced, and case studies have detailed information about how and why the brand was able to add value for the user in question.
Infographics are a quirky form of content marketing. They use a visual and stylized presentation to make the content more interesting to read. Infographics often combine stats and facts with visual cues that make the data easier to absorb and internalize. They tend to be shorter than other kinds of content in content marketing, but their impact can be even greater. The visual medium allows infographics to leave a powerful impression on readers. In addition, infographics are also easy to share on social media or link to on blogs, which is a desirable trait in content marketing. The author can link to the graphic through social media, and readers can do the same thing. This makes it more likely that the infographic will propagate to larger audiences. The fact that infographics take less time to read means that people are more likely to click them and read them, compared to other formats.
How Content Marketing Helps SEO
The SEO game has changed. It is no longer sufficient to use technical design gimmicks or massed links to increase appearance on search rankings. Instead, marketers need to increase the quality of their content in order to place high. This has the additional effect of making readers more likely to stay on the page. Building an audience for content related to a brand is a powerful means of spreading awareness as well as guiding audience members through the process of becoming customers.
Content propagation and building links are the two most powerful means of spreading the message once it has been crystallized in the form of a content post. Once the content exists, it is necessary to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible in order to maximize the chances of developing leads.
Content marketing requires more effort and quality control than traditional SEO tools, but the rewards are richer. The main goal of any advertising agency should be not just to get customers in the door, but to build relationships with customers that lead to repeat business. Content marketing serves that goal by building up a pool of repeat viewers who gain exposure to content that is aligned with the brand. The system is designed to draw in loyal customers and spread its message through Internet mass media.
If you are interested in using content marketing, please get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you grow your business. Our specialties are in food, healthcare, energy and finance, but we are capable of working with clients in any industry.