Why Quality Content is Key
As far as your online business is concerned, quality content is the ultimate tool for generating organic and contextually relevant backlinks, attracting targeted traffic and ultimately increasing your organic search rankings for your target keywords.
Whether the goal of your site is to sell a product or service, increase subscriptions to your newsletter or generate qualified leads, it is critically important to get into the habit of publishing quality content that will help you get found on the web by your target audience.
Forms of Content Marketing
There are 2 main forms of content marketing.
- Creating and publishing articles on other websites with an editorial link back to your site from within the article. This is also known as content syndication or guest posting.
- Creating and publishing content on your own website, for other sites to link to.
When done right, both methods can be very effective at building your brand, increasing brand awareness, engaging your target audience and increasing your organic search ranking for the target keywords you’re using as the basis of your content marketing.
The best type of content to produce is evergreen because it is never outdated and gets people liking, sharing and commenting on your content – powerful social signals the search engines need to see to pay real attention to your online business.
Publishing topical content that is informative, useful and targeted to your niche will serve to increase your online visibility and position you as an authority or expert in your field. The better the content you publish on your site, the more people are going to link to you as a strong and credible source of quality information.
On the flip side, if your content is mediocre, this will do more harm than good to your brand because it will be ignored. The fact of the matter is, if you want to rank high on the search engines, the content you publish on your site needs to be meaningful, valuable and useful to your target audience.
The essence of content marketing is understanding what your customers and prospective customers want, and then creating and publishing content that is relevant, helpful and valuable to them.
By publishing content that helps people in your target audience, you are helping to build your business’s online reputation and customers and prospective customers will come to develop an emotional connection with your brand.
Creating Quality Content
As a guide, consider that for every piece of content you produce to work as part of your content marketing strategy, you must answer at least one or more of the following questions:
- What is the goal of the piece of content?
- How is the content useful, practical and topically relevant to its target audience?
- Is it fundamentally designed to address a well-known problem?
- Is the content detailed enough to thoroughly cover the topic?
- Is the content practical and easily actionable?
- Does it effectively demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the subject matter?
- Does it effectively differentiate your brand from your competitors?
- Does the content help your prospects better understand the value of your products or services?
- Does it help your prospects understand why to buy from you?
If you are in certain industries such as the plumbing or other “boring” niches, you may struggling to understand how content marketing could possibly apply to you.
However, the fact is, it doesn’t matter what type of business you are in. The fundamentals of content marketing apply to any industry.
Start by thinking about how your products or services actually benefits your customers. Those same people would benefit from information that talks about the problems you solve for them.
For example, if you’re an auto mechanic, you can create a blog on how to change the oil in your car. And this guide has to be in-depth in terms of the information contained in it. It can even contain a video. If it’s half-hearted, its not going to work. It has to completely answer the question or completely solve the problem you are addressing.
Now, you may be of the opinion that you’d be giving away valuable information. And that’s true. And a few readers may even go and change the oil in their cars themselves after reading the article or watching the video.
However, whatever the reason is, there will always be those that just cannot do it themselves, and this often tends to be the majority of people. Why? Because these people will see all of the intricate steps involved in solving that problem that they would rather leave it to an expert, rather than do it themselves.
At the end of the day, the video will answer so many questions, that it would help others understand why you charge so much for the service you provide.
And this is where it gets good for you: towards the end of the blog post you mention your local business services, and provide viewers or readers a first time customer discount.
Why should they choose you over another service provider after watching your video or reading your article?
Well, there are a few reasons:
- You have established yourself as an expert in the field already.
- You walked them through the entire process, step-by-step. They can rest assured knowing that you can do a better job than they can, and that you’re not a fly-by-night.
- Through your website, they now know exactly what other products and services you offer when they are in the market for those products and services.
- Even with those consumers that were able to change their oil or solve their problem based on your step-by-step instructions, the law of reciprocity says that those people will be always be looking for ways to thank you for solving their problem or teaching them something valuable. People expect to pay for valuable information. You have offered that information for free. They are more than likely to become customers.
- They have begun to trust you. This falls in line with the “expert” thing, and it falls in line with you laying out your expertise right in front of them. But also it’s because you are presented as a professional business which has an online presence AND an online voice. This is the very essence of business content marketing.
If you want your webpages featured on Google’s front page for your target keywords, then the content you publish for your audience needs to demonstrate that you’re an expert or authority in the subject-matter. Your content should be centred around helping your prospective clients.
The primary aim of this content should be to educate, inform and engage rather than to sell. If the content is effective, it will ultimately convert those readers into warm leads for your business. However, if you’re not really helping your audience and simply going after the sale, then your content won’t be help you achieve your goals.
Content and Social Media
Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. It is important to get people liking, sharing and commenting on your content. A slew of user engagement signals with your content gives Google confidence in your brand.
You can only accomplish this with content that is even more valuable and useful than other sites in your niche. For example, if you sell dog grooming services on your site and you write about dogs, you need to offer a unique perspective about dog grooming that is clear, engaging and easy to understand.
In addition, you need to provide more value than the numerous articles on the web about dog grooming so that your target audience perceives you as an expert in your field. The content you create must also be practical, useful and highly actionable.
Targeting a Specific Audience
Before you start creating content, it is important to think of your audience and who you’re writing for. If you want your posts to be shared, you need to ensure that you’re targeting your audience specifically. If you’re too general because you’re trying to appeal to a very broad audience, then you won’t specifically appeal to anyone. This is one major mistake that people make. They think they need to appeal to everyone and end up with some very generic content that appeals to no one in particular.
Content performs best when it is written to appeal to a specific type of person. While writing very specifically may appear to exclude potential customers, it actually makes it easier for you to market to the specific type of person that is likely to buy from you.
Types of Content
Content can come in many different formats:
- Text (blog posts, Q & A’s, website content, comments, articles, how-to guides, tutorials, eBooks, presentations, newsletters, whitepapers, etc.)
- Images (shared on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube)
- Audio (podcasts on websites, SoundCloud, YouTube)
- Diagrams or infographics
- Video (interviews, webinars, video tutorials uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or your own website).
Quality content that is targeted to your niche will not only help you build awareness for your brand and attract organic search engine traffic, it will also increase your visibility and position you as an authority in your field.
The better the content you have on your site, the more people are going to link to you as a credible source of information.
And Google’s quality guidelines clearly spell out what they’re looking for from quality content.
Here are their exact words:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging.
- Make your website stand out from others in your field.
The ultimate aim of your content should be to educate, inform and engage your target audience. Your main goal should be to get people sharing and commenting on your content, and this content should establish your authority and credibility so that you can generate traffic, social shares and increase brand awareness.