At this point, it’s almost more of a cliché to say that “we’ve all heard that content is king” since we’re hearing it so much, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about content; we have to because it’s one of the most important parts of any marketing strategy. A recent article on Econsultancy argues that content isn’t a strategy but a simple tactic. I don’t agree at all. With all of the big changes to the digital marketing industry and the recent focus on creating great content, it seems to me that content is basically everything that’s on our website. Anything from product images, descriptions and videos, blog posts, guest posts and articles, and of course our social profile content.
But what does that mean when we go to create some content?
I think there’s been a lot of content for content’s sake. I think a good example of this is a poorly structured and badly designed infographic on an obscure topic that won’t really be interesting to the majority of readers on the sites it’s published across. Content must be created to address an issue that your brand wants to solve for your customers or a topic that will generate some buzz and discussion from your visitors or current fans instead of just because it’s what Google wants us to do. Content is so important but it has to be good and make people understand what your brand is all about, what your point of view is and how that relates to what products or services your customers want.
There are a many different reasons to create (high quality!) content. Usually when you update your site or decide to go ahead with a creative project it’s for a reason that falls somewhere between at least one and some of the following:
- Brand awareness – are you creating a project to get your brand out there?
- Engagement – is the goal of your project to have your audience ask you questions, provide feedback or start a dialogue with your customers?
- Traffic – is your aim to drive more people to your site?
- Social shares, likes and fans – is the objective of your project to gain some more visibility on the social networks where you customers can be found?
- Conversions – are you going ahead with a project because you want to see a direct impact on the number of visitors converting on your site?
If you’re creating content without one of these goals in mind, you might want to consider the impact it will have. If you can’t think of a reason to create it that makes sense with your overall marketing objectives or will help your customers learn more about your brand or solve a problem they might have.
Once you’re sure you’re creating content for a reason, how do you create good content? You’re halfway to creating great content if you have a reason to do so. The rest of the process just requires a bit of work to ensure you’re creating the type of content that your potential audience will search for and your customers will appreciate so here are a few simple ways to get inspired:
- Keyword research – which are the most common words and phrases that your potential customers use when searching in your industry or customers use when coming through to your site?
- Competitor research – what types of projects and which topics are your competitors creating content around? Look at the ones that are popular, generate links and have lots of social shares.
- Focus on USPs – your company does something better than every other company. Can you use that to create something useful but not too promotional?
- Current events – is there something happening in the world or a holiday that you can share your brand opinions on?
Hopefully this has provided a reasonable explanation for creating content for a wider purpose instead of just because we think Google wants us to, and that you’ve gotten a few ideas on how to create timely and useful content.
For more on content, you can always explore the blog a bit further or attend the Content Marketing Show which happens each year – once in the autumn and once in the spring.