Content Marketing: The key to staying relevant in the new web
- Think like a publisher
- Create informative content our readers will love
- Distribute it as far as possible
That has been my mantra for the past 7 years I’ve been working online. I’ve been involved with a wide range of companies, and this policy has worked equally well in every industry. Why?
Content is your web presence. It’s why the web exists. It’s how people find you.
Content makes it easier for people to find you. When people perform a web search, they’re looking for some specific information. The more information you have published, the chances for people to find your website improve.
Content makes you a subject authority. As a hotel, you want to be the source of information for people planning a trip to your city. Now more than ever, people want to be educated before they make a purchase.
Content makes you more valuable to your customers. For instance, if you’re trying to sell to corporate meeting planners, a portfolio of informative content makes that easier. Research performed for the development of your content makes you a better resource, and increases the value you offer.
Content has multiple uses. The educational material you produce for your target audience can be adapted to multiple formats and uses. For example, one good article could become a series of blog posts, videos, or a podcast.
Content almost always provides higher ROI than advertising. I have managed campaigns for myself and other clients, and in my experience, building a network of great content provides more benefits than paid “interruption” messages.
Content has long-term payoff. Unlike advertising, great content will stay around and provide you with ongoing results. It’s an investment that keeps on giving.
Probably the top three people that have influenced my thinking over the past few years are:
(These guys publish some great content on…publishing great content. I’d recommend you subscribe to their newsfeeds and read daily.)
Around 2002 when I was getting started in web marketing, great content was a good way to attract links to our websites. In 2004 when I started blogging, great content was needed to build our blogs. Over the past few years, the explosion in social media popularity (Digg, Facebook, Twitter) provided even further incentives with the opportunity for viral distribution. It’s been interesting to watch that while the publishing options may have changed slightly, the need for great content has remained.
A few days ago, Todd Lucier raised the need for two social media teams: one to listen to your customers, and the other to produce great content. If we believe the trends underlying social media truly represent a fundamental change in the way people buy, then we’ll allocate our resources accordingly. You need to get more people involved.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to develop all of your content, consider hiring a journalist. With the state of print media declining, many talented writers are open to taking part or full time work outside traditional media.
Whatever your publishing strategy is, you want to create content that is:
- Timely (current and delivered to the right people at the right time)
- Comprehensive (a true resource)
- Useful to the reader (they bookmark & keep coming back)
- Easy to find (search engine friendly)
- Easy to share (linked to social media networks)
In the words of Scott Ginsberg, “The more you give away, the wealthier you will be.”
Today’s question: what valuable content can you produce and give away for free?
“The problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.” – Tim O’Reilly