Content is king: the rise of Content Marketing
Marketing has changed. Advertisements and editorial in the trade press used to be all it took to build a brand. Now, with opportunities for coverage in hard-copy magazines diminishing, what is the best way to reach an audience of potential customers?
Starting a conversation
‘Content Marketing’ may seem like the latest fad, but it’s actually just a new term for an old marketing strategy.
Content Marketing is all about starting a conversation: using content to communicate without making a sales pitch. The content in question may be an article or a web video or even a tweet – anything, as long as it’s interesting and informative.
The smart companies in the consumer space have already moved in the direction of Content Marketing. Market leaders like Coca-Cola have already turned their websites into magazine-style portals filled with content. Now, the most tuned-in companies in the technology arena are following suit.
Combining old with new
The wider concept of Content Marketing has moved to the fore because customers have grown wary of the old marketing schtick. The only tried-and-true method of reaching potential customers is to give them something that they want to read or watch.
In this way, Content Marketing marries traditional marketing with a new breed of internet-based marketing. It’s the internet that’s driving the rise of Content Marketing, because it offers so many new ways to talk to potential customers.
Brave new world?
It’s easy to feel bamboozled by Twitter or Facebook or the latest web trend. But, the fact is, the principles of marketing are the same, whether it’s on the internet or in hard copy. In all cases, the aim is to engage your audience.
In fact, the internet is geared towards making sure the most engaging material rises to the top. In the last couple of years, Google has made important changes in how it ranks pages. It now prioritises high-quality content and material.
Search Engine Optimisation
It used to be that you could get your company to number one on Google by using keyword stuffing, duplicate content and link schemes. This is where old-school Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists made their money. Now, however, Google has turned against this sort of ‘black hat SEO’ and changed the way it ranks pages.
These days, it’s clear that black hat SEO will no longer do the job. You need high-quality content. The route to successfully improving your Google ranking is through the addition of regular, optimised news stories on your website.
Rethinking the classic press release
In the new online landscape, even the role of the classic press release has changed. A press release or case study that previously would have ended up with an editor will now be published directly online on news sites and blogs.
“We feel it’s really important that all our releases contain the right key words and links for SEO,” comments Bob Hall, MD at Greenlite – one of UK’s leading commercial lighting suppliers. “We’re not just targeting the press anymore, so our releases need to be written differently – keeping the web reader in mind.”
One item, many uses
What’s more, shifting your marketing focus using the principles of Content Marketing can mean squeezing additional mileage out of every piece of content you produce. Content Marketing is all about creating a body of material that can be revised and reused in intelligent ways.
At Content Coms, we work on the basis that good content never just has one use. It’s much more effective to use the same content in different ways. In our experience, Content Marketing is ultimately about doing more with less.
Content Marketing is undoubtedly the current big thing in PR. However, the question remains: does it really lead to increased sales?
We think Content Marketing has the potential to offer something that old-style marketing never did: it fosters long-term relationships between businesses. Putting out good content makes you look credible. Content Marketing helps you to establish trust with your audience, so that people want to do business with you.
Filling the void
As conventional marketing becomes less and less effective, Content Marketing appears to be filling the void it leaves behind. By drawing together principles of traditional marketing with new, internet-based ways of communicating, it’s now easier than ever to reach potential customers.
The only hard part is figuring out what you want to say.
Find out more about how Content Marketing can work for your company.