Content Is Not King
My assumption is that your first reaction to reading that headline is “Say what?” And then you probably mutter under your breath, “Isn’t content is king a marketing mantra as old as the British Royal Family?”
If you’re asking that question, it’s the right one to ask. And you’re not entirely wrong. Content isn’t King because it’s the King, the Queen and the Jack. Maybe even the Joker every once and awhile. They are the cards you play to achieve your business goals.
At MozCon 2018, Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner gave a riveting, and sometimes hilarious, talk about ways to fix content marketing. One of the most interesting things he highlighted early on is a big misconception about this type of marketing strategy: someone reads your blog post and converts to a qualified lead. Most the time that’s not going to be the case. And by most of the time I mean somewhere in the area of half a percent, according to one of his examples.
But that doesn’t mean content marketing isn’t an integral part of your strategy. It is, and it serves many different purposes, all of which have value and together will eventually drive lead conversions. Regardless of your business model or definition of a conversion, firing up 500 to 800 words of evergreen content boasting about the services you offer, or just showing off your knowledge base, can become one of the most valuable parts of your marketing playbook along with along with advertising and email marketing.
Articulate Your Value Proposition
While attention spans are shrinking and the amount of time you have to connect with a person digitally is decreasing, sometimes longer content is necessary. Articulating the value of the service or widget your company provides, and showing examples of such, is key when establishing a level of comfort with your visitors. Use your blog to showcase all of your products in ways your homepage might not afford. Pretend this is your shot to impress someone, your pitch, and use plenty of images (insert groan about alt-tags) and videos when it makes sense.
All that said, if you are expanding on your value proposition, make sure what you’re saying is valuable. Even before drafting content you need to ask yourself what the purpose of the article is and will it be most meaningful to readers. And in a lot of cases, that means personalization, which you can read more about here.
And what’s meaningful to readers is also meaningful to Google. Which brings us to the next purpose of content marketing.
Not only does content marketing, when done correctly, enhance your metadata via smart keywords, it helps make your website seem more authoritative to Google, which is going to get you more visibility. Free visibility. And perception is reality. Writing content that helps get you recognized as an authority makes you an authority. Suddenly you’re a valuable part of your value proposition.
In his talk, Oli shared an incredibly insightful quote from Orbit Media co-founder and chief marketing officer Andy Crestodina. He said:
“The content drives the links, which drive the authority, which drive the rankings, which drive qualified visitors who searched for a “commercial intent” keyphrase. Now you have a visitor who is highly likely to convert, unlike your typical blog reader.”
In this case you’re not even writing for the prospective lead. Andy’s “typical blog reader” probably isn’t even a major consumer. While they may click around on your site and visit product pages, they’re eventually going to bail and become a cold lead. Instead, you’re using the content to enable a qualified lead to find you. Plus, perception is reality. Writing content that helps you get recognized as an authority, makes you an authority!
Creating Content Isn’t as Hard as You Think
The thought of adding content creation to your already overflowing plate may seem daunting, but if it is actually possible to kill two birds with one stone, this would be the way. And we’re not suggesting a magnum opus every time you open up your word processor. Concise and to the point content is going to be the most effective. The best strategy is that each post employs the “less is more” principle. The flip side of that, however, is that when it comes to content marketing, “more of less” is the goal. In other words, five blog posts of 500 – 800 words each over the course of the month instead of a single 3,000-word post constructed over weeks and deployed haphazardly. It’s also important to remember that what you create has to be valuable, or as Jeff Baker calls it in a blog post on Moz.com “quality content.”
There are the obvious next steps in terms of promoting the published content, getting a critical mass of eyeballs and spending time (hopefully) responding to comments. But it’s all worth it. In fact, maybe content isn’t even the King, Queen, Jack and Joker.
It’s the Ace.