The days of keyword stuffing and writing meaningless content that is only important to search engines are in the past. Producing great content that engages your visitors is the new way of SEO. Real, valuable content is finally on the forefront of marketers once again!

What is Content Marketing?

In simple terms – content marketing is the ability of businesses to communicate effectively with existing and potential customers in a meaningful way. Content marketing drives trust in a brand and creates a connection.

Why is Content Marketing Important?

In 2012 Google’s ranking algorithm changed drastically. By employing new machine learning concepts and harnessing the massive computing power available, Google has become more aware of the differences between “SEO Content” and “Real Content”. Websites are, more and more, evaluated as a real person would. That means instead of ranking you highly for using the phrase “blue widget” thirty times, you have to create content that is visually and intellectually appealing to people looking for “blue widget” information.

Content that your visitors will like, as well as what the search engines will like are now pretty much one in the same. Simply writing for SEO purposes or finding the balance between the two is no longer what needs to be done. Great quality content is now king! If you want your page to rank properly, you will need great content and lots of it.

Successful Creative Content Marketing

There’s more to great content marketing than writing an interesting piece. You need to craft a full strategy for your content to make the most of a content marketing campaign. Successful creative content marketing can be broken down into three distinct and crucial steps:

  • Discover

  • How does your target audience find content? Research this question and find your answer before writing and developing your content. Use keyword research tools, like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, to find popular search phrases. Explore related topics using Google Trends and other services that monitor web searches. Take a look at your own analytics and see what people are coming to your site for, and how they interact with it. All these avenues will help you get a better understanding of what the average potential customer actually searches when looking for your product or service. Creating an accurate market segmentation plan for your service and product will help focus your content.

  • Consume

  • What type of media best helps you optimize your customer experience? All business models are different and can require a different media type, figure out your niche and move forward with it. Perhaps your discovery phase turned up a lot of video results. That’s great! Content doesn’t just mean writing. Content is anything that your potential customers consume – from visuals to videos to words. If everyone in your industry focuses on video content, for example, you’ll want to be in that space too. But if nobody does video, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Look for both existing content and gaps in content and tailor your strategy appropriately.

  • Act

  • What will get your target audience to take action? How do you want your visitors to feel when they see your content? People are emotional creatures by nature and typically act based on an emotion they feel. It is important to create that emotion with great content. Tailor your strategy and content to drive people to act. Information and education is great, but you also want to make the sale. Whenever you are creating content, think about where it would fit in your sales pipeline. Are you reaching for people in the research phase? Then your content shouldn’t be too sales-oriented. Are they in a more serious purchasing phase? Then you need to make sure they understand your value. Not all content will push for the sale – you just need to make sure you consider the end goal of your content before producing it.

Statistics on Social Content Marketing

Social networks are vital for Great content gets shared, spreads your brand message and introduces you to new audiences. If you don’t believe it, here’s some statistics:

  • Over 50% of social networkers who share business-related content do so on Twitter
  • 18% of people on Twitter share photos every day
  • 58% of online consumers want exclusive content from brands on social media
  • 80% of Pins shared on Pinterest are re-pins of others content
  • 88% of businesses are on social networks. You need great content to stand out!

Developing a Great Content Strategy

Many companies are just getting started with revising their content to make it worthy of the new content marketing strategy of our time. To get started with your content marketing strategy, keep these five tips in mind:

  • A content strategy should focus on customers as well as prospects. Great content is a unique way to create brand affinity but it can also be a useful tool for building your potential customer base.
  • Keep it simple; stay honest and true to your brand.
  • An amplification and distribution strategy should be a part of your overall content marketing plan. Search and social networks can be used to distribute but don’t get held up on that tactic only. You should find other ways to distribute to additional audiences as well.
  • Content marketing should think beyond direct response tactics and focus more of its time on improving customer engagement and creating awareness. If thought out correctly, it can be a great tool for education and customer relations. Remember to properly setup your analytics to track ROI effectively.
  • Most importantly, invest in the appropriate resources and build the proper team to meet your goals and objectives.

Final Thoughts

The single most significant trend is the continued emergence of content marketing as a standalone discipline. Content, in all its shapes and forms, is core to everything we do as marketers. Econsultancy, Digital Trends for 2013.

Think of content marketing as the new currency for developing an online presence. Content marketing not only empowers consumers but increases brand loyalty and engagement. The better quality content you have, the more places you can share and market it. In turn, this fills a unique niche that leaves a lasting impression for your visitors.