What is Content Marketing?
Never mind the width, feel the quality!
What is Content Marketing? Well, content is now King of the Hill. What is content marketing? Whatever you do with your website, content must reign supreme. And when it’s right, you can begin to use it for content marketing.
Google has ruled that websites must now be ranked on their search engine listings according to their user experience. In other words, a website must be set-up to give the user a rich and rewarding experience.
And yes, okay, we can all agree to that, especially when we know that there is so much dross out there and surfing can become a frustrating experience.
But how do you build a content marketing strategy? How do you exploit your content in order that your site is ranked as it should be?
What Is Content?
Content on the site is more than just the webpage text which tells people what the site is about and how to learn more, or buy products and services. What we mean by is the material which is added on a daily, or weekly basis.
Thus news stories/snippets, blogs, articles, features, comments and user posts can all said to be textual content, to which should be added high quality visual content in the shape of high quality images and graphics.
Content has always had a part in the marketing of a website. Webmasters quickly realised that websites can become static very quickly, as webpage text doesn’t have to change that often – once you have the information and sales messages in place, why keep changing them? So it quickly became apparent that feeding new content into the site allowed it to look fresher and build the density, properly, of the keywords. So when the search engine spiders came back to the site, there was need content on which the site ranking could be improved.
However, webmasters being what they are, the content has always been a poor cousin to say the website design and functionality. For many, having all the bells and whistles, and then chucking in a bit of content, was the norm.
Content was deemed an expensive luxury and could be bought by the yard. As long as it had a few keywords, was the required length and not too many spelling mistakes. Whether the user enjoyed the content, or not, was superfluous – what mattered most was filling out the pages with something.
This strategy no longer works – indeed, with Google’s attitude almost evangelical desire to create high user experiences, those who continue to see content as wallpaper will be penalised and their rankings will fall.
Thus, the emphasis is now on quality content.
What Is High Quality Content?
The best way to understand quality content is to think of the print media in the UK, both newspapers are magazines. This, ideally, is the standard you should be aiming for when adding content to your site. So, good journalism, whether its writing blogs, news stories, features articles, newsletters, or case studies, is now the benchmark.
And of course, the main repercussions of these increased standards is cost. Instead of paying less than a penny per word, webmasters, if they want to highlight their sites on the back of content, they have to pay nearer ten pence a word, right up to 30 pence a word (mirroring the National Union of Journalists recommended freelance word rates).
But, the advantage is, if you’re commissioning high quality content, then not only should it boost your search rankings, but you can use it to market your website off-site and create a high-quality back-linking strategy.
How Do You Market Quality Content?
Quality content will boost your onsite activities and lead to higher search rankings, as long as you have the other parts of the SEO puzzle in place.
But quality content really comes into own when you want to implement offsite tactics, which mainly comes down to back-linking.
Remember that a crucial way search engines rank other websites is how many inbound links it has. The theory is, the more inbound links you have, the more popular you are, so therefore you deserve a higher search position. This basic principle of the internet linking of millions of pages is a cornerstone of SEO strategy.
Like most other early SEO techniques, it was heavily abused and ‘spam’ links became commonplace.
However, links from a high quality site (usually demoted by its authority rank) back to another site, will boost the recipient site. But how to create that link?
One way of course is ensure that other sites are aware of your high quality content (this can be achieved via social media updates for example) and cause them to ‘reference’ your site with a mention and a link. This natural link building is hugely valuable.
The other way (and this forms a large focus of any content marketing strategy) is to offer your content (which must be original and not duplicated on your own site), to other websites , who use it in exchange for a link in say the author biography.
With top content marketing becoming so expensive and quality driven, websites are happy to take contributions, as long as they are highly original, relevant, authoritative and are prepared in the right voice of the host site.
In many ways this emulates traditional public relations tactics: PRs spend their day preparing press releases, free images, quotes and storylines for use by the print and broadcast media outlets. They do that to boost their own client profiles. It’s a simple trade and now that principle has extended into the digital marketing arena. Good content in return for a link.
The judgment comes with preparing the content in such a way as to be valued by the host site being offered the material.
And as happened with PRs (journalists now vet who they will talk to and what they will receive for fear of being overloaded with junk), webmasters are increasingly doing the same.
Don’t approach a website and offer your content unless you honestly know it is of a high standard, otherwise you will be ignored by that website, or worse, black-listed.
Remember the phrase: quality content.
Need More Information?
If you’re in doubt of how you gauge quality content, or indeed, where you can get it, then contact us for help and advice.