Customers are searching for answers to their questions, for information, for education and if you’re not producing content that answers those queries and searches you will lose out.
Without content you have nothing to say. People that have nothing to say have no influence.
Are you still relying too heavily on traditional media? Have you been slow to kick off an online marketing strategy? Your more sophisticated competitors are already implementing these strategies and taking market share.
You’ve waited too long now to continue to ignore the importance of SEO and content marketing. It’s time to stop letting your competitors steal market share from you (related post here on what is content and why is it important).
The Benefit of Content Marketing + SEO
The strategy of regularly producing content that ranks well in the search engines, and then also promoting that content socially is a powerful winning combination that will consistently drive leads to your business at lower costs and with more consistency than almost anything else you’re doing.
Content marketing works for you 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days a year.
Why All the Hype Behind Content Marketing?
Content marketing has become one of the hottest topics among marketers in the last couple of years and started taking off in 2013.
Below is a chart from Google Trends that shows the interest in Google for the search terms Content Marketing (blue and upwardly trending) and SEO (in red and downwardly trending).
The truth is that content marketing has been around for decades, and it’s only recently that it has gained more exposure in relation to online marketing.
Why the Recent Increased Interest in Content Marketing?
Did you notice when the two lines crossed above? This was a direct result of changes Google made to its algorithms that had the effect of changing marketers’ behavior.
Between 2011 and 2012 Google started rolling out two of its most important algorithm updates (Panda and Penguin) designed to remove spammy and low-quality websites from its search results pages.
Google’s Panda update targeted websites and web pages with low-quality content, and Penguin went after sites that artificially improved online rankings through shady backlinking tactics. Backlinks are considered one of the biggest influences on how well a web page or website ranks.
Since those algorithm updates, online marketers began to focus more on quality content, versus shady SEO tactics that gamed Google’s search algorithm.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is defined as the process of creating content in the form of written articles (web pages, blog posts, whitepapers, etc.), images (pictures, infographics, etc.), podcasts, webinars, or videos designed to educate, entertain, inform, or teach your potential customers. This content is proactively marketed to your target audience through social media, paid social, paid search, or search engine optimization, among other tactics with the end goal of driving more awareness and leads for your brand.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. Source: Google Search
Google is still the first place many potential customers go to find out information, so if you’re not there you’re missing one of the largest opportunities to acquire leads.
What Are The Effects of Content Marketing + SEO On Traffic?
Below is the Google organic traffic from my own site which I started to produce content consistently for starting in January of 2014 (We had produced content for it prior to this date, but much more sporadic).
The Google organic growth between January of 2014 and January of 2015 was 155%! And that’s producing only a couple blog posts a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. Imagine if we had been able to produce content at an even greater frequency?
Here’s the Google organic traffic growth for a dentist that we were producing content for (related posts on dental Internet marketing and SEO for dentists). Between March of 2013 and August of 2013, so less than 6 months, the site saw an increase in Google organic traffic of 300%.
Further Evidence of the Importance of Content Marketing On Leads
A blog post by HubSpot here clearly shows data that demonstrate that the more often you blog, and thus produce content, the more leads your business acquires. What’s most important is noticing the inflection points – clearly producing more than 16 posts per month versus 9 to 15 has a huge impact on lead generation for a company.
SEO has not become any less important today than it was 3 years ago. Google is still one of the very first places people go to get their questions answered.
At a minimum, you need to leverage simple keyword research to uncover possible topics. But you also need to have the basics of on-page SEO worked out too, such as effective Titles and Meta Descriptions, including the main keyword and variations that people are searching for in the body of your content. The basics of SEO will help your page show in search and drive more traffic (here’s a more thorough post on how to rank at the top of Google). And a related SEO Case study here about a site with a solid content roadmap, internal linking, and YouTube video embeds to rank on the first page of Google for 750 keywords terms.
What About Marketing your Content and Distribution?
Simply producing content is not good enough. You should also pay to promote that content. Pray, and the traffic will come approach will not work anywhere near as effectively as combining it with a paid distribution strategy through social media.
You should set aside a promotional ad budget for each piece of content to help distribute it to your target audience via paid social ads.
You can of course just tweet it and post it to your Facebook page organically, but you will achieve far greater exposure with the paid distribution. Facebook, in particular, is a pay-to-play platform and without ads to promote your content, you probably won’t reach more than 2% of your fans. Similar situation with Twitter.
Social Media Distribution
The good news is that there are so many opportunities to be laser-focused on promoting your content today.
Facebook offers an unprecedented ad platform allowing advertisers to target behavioral and demographic characteristics, in addition to the interests of their potential target audience (a post here details ideas on how to promote your blog to your customers).
Twitter also offers opportunities to promote your content very strategically based on interests, or people that follow certain Twitter accounts, among several different targeting options.
Benefits of Paid Distribution
Paying to promote your content socially will not only get your brand and content more exposure but drive much more traffic to your site than just organically posting it.
Content Marketing Example Combined With SEO
Consider a post I did not long ago about leveraging Facebook ads for estate agents.
I wrote a post here about how to do quick and simple keyword research in Google for content ideas, which was the basis for the blog post I did about how to use Facebook ads for real estate agents.
In addition to the textual content for that post, I also did a video explaining the process that I posted on the page as well and optimized it for video SEO. So there were two great pieces of content – textual content and video content – for both the search engines and social media.
Here’s a related post on a site that used a content strategy, internal linking, and YouTube video embeds.
But from there I promoted the post via Facebook ads and then via Twitter ads.
For Twitter, I chose a very short window to promote it (no reason other than personal preference), but as you can see in the graphic below of data from the promoted tweet, it’s clear the increased reach I received via promoted tweets versus organic posting was substantial.
The promoted tweet received more than eight times the impressions and ten times the link clicks when I paid to promote it. The promotion was towards people that were real estate agents or in the real estate industry.
Google Organic Results
And in Google, that post ranks between #1 and #3 position for “Facebook ads for real estate agents” and “Facebook ads for real estate”.
In the span of 3 months that very focused post has generated:
- 3,841 impressions and
- 338 clicks to my website from 104 different keyword queries in Google searches
That’s a lot of variations of keywords that the post has driven traffic from – had we not written such a thorough post we would not have received anywhere near that amount of traffic.
To summarize, content marketing is the totality of producing content that your customers want to read and then marketing it. And the two primary channels of marketing content are SEO and then social media distribution.
SEO is still alive and extremely important for content marketing with the huge benefit of driving traffic and leads to your site.
At the same time, social media and in particular paid social is extremely important to get wider exposure for your content that you otherwise could not achieve. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are pay-to-play platforms and without paid distribution, your exposure will be a fraction of what it could be.
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