What Is Content and Why Is Content Important?

by Toby

December 5, 2015

Getting ahead with content

If you care about your business’ longevity and its ability to acquire customers content is vital to your online marketing efforts. Entire companies have been turned around financially just because they began producing content on an ongoing basis and put it online.

Your customers are searching for information – Google refers to these situations when someone is in need of information as micro-moments. Micro-moments are the instant that a potential customer seeks an answer and immediately turns to their phone or desktop computer for answers. Customers have access to the web 24/7 and with the development of Siri for the iPhone and Google Now for Android, getting information has never been easier.

The information your customers are searching for is in the form of content – text (website pages, blog posts, videos, images, or audio). Content is the modern-day marketer’s most efficient tool in the marketing tool chest to acquire customers at all different levels of the sales cycle.

So what is content?

Content takes the form of text, images, video, or audio that you as a company or professional service organization produce and put online. The most common types of content are:

  1. Text: usually in the form of web pages, blog posts, or downloadable PDFs. This type of content is fairly easy to produce ongoing and topic areas can include your products and services, your customers’ top questions, DIY tutorials, general information, customer reviews, opinions, and more. More specific types of ¬textual content are downloadable ebooks and whitepapers.
  2. Images: often image content marketing is in the form of pictures (i.e. jpg, gifs, etc.). Infographics, in particular, take data and put it into a pictorial representation that is easier to understand. Infographics are common for link building as they get shared among other websites that link back to your site as the source. Alternatively, images embedded in your web pages and blog posts are also great image content that can rank in Google, also, being repurposed in social channels.
  3. Video: capturing video content has never been easier. With the growth in smartphones and high-speed access, people readily watch videos from anywhere. Video has many benefits for online marketing, and some people would rather watch video content than read a web page.
  4. Audio: Audio content is in the form of podcasts. Podcasts have become more popular over the last few years, but this type of content is not typically high on the priority list for development since it’s more complicated to produce and put together a regular show.

Why Is Content Important For Your Website

Without content, you have nothing to market. Without content, you have nothing to say to the millions of people searching for answers to their questions. Google will only serve your web pages to searchers if you have content. (Read more here about the importance of content and SEO).

Nobody wants to land on your site and just listen to you talk about your products and services, or listen to how great you are, and what year your company was started – how awful is that? If that is the case, your potential customer is thinking, “who cares?” and they move on to continue their searching. Think of it like networking – nobody wants to listen to someone just talk about themselves. Customers have needs, and they want those needs satisfied through the content you produce (or content that your competitors are producing).

Client Content Example

As an example, we have a client in massage therapy services. Massage therapy has many health benefits. However, if the only services that the client wanted to talk about were their core massage services like Swedish massage, or sports massage, etc., that would be very limiting in its reach.

Compare this to all the content pieces that could be produced about all the ailments that massage therapy helps alleviate. Writing content around how massage helps fibromyalgia, how it helps reduce blood pressure, or how it reduces the pain associated with osteoarthritis – that’s content that is relevant, grows your website, allows the site to acquire more organic traffic, and enables you to promote it in other channels (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Imagine then if you produced content in multiple mediums: textual content for your website, a video, and then images – that’s three pieces of content that have the ability to draw qualified traffic to you through multiple channels.

Different Content For Different Levels Of The Sales Funnel

Content needs to satisfy your customers’ immediate needs for information. Depending on where your customer is in the sales cycle, their needs and thus the type of content and information they are searching for will vary.

Let’s consider another example of how the target audiences’ search behavior may change depending on where they are in the sales funnel (i.e. just starting an informational search, or already know what they want).

Let’s consider a plastic surgery customer, a woman in her early 40’s with two children who is seeking help with her appearance as she enters middle age. This is a common demographic for a plastic surgeon.

Top Of The Funnel

The prospective customer, a woman in her early 40’s, begins searching for solutions – she’s at the top of the funnel just gathering basic information. So she starts by looking at exercise routines, then dietary solutions, and then finally plastic surgery as a solution.

For each of these topical areas she’s researching the pros and cons with each by reaching out to her friends, investigating through social media, and through Google searches. As she continues to research, she builds more and more information.

Bottom Of The Funnel

Let’s assume she finally decides on plastic surgery as the option she wants to pursue. She has heard of a general procedure called a Mommy Makeover that plastic surgeons offer. Now she is researching questions online related to:

  • How much does a Mommy Makeover cost?
  • What are the risks?
  • Who is the ideal candidate?
  • Will insurance cover it?

These are just some of the questions a potential customer may go through at the top or middle of the funnel – the client has information queries mostly.

Once she moves through the information phase she moves to searches that are more transactional and closer to a purchase, such as:

  • Plastic surgeons near me
  • Best plastic surgeons in San Diego
  • Plastic surgeons in San Diego that specialize in Mommy Makeovers
  • Mommy Makeover specials

These queries are more towards the bottom of the sales funnel – the bottom of the funnel is more transactional, that is, more likely and ready to purchase.

It is content that will satisfy this need for information at each level of the sales funnel. If you are a plastic surgeon, you would want to write content at each of these levels.

Without producing content that is answering the questions your customer has at each level of the sales process as outlined above, you lose significantly to more experienced competitors that are creating this content.

With content that lives on your site, you have the ability to acquire more organic traffic from Google, and you have the ability to promote that same content via social media (i.e. Facebook) and drive the traffic back to your site.

Grow Traffic Through Producing Content In Multiple Mediums

Producing content in several mediums (i.e. textual content as in website pages or blog posts, or images, or video) can significantly improve your business’s ability to acquire traffic from more sources within Google.

For example, I wrote a blog post about two video case studies comparing the differences between Facebook and YouTube video statistics. In that post I wrote a lot of textual content, I embedded a video explaining the case study, and I embedded images that captured the concept of the post too. Of course, I optimized all three content types to rank in search.

Below is a Google organic query that ranks a web page from our site along with the images and video that are embedded in the blog post that is comparing Facebook and YouTube video statistics – so we’ve ranked our web page itself in a typical Google organic query along with the images and video. That’s three separate pieces of content ranking in three different Google properties (standard web search, image search, and video search).

Ranking web page and an image in Google organic

If we had only written the blog post without images or video, we would have missed opportunities to capture more traffic from the video and images that were also optimized.

Then if you click on the Videos tab in Google search, you will find the video that we produced that is on that page along with the same video uploaded to YouTube.

Ranking videos in Google that are not just in YouTube

Customer-Centric Content

With customer-centric content as we have described above, you become a resource for potential clients. You want to be helpful.  Answer their questions. Become a resource.

Useful content is how you become a trusted brand – this is the most subtle way to a possible sale. People are turned off by companies that are always selling without first building rapport or getting to know the customer first. Content allows you to establish rapport and trust with potential customers. And it establishes you as an authority.

This is why content is important for your website – it allows your business to acquire online traffic that you otherwise would have difficulty capturing.

I hope this post was helpful. Leave your comments or questions below, and don’t forget to sign up for our blog newsletter.

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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