By now, you’ve probably heard heaps about how good content marketing is for… pretty much everything. But, much like TikTok, it’s one of those things where a lot of people are aware that it exists, but aren’t super fussed to learn why everyone keeps talking about it.
Content marketing grew a bunch around 2017 and in the last few years has really taken off. Now, in 2021 it’s pretty much standard if you want to keep up with your competitors. We’ve put together our introduction to content marketing, so next time one of your business-ey pals brings it up you’ll be able to fake your way through the whole conversation.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is basically marketing content and using it to engage customers and provide free value to them. When we say free, we don’t just mean not charging them for it. We mean, not making them trade an email address for the content and not plugging your brand every second paragraph. You get one call to action, use it wisely.
The content can come in the form of blogs, video marketing, podcasts, infographics, long form content pieces, and even social media posts. You can use whitepapers and studies in your content campaign too. Content marketing should grab your target audience’s attention and it should answer the initial question they were asking to come across your content in the first place.
Neil Patel describes content marketing as, “Media-type content that customers want in exchange for permission to market a product or service to them.”
Why is content marketing important?
For a bunch of reasons. Firstly, the whole idea of offering them something for free, offering to help with their problem, with no strings attached? That builds trust in a brand. Content marketing helps your SEO strategy too — way more than rewriting your copy. It also helps build interest in your services and get you more business. Even if it takes months of stalking your website and socials, there’s a good chance that if you help someone out with your content, they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to buy.
Above all, content marketing is really really important now because your customers expect it.
There are so few industries left where you’d stand a chance of being the first to adopt content marketing. Fashion and beauty brands were the first to really jump on the content bandwagon. Then, naturally, the big boy international brands jumped on board. Brands like Coke, Kleenex, and Adobe started to lead the charge in combining user generated content (UGC) with content marketing. Now, it’s almost every industry. Mechanics, engineers, construction.
Even small businesses like cafes are creating content. So many businesses and brands are seeing the value in content marketing and that’s making it even more important. If you’re running an online store, but you’re not matching the efforts of a hole-in-the-wall cafe, you’re doing something wrong.
How does content marketing work?
It makes people trust you.
Any good couple’s therapist, or weird graphic your aunty shared on Facebook, will tell you that the key to any good relationship is trust. So, to foster and nurture a relationship with your target audience, so that they grow into a regular customer, they need to trust you. Unlike a classic relationship though, making it no strings attached, is actually ideal.
Giving your customers no strings attached content is where it’s at. Don’t pitch your services or products to them inside the content. Giving them a value-packed piece of content, for free, is why content marketing works. Pitching or trying to sell your product to them inside the content will kill the whole trust vibe.
It helps you rank higher.
Creating unique and valuable content around your targeted keywords helps your SEO strategy. Create the sort of content that people are searching for and make it rich, make it full of value. Lots of tips, lots of resources, and lots of links. The links should be to external resources (high authority, quality websites) and to internal resources, other blog posts or landing pages that relate and build on what you’re talking about. Writing this kind of content shows Google that you’re authoritative and knowledgeable and that your content is useful.
You should check out what’s already ranking for your intended topic. Try and fill in the gaps you find and try and out-do what’s ranking. So, if the #1 post is 500 words with two internal links and two external links, make your piece 1000 words with three internal links and four external. You’re in direct competition with that content piece so try and make your piece better in any way you can.
It helps make bank.
Or, as a super duper wanky agency might say, it generates leads. People are landing on your website and then, hopefully going through the rest of your content. The content you’ve created is what they’re interested in and conveniently enough, should be very closely related to what you’re selling. So, when it comes time to buy, you’re in their mind.
Imagine Bunnings isn’t already nearly everyone’s go-to hardware place. Your hose snaps off from the attachment bit. So, you google, “how to reattach hose to attachment” and a Bunnings blog comes up.
It walks you through how to reattach it, you do it, it works, and you’re like, “sweet, my hose is great.” But then, a week later you use it again, and the attachment comes off again. So, you give up on it and decide you’ll just buy a new one. You’ll either immediately think of Bunnings from your time spent together the week prior. Or, you’ll google hoses and Bunnings will come up and be reminded and go there.
What is content marketing in SEO?
Content marketing is one of the most valuable SEO techniques around. But there’s a lot of misconception over how SEO and content marketing fit together. Some people think they’re the same thing, some people think you only need one, that you pick content marketing or you pick SEO. SEO and content marketing are two different marketing strategies that overlap. Keyword research in SEO is really useful for content marketing, even if you’re not thinking about SEO. SEO techniques aid content marketing and content marketing aids SEO. They go really well together but they can exist separately from each other too.
So, how does content marketing fit into SEO and vice versa?
Well, SEO techniques are all necessary in content marketing for it to work well and be effective. Techniques like keyword research, competitive analysis, and link building all support your content strategy. In the same way, content marketing techniques like creating rich, valuable content, helps broaden how you use and implement your SEO strategy. In summary, SEO and content marketing aren’t the same, but they should be best friends.
Content Marketing Examples to give you an idea:
Moz is an industry go-to for SEO and content marketing tips. So, it makes a lot of sense for their content marketing strategy to be spot on. Moz’s topic clusters are crazy, they give us serious content strategy envy. They’ve literally created a library to help people learn SEO and content marketing. They have so much content that you can filter it by the kind of content piece it is, the category, and the difficulty level you’re at. Insane.
Domain is a property website where you can list homes or commercial properties for sale or for rent. But, they have their own mini news publication. It’s not even mini, it has four different news categories. If you google a question about property or about the market, a Domain article will come up. They even have a ‘living’ section, where they give interior design tips and interview professionals for pieces like ‘How to Make the Most Out of Your Space’.
Drift is another website with a full on hub for valuable content. If you don’t know, Drift is a SaaS company that specializes in conversational marketing. Their core product is their customizable chatbot. But they create so much content for marketers, not just conversational marketing content either. It’s high quality, valuable content across most marketing channels. Drift grew their blog from 200 to 27,000 visitors by going hard on the content marketing.