So, what are the benefits of content marketing?
The question brings to mind Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when John Cleese’s Reg asks what the Romans had ever done for the people of Palestine.
Roads, security, sanitation, law and order and the aquaduct form part of a long response, which Cleese’s character patiently adds to the list.
A similar answer could be derived when you look at how content marketing can help build an all-encompassing marketing strategy. It has many advantages, too.
Although commentators have been pushing the concept of companies producing their own editorial over the past two years, few have taken the trouble to explain content marketing’s numerous benefits.
So what are they?
Here we run over why – and how – you can use it.
SEO and content marketing
Yes, plenty has also been written about the demise of SEO. How the bigger brands now dominate Google, which has raised the bar to the point where it is near impossible to get on to the first page for many high-ranking words.
At the same time, you have to be in it to win it.
The fact is there are plenty of keywords and phrases that are still within the grasp of ordinary mortals. Indeed, thousands of high-traffic low-competition phrases are coming up each day that marketers don’t know about.
Click to Tweet – There are plenty of high traffic keywords and phrases are within reach of mere mortals
But you can’t get to them without content. Content must contain keywords. And let’s not forget pictures with alt tags and video.
Without content there is nothing to promote – something e-commerce sites are steadily realising.
PPC and content marketing
According to some, pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the antithesis of content marketing. One advantage of the latter is that you don’t have to pay Mark Zuckerberg.
However, it is reasonable to argue that you can combine the two.
For example, quality content can be used to create the basis for inspiring pay-per-click ads on platforms such as Facebook.
Additionally, PPC can be used to jumpstart your content marketing campaign. This is largely because Google now takes at least a couple of weeks to index pages.
Content marketing and PPC can complement each other. This is how:
First, you must create high-quality content – preferably long-form with plenty of images and multimedia.
The reason why you must work up content first is that the ads will be based around it.
Then you must establish your campaign. Know your audience. Understand where you will be targeting your ads. Create interesting headlines. Collect and convert the leads.
Social media, networks and content marketing
Like PPC, attracting leads is the name of the game. Then content marketing is an excellent fit with building a social media following or an email list.
While 140-character tweets might be interesting for some, ultimately people want depth.
If they know there will be interesting articles trailed within the tweets or updates, it is obvious that readers will be more likely to share.
A fine example of this is Coca-Cola. The drinks manufacturer, one of the biggest proponents of content marketing, judges ROI on social sharing.
It doesn’t look at money or traffic. Coca-Cola simply analyses social media buzz as the indicator of successful content.
Likewise, content is the only thing with which to build an email newsletter list.
Why should you do this? Because email has vastly superior response rates to any other form of distribution – around 20 per cent interaction and the benefit of being free to use.
These are just a few of the uses for content marketing – extending far beyond simply putting it up on the website and providing information to casual browsers or potential customers.
Content marketing can provide benefits that allow other forms of marketing to shine and prosper.