As we move into the last quarter of 2019, it’s important to consider how your content has performed over the last year and what improvements can be made going into 2020. Is content marketing still relevant for 2020 and is content still king? Yes, content marketing will still be relevant but with Google’s recent changes, businesses need more than ever to ensure that content is helpful, relevant, and high-quality.
How is content still relevant?
Let’s think back to before digital streaming, the content was the television program or film you were watching. The advertisements were the thing you had to sit through to get to the good stuff. Sometimes, those advertisements were fun to watch or memorable, but that’s beside the point. The content was the stuff you were watching. Now, thanks to clever marketing, we consume content that is the entertainment and the advertisement. Businesses aim to design content that informs you, helps you, but sells you something too, even if it’s just planting a seed for later down the road. Advertising is less blatant. It’s no longer “Hey, every other product that does the same thing as ours is terrible. Use our product.” It’s more like “These other people have good products, sure, but here’s where our product has a slight edge. Plus, we donate 10% of the proceeds to charity. Go us! Giving back. Choose us and you can feel better about yourself too. And you get a great product, don’t forget.”
Also, think about your favorite movies and television shows (even on Netflix), you’ll likely have noticed people drinking Coca-Cola and typing on their Macs or wearing the latest Louboutin shoes. Advertising is more subtle now (and blatant at the same time) but these cool actors using these products influence us. Just as now companies are going more small-scale and snapping up branding deals with social media influencers and micro-influencers. The influencers create the content around these products via imagery, text, videos, and so on that speaks to their target audience. They tailor the branding and wording to that audience. They claim authenticity and word of mouth is powerful. It’s the whole “Hey, followers, I really, genuinely use this product and you should too. I don’t promote products I don’t believe in so I’m being authentic.”
So, what does that mean for you? That means that consumers are wising up and they want a message that is tailored to them. You really need to understand your audience and speak to them specifically and meaningfully. Many people do not mind being marketed to anymore but they want the pain points to speak to their problems, to solve something.
Create valuable content
Early SEO valued pieces that used your keywords multiple times, so you could write anything as long as it was keyword-stuffed. Google is more subtle now. It values content that is genuinely helpful to your audience and meets their needs. When creating content value is key. You need to create valuable content that can inform purchase decisions. Sure, people can conduct their own research, but if you’ve created a guide that compares the top five products in your industry, then you’re golden. You’ve provided something helpful that consumers can use to guide their decisions in an informed way.
Useful can be defined in several ways, though, depending on your audience.
- Useful content – creates brand loyalty, content that helps consumers achieve a goal
- Informative content – creates value through education, teaching the consumer something they need to know (how-to guides, for example)
- Entertaining content – content that people find fun like memes, videos or infographics, content that goes viral, but with the beginning goal of engaging your audience
The best kind of shareable content focuses on what’s trending, makes readers feel something, engages with your audience, doesn’t sound like a direct advertisement, validates your audience’s opinions, and tells a story (maybe not all at once).
Focus on distribution
Even if you have the best content imaginable, if you don’t share it somehow, it’s not very useful. Do your customers know where to find your content? Do they know what sort of content you have available? Most people know that you need a web presence through an amazing website and even a social media page or two, but what are you sharing on those pages? Useful content creates the best ROI and is what is known in marketing as ‘evergreen,’ people will revisit it again and again and it drives overall value for your business. Always create a place where your content can be found easily, but make sure you distribute your content on social media to let people know what you have. Try and tailor your social media messaging to a pain point of your consumers (if relevant). For example, “If you have trouble correcting 303 redirects to up your SEO game, check out our latest blog post.”
You can also offer sharing incentives such as offering freebies or a discount at random if people share the content and tag two friends, for example. Even if you offer a few prizes, the overall cost to your company is minimal, but the outreach you’ll gain and brand awareness is immeasurable.
Realize the value of content as advertising
11% of the global population blocks advertisements, which translates to about 615 million devises. That means that if you’re paying for paid ads, those target consumers may not even see them and that ad spend is potentially wasted. But if your content itself is advertising, then you’re unaffected by these statistics. Blog posts, articles, videos, and podcasts are better ways to advertise to your consumers more subtly just as long as you’re creating valuable content that entertains, informs, or is useful in some way. People will come to you for answers to their Google queries or via social media. They may share your content if it’s particularly relevant or particularly funny.
Add value to the customer relationship
Past content simply created brand awareness for customers, but now it’s evolving the customer relationship. Prior to this, the goal was to provide enough content to get customers to make a first-time purchase. But now, businesses realize that repeat business is more valuable than all the money it takes to attract new business. Content can create a way to keep your customers happy over time, nurturing that relationship and bringing in new customers via happy existing ones. Content that creates long-term engagement are things like FAQ pages. For example, if you sell a product that needs care instructions or how-to-use this product instructions, you’ve now created engagement.
High-quality, engaging content is one of the most valuable tools you can create for your company. Not only can you create lasting bonds with your consumers but you will also recoup any investment you have made. So, if you’re considering what to do with your marketing efforts for 2020, ensure you’re making an investment in the future of your content. Clean up your content, repurpose it, make it more engaging, and make it more valuable overall.
If you need help creating compelling content, get in touch with Key Medium today.
Want to read more about content creation?
Here are some articles you may find useful to get started on creating compelling content.
- Why Blogging Matters & Best Practices
- Website Performance Metrics
- Content Strategy vs. Content Tactics
- A Guide to Identifying Keyword Intent
Elaine Frieman holds a Master’s Degree and is a UK-based professional editor, educational writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, traveling, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.