The importance of content marketing for your business in 2016

In 2016, the importance of content marketing is set to grow an insane amountespecially if you have a business. It could make or break your online success. So what is it? And why is it so important? As a content marketer – I hope I can guide you through and let you know what it is, why it’s so important – and what you can do today to make your content marketing efforts better.

What is content marketing?

According to the content marketing institute:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

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We’ve all been there – someone mentions a buzzword and we’re nodding – but completely lost!

For those of you who have now also fallen asleep trying to read that sentence, I’ll give you my more human friendly version:

Content marketing is a marketing method that has the main goal of building a better relationship with your potential & current customers, resulting in genuine, loyal fans and more sales. It does this through the clever production and promotion of genuinely useful & popular content online – normally including blog articles on your website, making better sales pages, social media marketing, email marketing, podcasting & even making videos.

So whenever you publish an article, and tweet about it or post on Facebook – you’re performing content marketing. The real question now is – are you doing it well? And is it really that important anyway?

The importance of content marketing

Again, to quote the CMI:

Marketing is impossible without great content

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We’re absorbing content everyday on the internet

So we know your content – it’s pretty damn important to your marketing. Think about it; whenever you market anything, the most important thing is whether or not you’re reaching your goal. And without the proper message behind your marketing, it’s going to fail. Every brand has a message, from Coke to Nike. So do you – the difference between you and your competitors marketing efforts is really about how well you are delivering that message. That comes down to your entire business; from the first moment a customer hears about you to the moment they receive your service or product – you need to deliver a consistent message. Without content, your message is blank.

Online, it not only effects how people perceive your business; but it also how many people even notice your business. This is because content marketing has a huge role in your search engine rankings – and therefore your website traffic numbers. And it’s only set to get more important.

You don’t have to take my word for it either – the numbers speak for themselves. This year, 88% of B2B marketers were using content marketing and 86% of B2C marketers were already using it by 2012.

If you’re still not sure if this will make the difference for your business, try something out for me – go to your search engine and type in a search you think a customer might use to find your product or service – not your brand or company name, just the generic term for your offering e.g. ‘hotel in Dundee’ not ‘hilton hotel’ . Look at the top organic results (not the promoted ones – over 50% of clicks still go to the top 3 organic results).

Take a look at these websites and check the following:

  • Do they have a blog?
  • How many pages or articles do they have?
  • Do they have a better social media presence than you?

More than likely, if they are doing content marketing better than you – the answer is yes to all 3. But don’t panic; the best time to work on this may have been yesterday, but the second best time is today!

What you can do today to make your content marketing better

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I know a lot of you are thinking “well, thanks for that Amy, now I know the importance of content marketing, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to do to fix mine”.

Now, I can’t help all of you reign in millions of raving fans and loyal fans through one article unfortunately – but what I can do is hopefully help you on your first step along the way!

1. Optimise your content for Google

If you have wordpress, you can use the free Yoast plugin – it rocks! It’s simple to use – I’ll give you fair warning though – don’t ‘keyword stuff’. Write your article with your audience in mind, and then tweak it later so that it contains enough keywords to satisfy Google. Google is super smart and can tell when an article looks unnatural – you don’t want to get penalised, so please make sure you write an awesome article for your readers and just tweak it with Yoast. If you don’t have Wordpress, you can download my free guide by signing up to my email list; it goes into more detail about each of the steps Yoast asks you to take, so you can apply it to any site.

Another tip when you’re optimising your content – make sure you pick a relevant keyword (a keyword is the phrase you type into google, not usually just a single word). It wouldn’t make sense for me to optimise this article for the work ‘content’ for example – Yoast might think I’ve done well typing it in so many times, but that’s not what this article is actually about. Try to pick longer keywords that will make sense for a reader who’s searching for your article. For example, if you were a hotel in Dundee, you could use the keyword ‘places to visit in Dundee’ and type a good article about the different places worth visiting in Dundee. The key is to deliver quality to your readers; if you do that, Google will reward you.

2. Promote your content

If you already have great content – don’t forget to promote it. Many small businesses trip up at this step. Firstly, share your articles on your social media channels, and get involved in the conversations happening there in your industry. Get involved in forums in your industry too – and share the information where it’s relevant, especially if someone asks a question you’ve answered in an article already. Don’t forget to get involved with other people in that community and give them some attention too – you’re much more likely to get likes and shares if you do so for others first.

I hope this article helped you understand the importance of content marketing – and put you on your first steps to reaping the rewards for your business! Let me know if there’s anything you loved or hated in the comments below – I love all feedback, so don’t be shy.

If you’re stuck on what articles to write about, you might like our article about finding a topic that your customers actually want to read here. And if you’d like more help with your content marketing, you can sign up to our email list below or get in touch for weekly content marketing guidance.