For years now, content marketing has been a core part of every digital business marketing strategy. The reason? When done well, it’s an excellent way to build an audience for a brand or product, and keep their attention over time.
The key phrase there is “done well.” Not all marketing practitioners heed those words, and as a result, aren’t getting the results they want. That has opened the door to some serious misinformation.
The irony is, most of those articles are examples of content marketing working precisely as intended. And if you believe their premise, the author has achieved their two purposes: you’re interested in whatever they’re selling as an alternative, and you’ve given up on content marketing (which means less competition for them).
The reality is, content marketing isn’t going away anytime soon, and making it work requires some discipline and focus. For those getting started, or that have been having difficulty executing a successful content marketing strategy, here are the keys to effective content marketing in 2018.
Quality Over Quantity
Many marketers make the mistake of focusing on quantity when designing a content marketing strategy. That is difficult to accomplish unless they have access to a large pool of talented writers that can produce can’t-miss material. For most businesses, that’s a pretty tall order. Instead, it’s far more effective to focus on creating consistent, high-quality material.
The key is to know your audience, and what problems your business can solve for them. In short: stick to what you’re good at. It’s far better to create a single high-quality useful article per month than a dozen mediocre ones. That will ensure that potential customers know that not only is it worthwhile to revisit your website but that it’s the place to turn for authoritative information.
Focus Where Competition Isn’t
Although it may seem like an obvious bit of advice, tailoring content to avoid competing for views with others isn’t just a good idea, it’s now mandatory for content marketing success.
That means effective content should strive to be unique, useful, and filled to the brim with information. To help it stand out, it should be focused on answering a specific question or associated with a long-tail keyword.
Well-chosen long-tail keywords can drive traffic just as well as dominating search results for popular individual keywords, and informative quality content will make the most of the traffic that does arrive.
Take, for example, this step-by-step guide to buying a diamond. It accomplishes everything that good content marketing should. It’s easy to read, contains a wealth of information, and it establishes authority. As a result, it ranks very high for searches with the combinations of the phrases “diamonds,” “guide,” and “step-by-step.” That’s quite the accomplishment in such a crowded industry.
Be The Answer
These days, search engines like Google are doing everything in their power to save their uses time in every way they can. One of the ways they’re trying to do it is by providing rich results on their search pages. That content includes video results, specific answers to user queries, and data compilation tables about a given topic. That’s great news for searchers, but for content marketers, it represents a challenge – and a new opportunity.
The way Google finds the specific content to display on their search engine results pages is through what is known as “structured data.” Basically, that is code added to a webpage that tells the search engine what kind of data is on a page, how they may use it, and how to display it.
Any content marketer that isn’t making use of structured data on their pages is missing out on the opportunity to feature prominently in search results. After all, nothing screams “authority” like Google’s blessing in the form of a rich search result.
Give it Time
The last (and some would say most important) key to a successful content marketing effort is patience. Even the best content marketing initiatives don’t pay off overnight, so it’s vital to stick to the plan and maintain the effort over the long term. That is the only way to grow an audience for the content that is being produced and convert that attention into sales. Viewers won’t trust you immediately, but when they do, they’ll always come back for more.
Think Amazon – an online book retailer that became one of the largest and most dominant businesses on earth. Their secret – hidden in plain sight – isn’t their low prices; it’s the volume of content available on the platform.
Need a product review? Amazon. Need product specs? Amazon. Want detailed pictures of an item? Amazon. It took them over twenty years to get where they are, and they had the patience to keep up their efforts throughout.
Content is Still King
While there are other ways to market a business, it’s beyond dispute that excellent content marketing is still critical to overall success. If some are ready to declare it dead and move on, let them. That will thin the competition for those with the foresight to get their content marketing strategy right and build for the future.
If you’ve made it this far, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll end up doing just that.
Author: Philip Piletic’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. He’s an editor, writer, marketing consultant and guest author at several authority websites. In love with startups, latest tech trends and helping others get their ideas off the ground. he’d like to thank Deal on the Web for their help with this article.