How to Really be Successful at Content Marketing
There has been a lot of fuss in the past months over the years about what is content marketing and how to do it successfully. Unfortunately, the real answer can get lost in this sea of misinformation.
Content marketing can be powerful, but it should be done in a specific way. Let's talk about some possible remedies for your content marketing ailments.
The Internet is full of spammy content. This is why many talk about oversaturation as the main problem in today's world of content marketing. In actuality, though, the kind of content that is considered to clutter the web space is in fact content that should never have been placed in the first place. The problem is that the connection between link- building and written and visual content has become a bit blurred.
On one hand, marketers try to establish lasting connections between authoritative websites and their clients. This is what search engine optimization is all about. On the other hand, users are searching for useful information through the use of search engines, i.e. they do not care about the links. Spammy content finds its way into existence through the intervention of those marketers that do not care about the consumer or the value of the information they are publishing. This does not mean that all content marketing will come to an end, but for them the future is bleak and so they whine.
The Problem of Spammy Content
Link building was once very much different than it is today. Somewhere in the mid-2000s, the Gooogle's algorithm was much simpler. Digital marketers would then only focus on placing as many links as possible to the page whose ranking they wanted to improve. And it really worked. The "link juice" alone would move the page up in search results because it was connected to a lot of pages with strong or medium ranking.
You did not even have to have an article in place or anchor text for that matter. Link farms were thriving. Over the years, the spam became unbearable to Google and its users. This is why such pages were penalized and link farms burned to the ground.
In the period between old-school link building and this new kind of content marketing, there appeared tons of sites whose only purpose was manipulating the search engine. These websites were only used for placing poorly written, often niche- specific pieces of content.
The content contained anchor text links that 90% of the time weren't natural. For example, a gambling site would advertise itself through a text about handling one's personal finance. These badly disguised links were easy to spot, so Google kept on with the penalties. But did we learn?
The Problem of Today's Written Content
Today, the face of the internet has changed a lot. Website design is much more appealing and the existing websites stopped being link farms that only serve SEO's purpose, but they sometimes contain useful information too. However, this is still rarely the case. Why?
First of all, it is much more difficult to write original, well-researched articles than it is to copy some existing ones, and people are greedy. Marketers do not really care about the user, well, this is true for most of them at least. So, those kinds of marketers, we can call them lazy, we can call them devious or just uninterested, will try to manipulate the search engine the old-school way.
Website owners and editors are usually doing a good job, but when approached by a "guest blogger" or a marketer, they just do not know what to expect. Usually, the case will be that "lazy" and greedy marketers will pay an amateur freelancer to write low- quality, cheap (!) content and insert links to their client's website (many of which pay good money for that kind of a lousy service). This approach requires minimum effort and time and gives back ludicrous amounts of cash. This is why we talk about oversaturation, as there is too many of us who do low- quality work. But we can do better.
The Kind of Content That Makes Everyone Happy
It is not just content marketing that will help a client's brand to become visible and establish the return on investment. It is not enough to just blog. In this awesome article, the man behind a certain pool company explains how content marketing in itself did not help save his business from bankruptcy. In fact, it was something quite the obvious and that is catering to his user's needs.
Namely, when placing a new product, in this case, a pool design, he and his colleague gave a detailed explanation of every aspect of the product, they answered any possible customer question and made useful and informative pages that users would love reading through because they are actually interested in buying a pool.
So, aside from having to be fun to read, or at least easy to comprehend, the written content that is centered around a specific product or an industry has to be informative and practical. We do not have to talk about love in order to sell a barbecue. (5 Tips on How to Save a Relationship- buy her this beautiful barbecue). No, we have to talk about whatever we might thinks that the customer will want to know about.
Users do not want to read about saving a relationship and then come across a link for such an unrelated product. Links are not THAT important. Yes, they are important, but they have to be in a natural setting and provide direct value to the reader. Business owners must understand that pushing their product everywhere will not guarantee sales, it will only create the bad reputation and disgust.
Seriously, hiring a digital agency is a must nowaday, but it has to be a good one. Check out what they did in the past and decide for yourself. After all, if you spread good- quality information, consumers will spread good words about your company and product as well.
Be user- centric. Mind the consumer. Love thy customer. They need your product, but they also need other products as well. I am now talking to both marketers and business owners- stay concentrated on your main purpose, on the main purpose of your product. Help users find out about it, do not make them do their own research by following a random link. And, please, fix your websites, often times they are just awful.