Being ‘content' with content - Why content must be part of any online strategy in 2018

Content is King. Marketers have been trotting out that phrase for years now, and there are those who find it incredibly annoying. In fact, some think the whole concept of content marketing is annoying, overly time and resource consuming, and, in the minds of some, not particularly proven to be as effective as a marketing technique. These are the people who balk at the idea of getting too heavily involved in content creation to market their brand because they are convinced there must be an easier way.

Whatever you personally think about content marketing though, the simple fact is that if it is not part of your online marketing strategy for 2018, then you will be starting the year at a huge disadvantage compared to your competition who have embraced the concept.

Why? There are probably hundreds of reasons that content marketing experts could cite, but here we've listed just some of the most compelling.

1 Content matters to consumers

In today's always connected world, the average consumer's appetite for good content is larger than ever before. They are however looking for what they consider to be high quality, valuable content that entertains or informs. At the same time, they are becoming more and more resistant to the 'hard sell', the blatant advertising that people distrust more than ever before.

Most consumers research their purchase online, even if they intend to complete it offline. If they find themselves hungry in an unfamiliar town rather than risk suffering their way through a bad meal they head to Yelp! to check out what others say about their local dining choices. Even if they pass by a massive billboard advertising a local gourmet burger joint that looks flashy enough they'll still check its Yelp! score before they choose it.

This applies to almost every purchasing decision right now. Need to choose between two brands of lipstick? Head to YouTube to see what the beauty vloggers have to say about them. Not sure which hotel to book for the annual family holiday? Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor. And the list of examples could go on and on.

The fact is that consumers are actively seeking out content online to help them make right decisions, but they do not want to be sold to. A Roper Survey found that 70% of those they surveyed preferred to learn about brands and their offerings via articles and social media instead of advertising and 60% said that they felt that such content helps them make better purchasing decisions. That’s precisely the reason why forward-thinking brands, such as Planet Fitness, are building communities and engage their customers in creating content.

If you fail to create communities and engage your customers in creating content, and rely instead purely on paid advertisements, you are not doing yourself, or your business any favours and you may even damage your brand reputation if you rely solely on paid advertising to try to get your message across.

2. Content matters to search engines

Search engines have become the go-to place that people head to gather both information and search for solutions to their problems. For example, practically no one makes use of printed encyclopedia anymore, they check Wikipedia instead. And when was the last time you saw someone pull out an actual paper map? A long time ago we'll bet.

The same holds true for purchasing decisions of all kinds, which is why any business' search engine ranking - its place in the SERPS - is still so crucial.

Google says that its ranking algorithms take hundreds of different factors into account, but they make no secret of the fact that content is indeed a biggie. Google rewards those who provide up-to-date, high-quality content and punishes those who publish spammy, low-quality stuff. But it goes further than that – Brian Dean from Backlinko recently listed 200 ranking factors. If you are new to content marketing and SEO, check our blog listing four things every marketer should know about SEO.

You're a lawyer looking for new clients, but you don't have a blog on your website because it's too time-consuming? Then what is it that will attract search bots back to your site as they crawl around regularly to ensure search results remain fresh and relevant? Not a lot.

To remain relevant in the SERPS any business needs to provide an ongoing supply of fresh content that will not only keep search bots coming back to their site but interested humans as well.

3. Content matters for businesses

Like it or loathe it, content matters for businesses of all kinds. If you are the kind of person who likes to be shown the money in the form of statistics, consider these:

  • Compare content marketing to paid search, and content marketing garners three times the leads per spend. (Kapost)
  • While gathering three times the leads, content marketing, on average, costs 62% less than paid advertising (Kapost)
  • 615 million Internet users worldwide now make use of adblockers. Paid ads are seen far less frequently across the board in 2017 that was the case just three years ago. (PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report)
  • Small businesses who maintain a blog on their website gain, on average, 126% more leads than their direct competitors who do not (Impactbnd)

We could go on, but by now you'll have seen the point. Even if you personally have still not quite embraced the idea of including content marketing in your plans at this point, it's time to get over your objections and dive in, before your competition gains advantages from their content marketing efforts that are hard to overcome, in 2018 and for years to come.

Still worried that it’s all too much work? The Flockler Social Media Aggregator will make things a lot easier, so that is something well worth checking out.

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