Content Marketing: Tell Me Why, What, And How, Then Tell Me Who and Where

Content marketing

I’ve been helping a couple of clients to create content marketing campaigns, but I had to sort out a mess first. They’d got into a tangle because they made it too complicated.

Every piece of content you create must have a goal, which is part of a content strategy.

Content marketing is simple as long as you know your goals, and what each piece of content is supposed to do: give pre-sales information, or sell.

As I said in this post, Copywriting: Why Should I Buy from You? | Angela Booth’s Creativity Factory:

“Before he buys, every customer goes through various stages. Firstly, he becomes aware that he has a painful situation. He may have acne, or be up to his ears in debt. She may be planning a wedding, or a couple may be looking for finance for their new home.

At this early stage, your customer needs informational copy. If you haven’t written material which helps the customer before he’s ready to buy, do that first. Give your early-stage customers all the information they need to buy from you.”

Pre-sales info: why, what and how

Informational copy, which aims to pre-sell, focuses on why, what, and how. When you’re creating this kind of content, aim to make it as evergreen as you can. Sometimes this isn’t possible, because you’re tying this content to a specific product, which you may not be selling in two years. However, keep “evergreen” in mind.

These days, with Google’s constant updates, forget trying to “rank” this kind of content. Be happy that you’re giving your prospective, and current customers, valuable information. Chances are that you’ll rank anyway.

Sales content: who and where

Sales content is written by your copywriter, and its aim is to sell, either directly, or indirectly. This is “who” and “where” content.

This kind of content can be subtle. It can tell a story. In Australia, AAMI’s “Rhonda” campaign tells a story, and subtly sells.

If you’re not familiar with “Rhonda”, here’s one of the ads.

Advertising Versus Content Marketing

Content marketing
I know content marketing works. I should. I’ve used it as my sole form of promotion since 2000.. but. When it comes to clients, content marketing is HARD to explain. Advertising gets results. It’s fast.

I do my best explaining content marketing, of course.

Not as well as Neil Patel does on this blog post, Why Content Marketing is the New SEO:

“If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent  $822,840. And that wouldn’t even give you high quality links. We naturally got from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.

If you want to buy 41,359 tweets, it would cost you $82,718 assuming you paid 2 dollars a tweet. It would also cost you an additional $41,718 if you paid 2 dollars a like.”

Are your eyes popping yet?

I hope they are. BUT… clients tend to be hard-wired for advertising. It works, but once you stop paying for your advertising, the benefits stop. Newspaper ads, magazines, TV — all great, but they all stop.

Content marketing is the gift that keeps on giving.

Keep creating content, and you’ll reap the benefits. The better the content, the greater the benefits.

A tip: content marketing is not “free”. It takes time and energy, as well as great ideas, and execution. Therefore, you’ll still need to spend money. The benefits however, are much more long-lasting than advertising.

I get it. I really do. Advertising is fast, and you want leads, and sales, yesterday. Advertising will always have a place, but in 2013, do your business a favor, and budget for content marketing.

Panda and Penguin: Attack of the Traffic Killers

Relying on organic traffic is risky business. After Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, many great sites got stomped into the ground.

Theories on why sites got hit abound.

Here’s a terrific article by Glenn Gabe, 6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery | Search Engine Journal, on why a site got hit by Panda (and how it recovered):

“To put it simply, the company became complacent.  I noticed a big drop-off in the quality of content leading up to the Panda attack.  The posts and articles were thinner and didn’t really provide the level of knowledge and thought leadership that they used to provide. “

Content Marketing, Content Farms and Google’s Changes

Content sells online. That being so, the more content the better. Creating quality content takes time to create, however. Therefore huge businesses are being built on the back of not-so-great content.

Aaron Wall writes that Demand Media (which creates blizzards of content each month) is worth almost two billion dollars, in this post, Google vs Bing | SEO Book.com:

“Demand Media is currently worth $1.74 billion, but it remains to be seen what happens to the efficacy of the content farm business model if & when Google makes promised changes. “

On my freelance writing blog, I warned writers about writing for content farms in the face of Google’s promised algorithm change.

It will be interesting to see whether that change happens, because there’s so much money involved for both the content farms, and the search engines.

In Google’s Content Farm Algorithm Not Live Yet, Barry Schwartz says: “… we learned that the new algorithm that went live last week is related to blocking low quality content scraper sites and not content farms.”

Typically Google doesn’t broadcast major changes. It just makes them, often leaving thousands of online businesses devastated. However, when Google can’t easily make changes algorithmically, as with the commercial links marketplace, it announces “changes” and scares businesses into submission.

With billions at stake, the big players won’t scare easily.