Content: What is it Good For?

Cassie Smith

You can’t do any kind of research into digital marketing without running into the word “content,” and the phrase “content is king.” While I’m definitely a proponent of businesses and organizations using content, I’m usually more concerned that that content is being utilized strategically. IMHO, way too many businesses throw up blogs because they know they’re supposed to make content, but don’t actually understand the purpose of that content, who they’re making it for, or what types make the most sense for their KPIs.

Before we get into all that, I want to take a second to talk about what content actually is. Essentially, content is published material. It comes in the form of blogs, social media images and captions, newsletters, videos, articles, emails, long-form material such as white papers, site copy, podcasts, polls, etc. Some sites, such as WebMD are built entirely on content. Other companies, such as Urban Outfitters include a blog on their ecommerce site.

Why You Should Make Content
In the Wild West of the Interwebz, early-adopting companies that took advantage of Google’s content-loving algorithm were rewarded with a high ranking and therefore clicks to their site. While this is still true in 2019, millions of other companies are also producing content, making the marketplace crowded. To make it even more difficult, Google has put the smack-down on content-acting-as-advertisement. And, companies who pay for search ads wind up at the top of the list over organic search results.

Although it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get eyeballs on your content, creating it can still be a useful marketing investment.

Primarily, content can help your company, foundation, or organization build trust with your desired audience. In order for this to work, however, you need to think of your marketing strategy a little differently. For most businesses, a marketing funnel starts wide and gets progressively smaller as the target gets more and more interested and likely to buy.

On the content side, however, the funnel is flipped.  Your very-targeted content should have a fairly small, but highly-engaged audience. By producing strategic, helpful content, you can build trust. An audience who trusts your business will more likely to buy, and more importantly, talk to other people about your product/brand/experience. It doesn’t take an MBA to know that word of mouth is the most effective marketing tool. Plus, it’s FREE.

Producing content is also a great way to establish your brand voice, style, and values. Your content needs to match what your business stands for. The content should help create the digital “feel” of your company. The content doesn’t necessarily need to center around the actual product you’re making or service you’re providing, but it should serve your target audience relevant information about their interests in the context of your business and expertise.

Creating content can also help your business differentiate against competition. Do you want your brand to be youthful, targeting gen Zers? Then part of your business plan should be to develop content that would interest your audience on the platforms your audience uses. Or, if you’re more concerned about positioning your business as a house of experts, then your content should reflect thought leadership.

Why You’re F*cking It Up
So, yes, content is an important part of brand-, audience-, and expertise-building. HOWEVER, writing blogs, making posts on social, and publishing a YouTube video every now and again is not strategic. Before you begin making content, it’s imperative you think about the how’s and the why’s of your approach to content.

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand your target market:

  • Who are you talking to?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • How to they consume media?
  • Are you building an editorial calendar that pairs business goals with your publication strategy?
  • Can you commit to publishing consistently?

It’s also important you know best practices of any platforms you’re using to create content. For example, you’re making videos for YouTube:

  • Are you doing all the right things on the back-end?
  • Are you tagging appropriately?
  • Utilizing metadata?
  • Are your videos long enough?
  • Are you tracking how many people are watching and how long they’re engaged?
  • Are you giving them a reason to stay on your channel?
  • Can you measure how those videos are helping people engage with your brand?

If you’re creating blogs or articles:

  • Are you writing with an eye for SEO?
  • Are being strategic with your keywords?
  • Are you paying attention to what has search volume and what doesn’t?
  • Are you writing in the voice and style that will best engage your target audience?
  • Do you have a plan for revisiting your published content in order to make them more relevant and increase searchability as search engines change?

If you want to do more on social media:

  • Are you watching trends?
  • Do you measure which posts do well and which ones don’t?
  • Do you have goals for followers or engagement?
  • Do you understand the differences between the various platforms and the types of content that do best on each one?

If you don’t know the answers to the questions above, your content probably isn’t finding the right people. Without good strategy and proper measuring, releasing published material into the ether does nothing for you. Your content will just swirl around, catching a few eyeballs here and there. If you’re constantly trying to “reach everyone,” chances are you’re reaching no one. 

Making Strategic Content
I can’t give away all my secrets—that’s why they pay me the big bucks. But, I can give you a few ideas to help you get started, (or restarted), on the right foot.

  1. Research your target market.
  2. Invest in analytical tools.
  3. Set goals for your content.

Want more help with your content strategy? HIT US UP!