Many experts predict that 2015 will be a big year for content marketing. According to recent studies, more than half of content marketing budgets will be increased in 2015, and content marketing alone will be a $100 billion industry sometime in the near future.
There is no question that content marketing is increasingly being adopted and expanded across a wide range of industries and economic sectors. The real question is: why?
The bottom line is that content marketing has proven to be an effective way to drive both traffic and revenue to companies, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing efforts. The following are a few of the specific ways that content marketing can help drive both traffic and revenue to your company.
Over the years, Google has made constant updates to its search engine in an effort to serve better results to their users. One of the ways Google has accomplished this is by directly combating marketing firms that tried to “game” the search engine by simply “keyword stuffing” low-quality content. In the past, these low-quality articles could often find themselves at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), even though they were clearly not the best result for users. In response, Google has changed their algorithm to highly value quality of content over simply the right quantity of words.
These ongoing changes mean that it is increasingly important for marketers to produce high-quality content that provides useful and unique information. Doing so can mean the difference between being highly ranked on Google and not showing up at all.
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods for building web traffic and sales, when looking at the long-term. While it can take some time for the benefits of content marketing to really show themselves, it is important to remember two characteristics of content marketing:
Studies also increasingly show that Internet users (and particularly Millennials) do not like, and will not respond positively to the “hard sell”. Content marketing allows a company to position the benefits and rationale for a product or service in a non-threatening and non-aggressive way. At the same time, content can provide a powerful and convincing argument for an idea, product, or service without coming across as simply a sales tactic.
Content marketing is one of the best returns on investment in any marketing budget because the brand awareness it can help generate is long-lasting and comes at far less cost than more traditional paid advertising. At the same time, content marketing encourages an audience to engage with the company, and with each other, through a commenting system or on social media platforms.
At the end of the day, content marketing is popular because it is an effective way to reach your target audience in a friendly and engaging, yet also informative and persuasive way.
Google is perhaps the most well-known Internet company on the face of the Earth. It is by far the largest search engine in the world (by a large margin), and where a Web page ends up on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) can be the difference between success and failure. With such importance, it stands to reason that Google has an impact on a wide range of business aspects, including the content marketing industry.
Google’s search engine is constantly being updated, the most recent series of updates being known collectively as the “Penguin” updates. Google’s primary goal is keeping and growing its share of the search engine industry, particularly because Google’s search engine remains its primary revenue driver. This means that Google is in a constant battle with individuals and organizations that want to manipulate Google’s search engine algorithm to their benefit.
Google has constantly made updates and iterations to its algorithm with one primary goal in mind: improving the quality of search results. Over time, this has meant an increasing focus on high-quality, unique and lengthy content as opposed to generic content filled with the “perfect” cocktail of keywords.
These changes are a good thing for everyone (except those who were used to exploiting Google’s algorithm). Google benefits because it is able to provide a higher-quality experience for its users while the users themselves are able to find better content from their searches.
That being said, the question of companies that do not aim to “game” Google’s algorithm but simply want to generate traffic through Google searches should be considered, as well.
Back in 2013 and 2014, when Google made major changes to its algorithm, many companies were terrified to see that their website traffic dropped dramatically. It seemed like overnight, the number of hits their pages were receiving from Google cratered almost to nothing, and many were frantic to understand exactly how this could happen. As it turned out, many companies had trusted their Internet marketing strategies to companies that had simply posted low-quality, generic fluff on their clients’ websites while charging exorbitant premiums for the content. While this strategy had worked in the past, Google’s algorithms were updated to no longer allow this type of practice to be effective.
The digital marketing industry was forced to adapt. Those who were unwilling or unable to do so lost business (and ultimately went or will go out of business themselves) while those who were able to adjust to the new reality of “quality and quantity” were able to thrive. This, in turn, caused what could be called a renaissance in the content marketing industry.
Content marketing in 2015 looks completely different than it did just a few short years ago. Today, content marketing is all about providing high-quality, unique, shareable content for readers. Instead of trying to game the system by keyword stuffing, content marketing is about providing real value.
It is worth noting that the ultimate goal of content marketing has remained largely unchanged. That is to say, content marketing is still about driving traffic and conversions for a company. However, the method for accomplishing that goal is now audience-focused instead of simply focused on how to manipulate Google’s search engine algorithms to artificially boost a website’s traffic and SERP ranking.
For companies willing to adjust to the new realities of content marketing, the future is certainly bright. The key is learning to evolve alongside Google’s constantly improved algorithms. While it might seem like a lot of work, it truly is a win-win for everyone involved.