The Grossly Exaggerated Rumors of the Death of Content
Long Live Content!
You’ve heard the phrase, “Content is king.” SBI! owners have done this for years: create great and valuable content, attract targeted traffic, PREsell that traffic (Be cool! Don’t be pushy!), and then monetize in bunches of different ways. That is a proven method of success that works as well today as it did 15 years ago.
Content Marketing Defined
From the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)…
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” (emphasis added)
Also from CMI…
“Consider these data points:
- 86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago.
- More than two-thirds of the marketing leaders interviewed as part of our executive research see their entire marketing department restructuring to address content marketing needs.”
Whether you’re writing for other businesses (B2B), or for consumers (B2C), content marketing is the way to get to your audience.
You might find a lot of money in words. If you need incentive to write, let’s talk about how that “write and grow rich” formula works. Content really can lead to dollars in the bank.
How Did the Rumors of the Death of Content Start?
In the past few weeks I have received emails with subject lines like these…
Content marketing is dead
No one is reading your content
Get attention for your content
Frankly, for a moment I thought everyone else knew something I hadn’t caught onto yet. But then I realized… these people are using content to get to me. They got my attention.
However, because people are shouting (frequently!) that content is dead, I want to shout, “Long live content!”
Contrary to what these headlines would have us believe, content marketing is still gaining as the preferred method for reaching customers at all level of business. It’s not the fast track, but it is the track that helps your customers to learn about what you’re offering, learn about you, and to learn from you. Build trust and you’ll have raving fans.
Let’s talk about how successful marketers are using content these days, and what exactly is good content anyway?
Content Is Words
First and foremost, content is the words on the screen. If your site is about fly fishing and you want to sell your beautiful, hand-made, custom bamboo fly fishing poles, your site might be an information site about fly fishing in general. Research the keywords that people use to search for information about fly fishing, and write about what they’re looking for. The more you fish, the more fish stories you have, and the more you can brag about how your fancy bamboo poles helped you to bag the big one!
Content Is Images
The old saying is, “A picture tells 1,000 words.” That expression is true, for humans. However, online we also have to consider the search engines. The good news is that your images can take advantage of tags. It’s how you attach words to the images on your site and make those pretty pictures work for you.
Content Is Audio and Video
People want to consume content in a variety of ways. I’ve heard some speculation that Google can actually pull keywords out of audio or video. I’ve read elsewhere that Google might actually transcribe video in the background to pull out keywords. I don’t know if either of these methods is real, but I do know that you can create your own audio and video transcripts to optimize your audio and video content. Audio and video are so easy to create now. Smartphones and laptops have all of the technology you need to get started. Podcasts and YouTube videos add to your customers’ experiences using your site. And, to use our fly fishing example again, you can also repackage content using all of these methods.
- Write a great article about your fishing excursion.
- Take beautiful photos with your phone of the natural surroundings, the spectacular fish, the bear that chased you down the stream (OK, maybe don’t stop to snap the bear, but you know what I mean).
- Make a video of the trip. You can let people feel they’re there with you if you show the pristine camp, the solitary fishing hole, and even show you and your friends casting in your waders.
- You can create The One that Got Away Podcast, a regular (or irregular) podcast of you and a friend telling fish stories, interviewing other fly fishing aficionados, sharing tips about fly tying, sharing reviews about gear, and more.
- You can also do periodic Google+ Hangouts on Air. These could be live events where you can talk with your audience about the gear, the best places to fish, and all of the professional level fish stories that will bait your customers into buying your custom poles. You and your guests are the authorities on fishing, and your viewers will be hooked!
Content Is Social
Different markets (think: people) have different favorite social platforms. Some markets lend themselves to Pinterest or Instagram. Others work better on Twitter. Like video? Use Facebook or YouTube. Show what you have to offer, share what you know and engage, engage, engage! You don’t have to work all of the platforms. Choose one or two to start. Make sure you link to your site and make all of your site announcements in your social channels as well as at your site.
Content Is Very Much Alive
Looking back to the start of this article, the point of content is “ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content has everything to do with making money on your site. It’s a relatively simple way for just about anyone to become an authority in your field. Forbes published some great ideas on the importance of content in marketing as the tool to use to establish yourself as a thought leader.
“Content marketing can be defined as the creation and distribution of meaningful insights, perspectives, and best practices that are valuable to a specific audience. The aim is to retain existing clients including doing more business with them and to attract new high-quality clients.”
Content Is An Investment
Look at all that content is and all it can do for you! You can easily see that if you can write and talk and use a few simple tools in your laptop and smartphone, and if you have an obsession you’d like to share with the world, you could be the next guru in your field.
The internet has leveled the playing field. Once upon a time, a person had to have 20 to 30 years of experience and publish massive volumes of information in books via publishing houses (if they could even get published), and then go through the massive undertaking of marketing the work (or hiring it done) at great effort and expense. Keep in mind that none of this effort could guarantee an audience, nor success.
Today we have 13 year olds on YouTube making gaming tutorials for mega-audiences that would baffle anyone even 20 years ago.
You can invest your time and knowledge to create a business with information you already have.
Is content dead? Far from it. Take your turn at the keyboard and see what you can share!