Want to know how your content marketing efforts will fare this year? Then check out this post to get an idea of how content marketing and SEO are doing and what you should focus on for the future.
After Google released the infamous Penguin 2.0 update, I remember reading quite a few articles on the state of SEO and content marketing. Many of them had catchy titles proclaiming the deaths of SEO and content marketing, but instead went on to explain how guest blogging (as a form of content marketing) was gone and would never return.
Many folks started to scramble after Penguin 2.0 as a result of the subsequent critiques from self-proclaimed “experts” telling them to stop guest blogging and remove all their backlinks. But as things settled down, people started to understand that it wasn’t content marketing, or even guest blogging, that was being punished. It was the sponsoring or endorsing of poorly-written content from spammy sites.
In reality, content marketing isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s far from dead, and actually expected to be a $118.4 billion business in 2013. And these aren’t the only numbers that look promising. So what does all this mean in terms of content strategy and SEO? To find out, let’s take a closer look at content marketing, where it currently stands and what that means for webmasters and business owners.
Blogging is usually one of the first things people think of when content marketing is discussed, and for good reason. It’s so popular that there are over 67 million WordPress sites in the world that produce 45.8 million new posts and 60.2 million new comments every month.
Let’s return to the data in that infographic again. The numbers are very favorable for businesses that blog; websites with blogs have 434 percent more indexed pages than static websites, and 91 percent more indexed links. And, according to Moz’s 2013 search engine ranking factors report, links are still the single most-important element of the ranking algorithm.
Blogging also pays off. B2B companies who blog claim that their blogs generate 67 percent more leads each month. If you’re interested in learning more about why blogging is necessary, check out this article on why an active blog is necessary for a successful SEO initiative.
What you can do
The key takeaway here is simple: If you aren’t maintaining an active and insightful company blog, get on it. If you’re blogging but not seeing any results, re-examine your strategy. Blogs should not be used to simply promote your company. In fact, no content marketing should be purely promotional. To reap the benefits of blogging, your posts should educate your readers or provide value in some other way. Use your blog to earn trust and build a community. When you keep your readers’ interests in mind, you’ll start to see your traffic and conversion rates improve as a result.
Other forms of content
Blogs are the cornerstone of content marketing, but there are other avenues for publishing content as well. In fact, companies with over 10,000 employees use on average 18 different content marketing tactics, that include videos, white papers, games, podcasts, emails, newsletters and infographics.
The reason so many people are dedicated to producing so much content is because:
- 58 percent of consumers trust editorial content
- 68 percent of consumers read content produced by brands they are interested in
- 78 percent of consumers believe that companies who create content do so to build good relationships
- 90 percent of consumers find value in custom content
But the most surprising statistic is the fact that 61 percent of all B2B marketers feel that webinars are the most effective tactic they use. This makes sense because people walk away from webinars having:
- Learned something interesting and useful
- The opportunity to ask questions and address concerns with a real person
- Made connections with a community of people with similar interests
Meanwhile, the marketing brains behind the webinar walk away with valuable feedback about their products or services as well as a great list of prequalified leads for their sales team to contact. And while we’re on the topic, don’t forget to utilize Google+ Hangouts when holding your own new-age webinar.
What you should do
To maximize your content marketing efforts, spend time testing different tactics to see which ones work best for you. Focus on using content to provide something that your prospective customers need, but avoid making it all about your company or products.
Executing a content marketing strategy can be an overwhelming task, so looking outside your organization for help might be a good route to take. Content marketing agencies exist for this reason.
If you still think that social media is only for teenagers, then you’re missing the boat. Social media actually has a rather unique place in content marketing. It’s a great way to connect with customers and build a strong community around your brand, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
All the content you worked hard to create can be shared with your community through various social channels. According to our beloved infographic, 87 percent of all B2B marketers use their social media resources to distribute content, and rightly so, because 23 percent of all time spent online, whether from a traditional computer or mobile device, is spent on social media sites and blogs.
In fact, the percentage of mobile-optimized content used in marketing has more than doubled from 2011, where it was at 15 percent, to 2012, where 33 percent of all content was mobile friendly.
Good content and social media have a symbiotic relationship. One of the top three reasons why a person follows a brand on social media is because they share good content.
What you can do
If you haven’t started building a community using social media channels, start doing so. After all, it’s one of the three pillars of SEO. However, keep in mind that social media is more than just creating a Facebook or Twitter account and uploading pictures of your breakfast. This is an area where I recommend getting expert advice if you’re a beginner with social media; doing it wrong could damage your brand.
Content marketing has been around since John Deere published The Furrow in 1895 so anyone who thinks its dead because of a Google update simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. The truth is, content marketing has gone through many changes over the years; in order to make it work for your company, make sure that you’re willing to change along with it.