Why you need a content strategy

Yes – it’s an increasingly overused cliché, but when it comes to digital marketing, content really is king.

Back in the day, simply having a website put you ahead of most of your competitors. And all you had to do to get SEO results was to put keywords in your meta tags and scatter them through your pages, build a few (directory) links – and that was job done. But as millions of new sites launch onto the web, and SEO competition becomes more fierce, Google has made it increasingly difficult to reach the heady heights of its first page listings. And rightly so.

When consumers use Google, they expect to find genuinely useful sites that will answer their needs. Not just the ones which have a few keywords stuffed in the title tags. And the sites which are now finding their way to the top of the rankings and into consumers’ bookmarks are those that are built on high quality, useful content which not only answers customer questions, but also builds trust and rapport with the brand.

Take our video about Bob, for example:

Bob’s goal was to increase sales. In order to do this, he realised he needed to reach potential buyers at the start of their buying process – and to engage with them in an effort to help guide their purchasing decision, building brand affinity and top of mind awareness as they moved closer to the point of purchase.

As with any good content strategy, Bob’s approach was based around the three ‘Es’: educating, engaging and/or entertaining his website users. In order to do this, Bob took time to understand what it was that customers consistently wanted to know (like how much does it cost to look after pets) – and then created content which answered those frequently asked questions.

This is exactly what users want to see. Good quality, relevant content that answers the query they have posed to the search engine. What’s more, as other people around the web begin to realise that Bob has great content, they will begin to link to it. And as the search engines see all this ‘endorsement’, they will understand that Bob’s site is the expert in its field – and will consequently rank it higher.

People who may otherwise have never found the site now do – and also begin to realise how great Bob’s content is, and that he’s the pet care expert. So they buy from him. And they share his content across social media – and yet more people hear about him and buy from him. And so it snowballs.

You get the point. Content is king because it is the honey that draws both user-bees and search-engine-bees to your site. And the virtuous circle that creates enables you to reach more people and, hopefully, make more sales for your business.

What type of content is best?
These days, content isn’t only words on a page. In fact, ‘rich’ content such as imagery, videos, infographics and so on can be far more engaging – and also far more likely to be shared or linked to.

Different types of content appeal to different people, so if budgets allow, it’s worth trying to create as many different formats as possible. Such as:

• Articles or blogs
• How to guides
• Videos
• Infographics
• Pictures or photos
• Case studies

And don’t forget to promote your content too – across social media, within newsletters, with internal links on your site, by word of mouth and so on. There’s a lot of content out there on the world wide web – so make sure it’s yours that people come to, not someone else’s.

How frequently should you post content?
Great content cannot be a one-off push. To be an authority in your field, you need to be on the ball with new information all the time. This ensures that people will revisit your site, knowing there will be new content to enjoy. It also means the search engines understand that your site is ‘dynamic’ and is worthy of ranking highly.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study found that the average consumer now looks at 10.4 pieces of information before making a purchase decision – so the more of that information they are able to find on your site, the better your chances are that they will go on to buy from you.

Building a strategy
Make sure you monitor which pieces of content are getting the most engagement – and learn from it! Your Analytics account will show you what has had most visits – and which have resulted in sales. This can then feed in to the development of new content.

And finally – get cracking! Even if it seems overwhelming, make a start. Post a blog a week. Get used to writing. And most of all – enjoy being able to share your expertise!