If search results are what matters and you want to rise in the rankings, that’s reason enough to invest in quality content, but there’s much more at stake – and much more to be gained – by an investment in excellence. Interestingly, there’s a place for quantity, as well as quality, when planning a content-driven strategy.
To begin with, think first of how you’d like to position your business, how you’d like it to be seen by customers, partners, investors and potential hires. The characteristics you’d like to define your company that help to make up your brand don’t change much according to the industry you’re in.
The ideals are very much the same across the business spectrum. Quality content expresses those ideals, and it can accomplish a lot for your reputation and your brand.
• Quality content can establish trust.
• It can engage your audience, whomever they are.
• And it can do so more effectively than advertising, a medium that an increasingly skeptical audience sometimes discounts, ignores or blocks.
• Quality content can demonstrate your expertise and show that you’re current.
• It can position you as an authority or, even better, as the authority.
• It can demonstrate your awareness of both problems and opportunities.
• It can raise awareness of products and services, especially those that your audience wasn’t aware of.
• It can generate leads and referrals for both sales and hiring purposes.
• It can work to support the kind of company culture you’d like to cultivate.
Presumably, there aren’t many companies out there who don’t want to be seen as the trusted experts in their fields, as industry leaders who are on top of the latest trends or as the ones to turn to when there’s a problem to solve.
And there is nothing industry- or size-specific about these traits. They’re just as important to Joe’s Taco Truck or Maria’s Interior Design as they are to IBM or Ford.
Content creation needs attention and resources if it’s to yield optimal results, and this is not a case where less is more. Here, more is generally better, assuming that one maintains quality. Additional content allows you to reach additional targets, whether those targets are people who find you via search or people who arrive via direct links to your content.
In a similar vein, currency matters. It’s worth updating content regularly, and not only to keep people visiting your site and cementing your reputation as a company in touch with current trends. In a very simple and direct way, it shows that you care. You care about the field you’re in. You care about your business. You’re invested in all this, and you care enough about your customers to offer new content that’s valuable today. Those things matter to all customers, whether it’s B2C or B2B, and nothing undercuts that sense of caring and commitment more than a site that hasn’t seen new contact go up for the past six months or longer.
Clearly, this involves a fair amount of work, and content creation is not always an area that gets a great deal of company support.
That lack of support is hard to justify for two reasons.
First, while platforms may come and go, content is forever.
Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter, there’s always something new coming along to replace the current favorites. The online landscape may look very different 10 years from now than it does today. Content, as long as it’s high quality content with lasting value, will persist, and there’s every reason to expect that content that works today will be adaptable to new platforms. In other words, an investment in content is an investment with long-term value.
Second, the value of that content goes far beyond its impact on search results or brand identity.
Content marketing can deliver returns that exceed those of competing approaches like paid search, returns that are measurable in dollars and cents, not just in good will or brand enhancement. A discussion of those very tangible results is the topic of our next blog post.