Internet marketers pay attention. Today’s experts have spilled the goods – the best SEO practices yesterday are not necessarily the best SEO practices today. With the Internet space increasingly becoming a part of everyday life, the competition has turned to producing the best web content that people will find useful and/or entertaining. Quality content has been the direction set by Google since the beginning. Looking at the progressive changes in the Google algorithm, you can conclude that the search engine giant is serious about not wanting trash content on the web. The people who rely on the Internet for information and entertainment don’t want it either.
Transparency: the new priority
The pervasive influence of social media and the influx of web content have made customers online more discerning about the content they consume. With the huge amounts of information and choices readily available for them on the Internet, customers have become more skeptical about believing everything they read and see online. Transparency has become of primary importance in the digital age of virtual reality, big data, and information webs. Thus, content marketing should be focused on building trust that leads to long-lasting relationships, which will ultimately and ideally lead to more conversions. Of course, it goes without saying that you also have to deliver on your promises and come up with a great product if you want your customers to trust you.
Businesses today have realized the importance of content marketing. A new survey from Econsultancy confirms that this area is first and foremost on the minds of digital marketers – 39% of in-house marketer respondents indicate that tabbed content marketing is the leading priority in their organization. This is a 10% increase from survey results last year. Rounding up the top three leading priorities are conversion rate optimization (tied with content marketing and up from 34% from 2012) and social media engagement (38%). The survey also shows a decrease in the following areas: content optimization (31%, from 34%), viral marketing/brand building (26%, from 32%), video marketing (9%, from 21%), and social media analytics (9%, 19%).
Social media: a vital tool
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So how do businesses achieve this kind of openness and honesty in the virtual space? The primary tool for engaging customers is undoubtedly social media. With millions of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and other social media subscribers, the social media profile is one of the quickest ways to get to know your target audience. What interests them? What do they want done? What are their criticisms? The social media profile is also one of the ways people judge each other. Carefully filtered photos and posts on social networks can make or break an individual’s or organization’s image – at least, online. Thus, power is given to businesses that know how to wield the power of social media. This includes choosing your social media tools, timing posts properly, listening to what customers are saying, and engaging the target audience in conversations that may lead to lasting relationships.
Of course, social networks, while important, are not the only tools to keep your audience engaged. RingCentral phone service, for instance, cites emails, feedback forms, and webinars as essential in staying in touch with their partners.
Quality content: the heart of it all
At the core of content marketing that works is, of course, quality content. Social media is the clothes that attract. But it is the substance — the content — that draws people in and keeps them coming back. Thus, paying for quality content is a wise investment. Never shortchange your writers for this. Content writers today seem to be a dime a dozen, but those who can produce quality content are a special class on their own. Don’t scrimp when you find them, because they should know their worth.
Content marketing is the new focus of digital marketing for practical reasons. The question today is not if you should join the bandwagon but when and how you would go about your content marketing strategy. The critical component of content marketing that works is quality content delivered through the right means and at the right time.