Not everyone understands how content adds value to their audience, or why they should use it.
Why have content at all?
Be clear, content is a wide-ranging term. For example, the basic information you give to prospects and customers is content. The words you use to pitch your business are content. Your terms and conditions are part of your content.
In other words, you use content, whether you’re aware of it or not.
What about additional online content though, such as blogs, how can this add value?
Keywords or Quality Content?
Time was when a certain type of SEO blogging was seen as essential for boosting your search engine rankings.
This involved using keywords prominently in your blog.
However, times have changed, and online, they keep changing. What worked once as a tactic is no longer as effective, or may not be effective at all.
Does this mean you should no longer bother with blogs?
Of course not.
When Google looks at a page, it wants to determine if the topic is relevant to a search. This is now the main focus, not keywords.
Therefore, if you produce good quality content that helps people find what they are searching for, it adds value to your website.
Trying to attract an audience through keywords is increasingly tough, because the marketplace is so crowded.
Furthermore, if you try to crowbar keywords into your content, the chances are it will end up looking as forced as it feels to write it.
In the here and now, having good content beats keywords hands down.
What is Good Content?
Write what you know is a traditional piece of advice to would-be authors. It is frequently misunderstood, however. Authenticity in fiction writing does not mean autobiographical content. Writing what you know means finding the emotional truth in your writing.
How does this apply to blogging in a commercial environment?
What it boils down to is conveying a depth of knowledge. What insights can you offer your readers based on what you know about your field of interest and expertise?
Good content offers your audience useful information, presses their emotional buttons and, most of all, addresses the questions they are asking.
Which comes back to the whole search engine issue. If Google is looking to match answers with questions, the job of your content is to provide those answers.
Know Your Niche
What do you know about?
The kind of content that performs well is focused on searcher intent.
To align your depth of knowledge with what people are searching for requires that you understand your target audience.
Not only must you know what you are writing about, but also who you are writing it for.
Yoiur niche is two things:
- an area of expertise
- a targeted audience.
How Content Adds Value
What are your customers coming to you for?
You are offering them something they need, whether it’s a product or a service.
Why should they choose you over anyone else?
Unless you are hoping to win business on price alone, you need something that will differentiate you in your market.
Branding can do some of this for you, providing you get it right.
But beyond brand, an effective means of differentiation is through publishing content.
Content can help build your credibility and present you as an authority in your field.
It gives you room to demonstrate the breadth of your interests and expertise, which you wouldn’t be able to do within the confines of your standard website pages.
If you create good content and use it effectively, it can add value to your target audience and value to your brand.
Using Content for Engagement
Criticism of content marketing tends to focus on the fact that content doesn’t generate sales conversions rapidly.
But content marketing is much more about engagement.
The content in your blogs should work to attract interest and engage audiences, not sell directly to them.
Is there a measurable return on investment for this?
Generally, content is not directly measurable in terms of sales revenue, because content is part of a much bigger process of raising brand awareness.
But again this goes back to differentiation: how will you compete in a crowded marketplace without something that helps to clearly define you in the eyes of your audience?
Content can do that job. That’s why it adds value.