Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “content is king.” Some claim it’s an overused cliché, but those who work in the marketing industry are well aware of the power of words. The idea that content is central to all other marketing efforts first gained traction nearly a quarter century ago, but is every bit as relevant today.
You might be surprised to learn that the popular phrase was coined by none other than Bill Gates, whose essay titled “Content is King” was published on Microsoft’s website in 1996. The internet was still in its infancy then, but the Microsoft CEO had the foresight to recognize the cultural impact content would have in the not-so-distant future.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet…for the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work…those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences and products—a marketplace of content.”
Bill Gates didn’t achieve success through short-sightedness, and many of the predictions in his oft-quoted essay have come to fruition. To understand why content is so important, you must first realize that it isn’t just a tool for marketing professionals. Every aspect of a business relies on content: sales, customer service, human resources, product development, even top-level executives. The Bill Gateses of the world, if you will.
Why Content Drives Success
Internet users are who determined that content is king. In order to be successful, websites must offer quality content that provides value to users in some way. Their content must also be optimized for search engines. In the past, SEO’s main focus was only on keywords. As SEO has evolved, Google and other platforms now value well-written organic content over anything else. Customer engagement is dependent upon being invested in your brand, and producing consistent content is what will hook your target audience. Content has the power to:
- Establish your company as a subject matter expert
- Improve your SEO ranking
- Help you acquire and retain customers
- Increase your brand awareness
- Generate new leads
- Increase traffic and conversions
Statistics show that content can increase sales by 20 percent in as little as 12 months and landing page content can increase leads by 55 percent. Perhaps even more importantly, content can generate valuable backlinks. When other sites link to yours, your Google ranking only goes up. The secret is to create high-quality content that positions you as an authority. What makes good content? Generally speaking, strong content is:
- Unique and original
- Well-structured and free of errors
- Well formatted and visually appealing
Your content should target specific groups and be optimized for search engines through the use of target keywords, meta descriptions, tags, engaging headlines, and calls to action. The most important characteristics for your content are expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This important benchmark is known as EAT and is easy to remember: if you’re hungry for quality content, all you have to do is EAT!
What Counts as Content
We talked a lot about your written content and how to make it perform well, but there is more to it than just writing! If you just sighed with relief, we understand. Writing involves research, idea development, formatting, and proofing, not to mention the actual, well, writing. It’s can be a lot, especially when you’re a small business owner with a lot of other things on your plate.
So what is content then? We like this definition from The Word Factory:
“Content is information presented with a purpose distributed to people in a form through a channel.”
Margot Lester, CEO, The Word Factory
In layman’s terms? Content is anything you use to convey a message to your audience through some form of media. This includes all of your owned media — such as your website, social media accounts, and blogs — and paid media like email marketing or ads. There may be writing involved, but it also includes visual content such as infographics, videos, and photography. In fact, videos have been the fastest growing content form in the past couple years and has the engagement rates to match. So if sitting down and writing a blog post on a regular basis makes your palms sweat, have no fear! There are other ways you can reach your audience.
With an increased emphasis on content, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever. Tools such as content calendars will get you in the habit of posting new content consistently. By focusing on creating quality content you will be handed the keys to the proverbial castle…and your brand will reign supreme!
Evergreen Media offers a full lineup of content services. Visit us here to learn more!