The term “content marketing” is pervasive, and everyone with an online presence is feeling the pressure to pile on the content marketing for 2020. The percentage of online content that truly imparts knowledge, however - making the reader a little wiser on an issue, or providing them with new insights - is quite low. In fact, it was significantly easier to find fresh, original, and genuinely valuable content online when offering knowledge or merchandise freebies was established decades ago.
The then-new ethos of genuinely imparting industry knowledge for free, giving the online seeker something they honestly didn’t know, made for some compelling reading.
That imperative still exists in the online business model, especially for consumer-facing businesses vying for a slice of the pie. The problem is the generic term “content” has blurred the value supposedly contained in a business’ pitch to consumers.
Simply stuffing a site with “content” has come to dominate people’s thoughts around what to post or where to post it.
Content marketing is essential, but not without honest value. Indeed, a pared-down site with but five blog posts - each of which tackles a real or broadly (but genuinely) fascinating issue - screams authority in any niche, as opposed to a wildly populated site where most content doesn’t say much at all.
Quality content is now more essential than ever, as the sea of writing online has only become larger.
Quality content, however, demands genuine sharing - giving away some of your accumulated expertise or goods - and the ability to truly walk in the consumer’s shoes.
This might sound simple, but it takes a level of interest and openness that, under the old business model, time constraints or mismatched abilities still suffocate more often than not.
Many subtle elements constitute a professional, authoritative marketplace presence online. Less subtle are the essentials, such as a well-maintained and competently-built site, a social media presence on selected platforms, and seamless back end tech support that holds it all together. That is where great content starts - with the right systems and capacities in place - and IT support services from EC-MSP and other IT consultancies have come to embrace far more than just sorting out crashed Windows’ systems.
Today’s IT service providers can truly impact a company’s market performance, particularly in marketing and customer-relationship management (CRM).
While the bad news might be that there’s a load of junk content online, the good news is that, by comparison, it’s actually easier to identify as an industry leader as long as you do better than that junk offering. Becoming a recognised voice has nothing to do with content volume, and everything to do with content value. Partly thanks to all the so-so content out there, a polished presence with compelling content is readily identified by modern consumers.
A professional online presence (as determined by great content) may contain a myriad of subtle elements, but the overall impression is unmistakable.
Before “content marketing” became king, commercial presences typically followed the “About us” type of site build, with a “Blog” being one of many (and usually towards the end of) options. Genuinely valuable content can tell consumers as much “about you” as any dry, glorifying blurb on why the company is so great.
Speak to the modern consumer’s intelligence and you’ll find it. Make people want to reference, quote or recommend your content, and half the battle is won.
Look at this site, as an example. Here, the seeker is greeted with a myriad of compelling topics. There’s no click-through needed to access content of interest. The content tells the modern online surfer all they need to know “about” the company. It’s become easier for people to spot valuable content, no matter that the sea of online writing, video, and other presentations have become so deep. Good content has a tone (a definitive heading) and, after an initial outline, dives right into outlining issues and solutions. There’s no disconnect between an alluring headline and the content that follows.
It might seem profane to say, but forsake the SEO imperative when it appears to be dominating. Being ranked first on the initial SRP is possibly more damaging to a company’s profitability when what follows is arbitrary or bad content. The focus on the customer can never be lost in producing content, as topic pieces that meander vaguely or videos that are drawn out or waffle in an attempt to plump up importance, are very quickly identified by genuine seekers and they’ll move on.
A good site with great content creates solid credibility. What is being discussed or disseminated, how it’s presented, and how valuable the takeaways are all spoken volumes about a company’s genuinely professional nature, and its abilities to service client needs.
There are industry voices that are beginning to rail against the content mill, and this comes on the back of marketers often losing the plot with content.
Quantitative has often replaced qualitative, but the approach of firing in all directions trying to hit pay dirt lost its glamour a long time ago.
If some of your content is found on some of your invoices, that’s a good indicator that you’re posting well.
The information that genuinely aids readers, and it will solidify you in their minds as an industry authority.
The inability to determine customers’ responses online persists - there’s no way of knowing how people truly feel inside when they view your site. But the ability to ensure what they won’t feel persists, too, and that stems from well-presented, honestly valuable content with a visible enthusiasm and ability to provide solutions.