Content marketing is not a new idea. Providing straight-forward, educational information on a product or service is as old of a tactic as the seminar or white paper. Simply defined, content marketing is the creation and distribution of content (a blog post, an article, illustration, photograph, etc.) that informs and influences but does not advertise or sell. There are many other definitions of content marketing available from different sources, but the common threads are information, education, and product alignment.
Content marketing has become particularly important in recent months because of Google’s ever-evolving methodology for generating search results. Google has publicly indicated that it will reward fresh, original content with high search rankings. And since we are all turning to Google to find pretty much anything (and certainly the things we intend to buy), a marketer must create relevant content in order to gain exposure to these searches. It’s simple logic: if you want to market successfully, you must write. Publish or perish.
For the marketer that accepts the website as the centerpiece of a digital marketing strategy, content–not design–must lead. One can’t exist without the other, certainly, but content should no longer take a back seat to design.
In so many web projects, unfortunately, content is an after-thought. Marketers get particularly excited about design and features and leave content for another day. All too often, content is the last “task” that people want to tackle because it as seen as time-consuming, laborious, and menial. The marketer that wants to gain search exposure (and, ahem, customers) should put content first and leave design for another day. Ideally, the two should work hand-in-hand, but erring on the side of content is a safer bet.
Practically speaking, content planning within the course of web design should involve more than just “copy.” Content is not just the text on your About Us page. In the context of a content marketing strategy, “content” is much bigger than marketing copy. It incorporates things like:
- titles of your navigation items
- your sub-navigation strategy
- blog categories and tags
- social media strategy
- diagrams and illustrations
- ALT tags
- corporate videos and descriptions
- your content calendar for future updates
Embracing content marketing as a form of promotion is critical in today’s world of customer acquisition. Making content creation and distribution a priority in your organization puts you in a better position to gain more traction from Google and more customers from the traffic this brings.