Content Marketing – From Renting An Audience to Earning An Audience

April 18th, 2013

The Highlights According To An Econsultancy Survey In October 2012 Are:

  • Over 90% of respondents believe that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of digital marketers agree that ‘brands are becoming publishers’.
  • Less than half of companies have dedicated budgets (34%) or individuals dedicated (46%) to content marketing.
  • Increased engagement is the most commonly cited objective for content marketers, with 52% of in-house marketers and 58% of agency marketers listing this as one of their top three business objectives.

These statistics prove that though the majority believes that Content Creation and its marketing is important but less than 50% of the companies have yet to focus on the same by dedicating an in house team for content marketing or outsourcing it with a decent budget.

Why “ Content Marketing” is gaining the attention of digital marketers and brands?

In the real world you are what your thoughts are and you are known by the company you keep. On the WWW your identity is established by what you share and publish.

Brands need to establish their trust and credibility online to reach out to potential online customers or to retain existing customers . This is not possible by just having an optimized website for search engines.

A good site optimized for search engines may bring targeted visits to the site, but after the visitor comes to your site and gets impressed and is convinced by the content on your site he will go to the social media sites to confirm what others have to say about your products and services to get a reality check.

The content on your website is what you say about your products and services but the content on the social media sites put forward what others have to say and when both these voices are in sync a credibility is established. This may influence the visitor to buy the product online but the whole experience of buying online and getting any after sales assistance if needed establishes the faith in the brand.

When the visitor who becomes your regular customer and keeps getting the immediate quality services and response online spreads the WOM and when this WOM magnifies and multiplies TRUST is established.

More than the affordable price brands need to establish trust online and content marketing is the right platform for putting your best foot forward and for proving the trust worthiness.

Hence Content Marketing helps a brand establish its unique identity, offers a platform to engage with the customers directly, win public trust and can ensure happier clients.

On the web your potential clients or customers can come majorly from the search engines (Organic or Paid presence) and social media platforms.

In order to have a quality presence on search engines or social media sites brands need a well optimized site and a blog which is updated with regular quality and informative content. i.e your blog/site is a container for the content. Both the container and the content need to be impressive in order to convince.

The site (the Container) needs to have a good design appeal and also needs to be user friendly. The content adds the soul hence if the content is just a few paragraphs added just for the sake of adding words its of no use. Every piece of content should reflect the personality of the brand and raise the trust and goodwill factor limits a notch higher.

All this discussion raises the following questions which I am asked repeatedly by clients:

·How to create regular quality content?

Creating quality content regularly is a challenging task and needs a lot of planning and strategy to reap the right return. Depending on the purpose of the online presence the content marketing team needs to decide upon the right type of the content media mix – text, podcasts, videos, infographics, etc. Then the frequency needs to be decided upon i.e you would like to publish content daily or weekly. The content topics need to revolve round the purpose to be achieved online. If the main purpose is to establish a brand then publish blog posts about

  • The company happenings
  • achievements
  • faux pas made by your team
  • efforts put in for making a product more innovative
  • a solution achieved for a problem faced
  • the industry ideologies that our company promotes
  • Share the latest news about the products and services we deal in
  • Videos about the new outlets opened or achievements celebrated
  • Discuss customer reactions and review
  • Support a cause , event or promote industry related conferences, seminars and exhibitions

We all discuss our success but for a change if we discuss some failure and the lessons learnt by that also is something which gets widely read and accepted as it helps others learn from the mistakes made by us.

This way the web presence of your business will become a true reflection of your real time business where there will be no dearth of actual valuable content and this content will be helpful in projecting the true image reflecting the authority, identity and popularity quotient of your business. Every happening, innovation and development in your office or company can become a topic for a blogpost adding valuable content if you think it will help and offer some valuable information your existing customers, potential clients, shareholders or any targeted visitor to your website in some way or the other.

Work hard in the real world to have more satisfied customers and more acheivements in business which helps your business grow and then update and upgrade your virtual business and presence with the real world facts, figures and experiences thereby being in a win-win situation in the virtual world as well as the real world.

The greatest example is Google itself , if we see the Google blog or any other web presence they have – It is always updated with their latest developments and the discussions about what their priniciples and ideologies in practice.

Paid content, like paid links does not have any value, if your business is not living its actual essence in real life. It will soon fizzle out like paid links . But, content generated with a view of updating the existing client with the actual product information or the content which helps the potential client take a decision or the content which makes the shareholder in your business achieve confidence in the company is all content valuable from the user and the search engine perspective.

Genuine, informative and knowledge based content does not only add value to the content aspect of the web presence but also has the potential of getting inbound links in a natural way boosting the web presence multifold .

· What is the ROI of Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is not a campaign. Instead of buying the media the marketers are owning the media. Instead of renting an audience they are earning an audience and this takes time. In content marketing once you have built your audience you own it and it continues to generate market results. You don’t have to pay rent to the media. The point is that those who embark on content marketing must understand that it is a long term effort requiring significant investment of time and resources before its results can measure up favourably. “

You can start with monitoring visits to your website and to each of your content items. Increases in organic search traffic will signify that your SEO strategies are proving effective and that the keywords you have been targeting in your content creation are starting to raise your website up the search rankings. Another metric of success is increases in the shares of your content which you can monitor by tracking the social media reports.

The metrics that matter in this context are:

  •  No. Of Visits
  •  Sources
  •  Landing pages
  •  Time On Site
  •  New v/s Old visits
  •  Facebook likes
  •  Retweets
  •  LinkedIn and other shares
  •  Reblogs
  •  Links back
  •  Comments
  •  Time spent on page
  •  Average page views per visitor (especially if you’re effective at internal linking of your posts)
  •  Followers
  •  @mentions

Content marketing cannot succeed on its own as it is a part of the whole marketing mix. To understand the concept for ROI for Content Marketing we need to understand that the success of content marketing depends on the success of all the other links in the chain of the whole online marketing process.

The quality content published can reach a wider audience and have a long term life if the SEO of the site on which it is published is up to the norms and it is being crawled, indexed and ranked well. Further on it will have a good outreach if it is being shared on relevant social media platforms and the page on which it is published can be shared easily by the incoming visitors,

Hence the brand needs to invest on:
  •  Developing a good site with a good CMS and a good visual appeal and user friendliness
  •  SEO
  •  Having a good social media presence and identify the right social media platform for the kind of content it wants to share.
  •  Create and curate good content regularly

If the person managing the social media engages with the audience and keeps sharing relevant posts from the archives to answer their questions and cater to their curiosity the old published content can also be revived as per relevance.

·Is our SEO taken care of if we focus on content marketing?

SEO and content marketing are two different industries but are like two sides of the same coin. Your SEO may or may not create content for you and at the same time your content creator or writer may or may not optimize your site.

No doubt, every piece of quality content boosts your search presence – provided your site has been optimized wisely for the search engines and the search engines can easily index and extract the right context of the content to make it prominently visible on the search results for their users.

Where there is content there has to be an author. Hence establishing the Authorship Mark up is of utmost important as this gives an identity to the content and also helps in establishing the author as a thought leader.

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About The Author

Founder of WebPro Technologies a Web solutions company based in India which focuses on building quality web presence for businesses. Bharati Ahuja is a SEO Trainer and speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant.


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