The entire world is connected to the internet, making it one of the most profound inventions of our time. The digital world has become a second home for both businesses and consumers.
In fact, you’ll find that 26% of American adults are nearly always online. This group is also a part of the 77% of US adults who go online once or several times per day.
Then when you look at the global stats, you’ll find that the digital population sits at over 4.1 billion. A whopping 3.9 billion are online using mobile devices.
So it’s no surprise that content marketing is the forefront of a lot of business owners’ minds. As of 2018, you’ll find 91% of B2B marketers using content marketing. And 86% of B2C marketers say content marketing is a key strategy.
And while experts will tell you content is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your business, many marketers still don’t know how to properly use it.
This is why you’ll find 63% of businesses without a documented strategy.
Now, this is a cause for concern, especially with nearly half of marketers planning to use content to reach their customers. Understanding what makes content marketing effective and having a strategy built around that is key.
Let’s take a look at a little history before diving into what makes for a successful content marketing plan.
A Brief History On Content Marketing
If you’re serious about perfecting your content marketing, then you need to first learn what it’s all about. And as they say, how do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re coming from?
Knowing history is vital because it can help you see the potential it holds for the future.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how content was used over the decades:
- 1880s to 1890s: The start of using content to build relationships with consumers vs only advertising to them. Between 1895 and 1912, Furrow magazine (the original blog) amassed 4 million readers with this concept.
- 1900s to 1910s: Audience targeting becomes audience-oriented. In 1904, Jell-O did a great job of this by targeting women in Woodward booklets. In the process, they generated $1 million in sales.
- 1940s to 1950s: At this time, advertising and content became two separate methods – advertising for selling goods and content marketing for selling solutions (advertising trumped in this time).
- 1960s to 1970s: The birth of multi-channel campaigns. Exxon spearheaded this with its “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” campaign.
- 1990s: The dawn of the digital age emerges, causing a major content boom. This opened the door to a wider audience for a lot less money.
- 2000s: The explosion in content continues, but with the emergence of social media – hence the birth of social media marketing.
- Today: Content marketing takes many forms – blogs, videos, e-books, product descriptions, white papers, how-to guides, and so on.
The Future of Content Marketing
If there’s one thing you see about the development of content over the years, it’s that it all ties to the end user – the consumer. Delivering content the user wants and needs is critical to achieving great results.
We’ll likely see the focus of content marketing continue to be geared towards consumers, ensuring quality and relevant content is created. This is the key to building your brand, trust, and authority.
Next, let’s take a look at the lessons history has taught us about what makes content successful.
Quality vs Quantity
The number one lesson that we’ve continuously learned over the past century is that quality matters. Your content won’t sell products and services if it doesn’t resonate with your target audience.
This is especially true in an age where you have millions of pieces of content being published on the web each day. The good news is there are methods you can use to maximize your audience reach.
For instance, if you SEO, social media, and guest blogging. Let’s review why quality is important when using these methods and venues.
Search Engine Optimization Demands Quality
You won’t make it to the top of search engines without having quality content. But what is quality?
We can define quality content as content that meets the expectations of the end user. In other words, your content should answer questions, educate, and somewhat entertaining to the reader. This will help make the content more engaging.
If you can make your content worthy of a click and that actually keeps the visitor there, then you have a winner. Google and other search engines rank content highly if it attracts and retains people.
Then if you have a lot of content, then your audience will take time to browse around your website, which is an added bonus for SEO.
The same goes for guest post blogging. With these, you’re driving traffic to your site and growing your backlink profile.
As long as the site and your content is quality, then this too will help your optimization efforts.
Social Media Demands Quality
There’s no way you’re going to get away with posting low-quality content on social media. You’ll likely get a backlash from your followers, lose followers, and struggle with getting new followers.
It’s also important to note that posting quality content to your social media accounts will also help your SEO. When people on social media are sharing your posts, clicking on your links, and commenting on your posts, this sends signals to Google that the content posted is relevant and engaging.
Producing Quality Content that Engages and Converts
At the end of the day, you want to craft content for your audience that’s high-quality and engaging. And in doing so, you have a higher chance of converting them into paying customers.
This takes careful research on both your audience and the topics you’ll cover. The more you know about your target customers, the easier it’ll be to attract them.
And if your content is fleshed-out, informative, easy to read, and valuable, then you’ll have no problems with attracting your core audience.
But if all else fails, you can always enlist the help of the professionals at a content marketing agency like WriteForMe.