Online marketing has grown up (finally). We’ve been through ‘build it and they will come’ and ‘oh, wow, search engines can be used to get new leads.’ We now enter the mature marketing world of actually providing some value to our prospects. It’s called content marketing, and it’s here to stay.

The old method of marketing was to buy your way into an audience (through media). The new way is to build the audience yourself – your business literally becomes its own media outlet.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, lawyer, plumber, craft-maker, brewer or master chef, by marketing your expert knowledge and sharing some of that with your prospects, you greatly increase your authority within your niche. By creating and marketing the right content, you become an expert source of information, gaining an audience and, thereby, growing your market share and sales.

This isn’t SEO; it’s reputation-building.

What happened to SEO?

You probably realise by now that the old ‘buy a bunch of links on dodgy website’ type of SEO is dead. It’s dead along with the keyword-stuffing, robotic, worthless content that was shoved out there along with spammy link-building.

The Google Panda and Penguin updates pretty much nailed the coffin shut on that particular brand of SEO. These updates and more to come actively de-list businesses that use this kind of cheap trickery, meaning you are better off doing nothing than trying to exploit search with so-called ‘black hat SEO.’

Let’s be clear, search engines aren’t dead and making sure your site appears on those search engines when your prospects look for what you offer isn’t dead either.

It’s just that how to get there has matured, and to the benefit of all of us. The big, expensive SEO agencies know this and they are focussing their efforts on creating content programmes that build this authority and trust.

But you don’t need to spend big money on high flying SEO agencies. You can do content marketing yourself with some planning, good copywriting and a bit of know-how.

Content marketing and your business

At the core of content marketing is the recognition that the web is still a text-based medium – people love to discover, read and absorb as much knowledge as they can.

Need to know how to fix a leaky tap? Look online.
Wondering how much life insurance you need? Look online.
Not sure how to explain to a 3-year-old why the sky is blue? Look online.

Now, think about the answers to those questions. Content marketing is where the plumber explains why taps leak and shows you how to do it (either by video or through text). Content marketing is where the insurance broker explains how to decide, with personal examples, just how to determine the right level of insurance you need. Content marketing is the book publisher/author of a science book for kids putting up a blog post with a simple explanation of why the sky is blue.

Content marketing answers prospects’ questions

It’s not just the content itself, however, that gets these new leads. It’s the total of the content and the marketing OF THAT CONTENT that drives new leads to your business.

  • Content marketing delivers content that improves search ranking.
  • Content marketing delivers content that is easily shared through social channels.
  • Content marketing delivers content that creates trust and converts prospects into customers.

The title of this post is a big one to fill, and we are going to get all of that, but not in just one post. This is going to be a series.

We’re going to delve into content marketing and copywriting and show you how you can market your knowledge to improve search results, build real world authority and trust, and increase your sales.

Monday’s post will be about how to find out what kind of content your prospects want to read.

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