I frequently speak to people who wonder whether it’s still worth investing in content in 2015. After all, search engine algorithms have evolved, the mobile web is growing at breakneck speed, and it can be difficult to quantify the results generated by content creation. It won’t come as much of a surprise that I believe content still plays a vital role in the success of a company’s digital marketing endeavors, but why does content matter? Whether you’re wondering if you should keep churning our posts for your own blog or you’re trying to convince a client to use your writing services, consider the following important keys. I’ve phrased them as rebuttals to the excuses I often encounter from those reluctant to embrace content creation.
Excuse: Google’s algorithms have changed and content doesn’t matter as much now.
Yep, Google’s algorithms have evolved over the course of the past five years, but if anything, these changes have only made content more important. In the early 2000s, it wasn’t uncommon for web marketers to use techniques like keyword stuffing and over-aggressive link building to effectively con the search engines into ranking them highly. Sure, both keywords and links still have merits in the 2015 content game, but the search engines have become much more effective at looking at the overall picture.
Search bots use a variety of different factors to determine the value a particular page offers to web visitors. Search Engine Land has put together a really interesting infographic, The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, which gives a great summary of these key elements. If you take a close look, you’ll see quality at the top of the list, followed by fundamentals including content depth and thorough keyword research.
Excuse: I don’t have the budget for content; advertising gets better results.
PPC ads can certainly generate traffic, and many times a paid advertising campaign shows results faster than content creation. When it comes to long-term growth, however, content creation beats PPC ads every time. See, PPC ads only pull in visitors while the campaign remains active. Content, on the other hand, represents a one-off cost that can capture organic search traffic for years to come.
In an ideal world, high-quality content and PPC campaigns are deployed in tandem with one another, maximizing a blog’s marketing prowess. Remember, both content generation and advertising campaigns are scalable endeavors. Small businesses should invest their resources judicially, which may mean committing to a limited number of articles each month or setting a daily cap on ad spends. A limited budget, however, shouldn’t mean a lucrative source of traffic is closed off altogether.
Excuse: My website doesn’t get enough traffic to justify paying for content creation.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this excuse… Start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs often baulk at the cost of customized content. After all, if a blog is only attracting a few casual readers every month, is it really worth paying for content generation?
Much like the age-old conundrum about the chicken and the egg, a website won’t attract more visitors without great content. Content makes its impact in numerous ways. It reaches the organic visitor by taking advantage of savvy SEO techniques, of course, but it also builds authority that keeps readers connected.
Think about how you browse the web on a daily basis. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a short roster of destinations you visit frequently. For me, these include well-known news publishers, a few niche interest sites, and a couple of forums. What brings me back to those sites again and again? The content is interesting and relevant.
There are multiple ways to climb a mountain, but everybody starts at the same place: the bottom. You’d never tell a mountain climber not to invest in expensive gear because he’s still sitting at the base, right? It’s going to take an initial investment to equip the climber with the tools necessary to climb. It’s a silly analogy, but you get the point. Invest in the right tools, or keep falling off the cliff because you’re trying to climb the mountain on the cheap.
I could spend hours writing about more excuses for ignoring content creation, but ultimately, the point is simple: content works. Of course, you probably already know that.
Make it easy for your clients to see how much content is worth by delivering what your promise. Focus on crafting pieces that resonate with readers, work towards your customer’s goals, and build brand loyalty. When you’re able to do this consistently, your partnership becomes a win-win.
How do you deal with reluctant clients? Do you have any tips for demonstrating the power of content in 2015?