While seeking advice for developing a stronger online presence, most companies are told to keep the content flowing. By regularly publishing fresh, unique content, businesses can stay on the radars of search engine spiders, which should ostensibly improve their rankings on the results pages. As sound as this advice may be, it’s been repeated so often that many companies are taking things too far.
Anxiety over producing enough content is increasingly causing companies to put quality on the back burner. Low-quality content can cause serious problems. In other words, not all content is good content. Creating content merely for the sake of having a steady stream of it is a recipe for disaster.
What is Content Marketing?
As the term implies, content marketing refers to using content to enhance a company’s online presence. In theory, having plenty of fresh, unique content is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain a high ranking with the major search engines. For several years now, companies that actively market themselves online have placed a top priority on producing keyword-optimized content on an ongoing basis.
Types of Content Marketing
This type of marketing takes many forms. A few of the most popular methods include:
- Blog posts
- Press releases
- Article directory submissions
- Guest blogging
- Social media posts
Any time you create and promote content online, you are engaging in content marketing. The content in question doesn’t have to be blatantly promotional. In fact, it shouldn’t be. That’s where the importance of quality content comes into play: In order to be effective, the content that you post needs to have value for your target audience.
The Rising Popularity of Marketing Content Online
In the earliest days of the Internet, search engines were basically directories. Businesses submitted their websites for consideration. Upon approval, they were placed into relevant categories and subcategories. As Internet use soared, this approach became impractical. Google revolutionized online search by crawling websites’ content, analyzing it, applying complex algorithms and ranking websites accordingly.
It didn’t take long for website owners to realize that content mattered. Ever since, there’s been an increasing focus on producing unique, fresh, relevant content. For some time, a glut of extremely low-quality content flooded the Internet. To fight back, Google unleashed the Panda and Penguin updates, which placed a priority on high-quality content. If you want your site to rank well, you have to keep quality in mind.
Pros of the Increasing Popularity of Content Marketing
One of the main advantages of content marketing, a practice that is increasing in popularity, is that companies and brands are becoming publishers. As a result, it’s easier than ever to find information online. There are also many different ways to engage in content marketing, so businesses have plenty of options.
Cons of the Increasing Popularity of Content Marketing
There are downsides to the growing popularity of this type of marketing. Most notably, many companies feel so pressured to constantly produce content that what they produce has absolutely no value. In many cases, it is poorly written too. Many businesses don’t have the resources or means to produce large volumes of high-quality content. Instead of churning out poor content, they should produce better content on a less frequent basis.
How to Produce Good Content
Making the decision to prioritize quality over quantity in content marketing is one thing. Making it work is another. The truth is that many companies don’t understand how to produce excellent content. A few ways to reduce the risk of producing bad content include:
- Follow the Competition’s Lead – Look at the types of content that your competitors are posting to gain valuable insight in how to proceed.
- Blaze Your Own Trail – It’s fine to gain inspiration from the competition, but you need to mix it up with some truly distinctive, one-of-a-kind content as well. Focus on topics that aren’t covered by your competitors. Present information from unique angles.
- Turn to Experts within the Organization – People are thirsty for information. Your content needs to be insightful, accurate and informative. The best people for the job are those who do the actual work. Select a few employees and have them create periodic blog posts and other content.
- Create an Editorial Calendar – It’s easy to fall off the content-producing wagon or to burn out and run out of ideas. One way to prevent that is by creating and following an editorial calendar. Create it at least a month ahead of time and stick to it.
The Bottom Line on Content Marketing: Quality Trumps Quantity
The days of churning out mindless, keyword-stuffed content and rising to the top of the search engine rankings are over. To stay within the major search engines’ good graces, it’s crucial to produce content that’s compelling, informative, accurate and useful. Put yourself in readers’ shoes before posting anything online. Does it enrich people’s lives in any way? Does it bring something useful to the table? If not, you’re just wasting people’s time. Throw it away and start from scratch. It may take more time and effort, but the hard work will pay off in the long run.