Content marketing is the “hidden jewel” in any business that’s experiencing success in their online marketing, branding, and customer acquisition efforts via the web.

You may or may not even recognize the term content marketing.  The Internet and technology are advancing so rapidly that the average user 10 years ago, or the business owner who’s just too darn business to keep up, could be completely lost in the maze of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other online marketing tactics.  Heck, even someone like myself who lives in it day in and day out sometimes can get turned around.

But content marketing is something that local, small, and medium sized business owners are starting to recognize as a viable advertising platform.  And it’s something that’s actually generating high quality leads and converting sales for businesses.

So what’s the big deal about content marketing?

That’s a great question!  So what is it about content marketing that’s such a big deal, and where does content marketing stack up against other advertising channels?

Check out this graph from bradmccarty.me:

As you can see in the graph above, article posting is now the number one most popular content marketing strategy employed by business to business marketers.

And you probably thought Facebook was number one!

Content marketing is becoming such a predominant form of brand building and direct marketing for businesses that a whopping 60% of b2b marketers now say that plan on spending more on content marketing over the next 12 months.

So if content marketing is something that businesses are willing to spend more money on doing, perhaps we should answer the question I asked earlier, and that is what’s the big deal about content marketing?

 3 Reason Content Marketing Works

Of course there are more than three reasons as to why content marketing works.  But based on my experience, the following three reasons as to why content marketing works have been the defining cornerstone to every content marketing campaign I’ve managed.  And why these three?  The answer is simple – I’ve experimented with a lot of content marketing techniques, but everytime I’m continually drawn back to these three founding principles.

1)  Quality Content Is King

I know you’ve heard people say that content is king.   In fact, the saying Content Is King is probably as old as Google itself.  From the very beginning of Google, the early days when Sergey Brin and Larry Page were still students at Stanford, the founding principle of organizing information and presenting it in an authoritatively ranked format has always started with quality content.

Notice I said quality content is king [emphasis on “quality”].  Not just any content will do these days… sorry spammers!  The most recent Panda update from Google that tweaked the search algorithm to filter our content farms and duplicate content, had a tremendous impact on content producers that simply refused to produce original, high quality content.  Basically overnight, a lot of spammy sites went from the front page of Google to literally nowhere to be found.  And the biggest culprit of this shakeout was simply the lack of original, high quality content.

But high quality, original content is king and it will always rule the day when it comes to search engines like Google.  Ironically, this has always been the case.  Any marketer or publishers that produces high quality, original content has always done extremely well in garnishing high levels of traffic and exposure in Google search results.  Google’s search algorithm (otherwise known as PageRank) is getting a whole lot smarter at detecting the garbage sites that don’t ever produce a since ounce of original content and instead, mass produce duplicate content that is stuffed with keyword phrases.

C’mon spammers – it’s no longer 1999!

But if you, or your content marketing consultant, takes the time to produce high quality, original content, then you are absolutely positioned for high levels of traffic, exposure, and branding for your business.  And even moreso if you find the right person (or yourself) who’s willing to work their #@$%! off for you and write a massive amount of high quality, original content.

Find that person (which I’m one…) and the skies the limit!

The secret takeway:  the secret here – which really isn’t a secret at all – is that high quality content, and lots of it, that’s built around your specific niche industry (product, service, website, etc…) will give your business unlimited fuel to power your brand and exposure online and in Google’s search results where people are searching for exactly what you have to offer.

2)  Content Converts

Think about it for a minute.  Let’s say you were a business and you had the need for a local printer ink supplier.  No, the local Office Depot won’t do – you need someone who has printer ink stock on hand and who can actually deliver the printer ink on demand when you need it, perhaps delivering ink with nothing more than an email from you.

So where do you think the first place is that a business owner who has this need would turn?  That’s right – Google.  And what do you think the business owner who needs printer ink delivered would start searching for?

Here’s a list of root keyword phrases that I dug up with some quick keyword research.  All you need to do is tag any metro area before or after the phrase to see what someone local may search:

  • printer ink cartridges
  • cheap printer ink cartridges
  • discount printer ink
  • printer ink refill
  • printer ink delivery

These are just a few examples from the Google Adwords keyword tool.  Again, tag a metro area before or after these root phrases to see what someone in a local market might be searching for.

Now place yourself in the shoes of the one searching for this business.  Do you think the person would even consider going past page one of Google?  Would you ever call upon on a business that’s on page two or beyond?

Probably not.

In fact, approximately only 10% of people using Google search every venture past the first page.

And if you are producing high quality content that’s driving pages about your business to the front page of Google, you are going to start connecting to these high quality prospects that are actually searching for what you offer.  And when someone lands on your page, sees that you are local and sees that you are an expert in your field, then guess who’s going to get the call?

That’s why I say that content converts.  Because ultimately it’s content that drives your exposure to the front page of Google and by being on the front page, you’ll connect to the highest quality prospects who will then pick up their phone to call you!

So getting your business on the front page of Google is a critical component to connecting with someone who’s searching for what you offer.  And the best way to get your business on the front page for the search result is simple – start producing high quality content that is built around the service of printer ink cartridges and with your metro area name tagged onto the keyword phrase.

Just to give you an example of a real live search results page, click here to view the search results for the keyword phrase “printer ink cartridges lakeland, fl”.  This is a great example of true search query that someone would make in the Lakeland, Florida area.

Here’s an image of the search results just in case you didn’t hit the link:

Now let’s take a look at these search results.  All I see are the big boys occupying the top search results.  The Yellow Pages, Staples, YellowBook, etc…  and where exactly are all the local businesses?

Nowhere to be found.

And guess why that is?

Because there isn’t a single printer ink cartridge dealer in Lakeland, Florida that’s producing high quality content for their business.  But imagine if he or she were producing the content?  They would definitely be joining the ranks of these big boys on the front page.

“Well yeah,” you say, “but what about just running Google Adwords (pay per click) and just pay to be on the front page of Google?

That’s actually a great question and I’m glad you brought it up!

Statistics show that only 1 out of 10 people who search for something on Google ever click one of the Google Adwords ads.  That means 90% of the people searching on Google are clicking the organic search results.

So you tell me – what’s more valuable?  Being in the sponsored listings, or being ranked naturally on the front page of Google?

Obviously being ranked naturally on the front page of Google is exponentially more valuable than being ranked in the sponsored search results.  I would much rather exposure my pages of content to the 90% of people searching for what I have to offer rather than the 10% who would click on my pages.

And this leads me perfectly into point #3 as to why content marketing works.

3)  Content Never Disappears

Speaking of Google Adwords, let me ask you this.  Let’s say you are running your Adwords campaign and after a few months you realize, “hey, this just isn’t converting and generating sales for me”, and so you pause your Adwords campaign.

Guess what happens to your exposure in Google?

It disappears instantly – GONE… BYE, BYE… THANKS FOR PLAYING!

That’s right – the instant you hit pause on your Google Adwords campaign, that’s the moment you just disappeared entirely from Google’s search results.

The alternative, and the huge benefit of content marketing, is that once your content is published in Google your content will never disappear – it’s forever published, indexed, and searchable in Google’s search results.

Now your rankings may fluctuate over time (hopefully improving), but your content never disappears!

This means that after you put in the work to produce that great article about your specific business, product, or service and you publish it on your blog, that article will start the process of growing and reaping a harvest of high quality leads for your business.

Go ahead, write that great article about your business and plant that seed in the rich soil of Google search results.  If you do, you’ll reap the rewards of a long term, steady flow of prospects who are calling your phone or contacting you in some other manner – all of which most businesses would call leads.

Better still, this content that is forever published, searchable, and accessible in Google search results is delivering untold amounts of return on your effort for building your brand.  Content marketing can easily be replaced with the term brand marketing.  After all, both leverage the value of content for the advancement and promotion of a business.  And both have the same benefit of driving high quality traffic and exposure to your brand (or business).

With content marketing, you won’t ever have to worry about feeding Google your hard earned money in order to keep the clicks coming.  With a proper content marketing strategy, your content will be in front of the majority, and the highest quality, traffic on the web and will be the flood gate that allows a steady stream of traffic to hit your web pages.  All of which opens the door to connect with new leads and generate new business.

The Competitive Environment of Content

It’s interesting.  The more I work with clients on content marketing and search engine exposure, the more I realize just how un-competitive (or non-competitive, whichever…) the organic search results are.  Just look at the screen shot above.  Not a single local business in Lakeland, Florida has a webpage ranked on the front page of Google for “printer ink cartridges lakeland, fl”.

That’s a shame actually because I know for a fact those businesses exist.

But imagine the potential a local ink cartridge business could tap into if they had some content that was ranked on the first page of Google.  Content that had their local phone number, perhaps their local store address, and the content that sheds light on their expertise.  The returns to that business would be amazing.

And guess what, that business would truly never have to spend a dime for marketing that their content delivered to the business.

Now that’s a serious return on your investment!

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