In the digital age, why has content marketing become king?

By Andrew Oziemblo, Founder & CEO of Chicago SEO Geeks, the digital marketing & SEO agency helping businesses achieve long-term growth goals.

Digital marketing has rapidly changed over the past few decades — so much so, that what was acceptable just five years ago is now a kiss of digital death.

Methods previously used unchanged for decades — print and digital advertisements, mailouts, brochures, etc. — are now being shelved and replaced with rich and engaging content. The main question is, why? Why has content suddenly become so important for businesses? What changed to influence such a huge shift to one single aspect of marketing? 

The answer lies within a few different areas: Evolving SEO algorithms, new business-consumer relationships in the digital era, and overcoming traditional marketing methods that no longer work, to name a few. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into each of these areas to explore why content marketing has become king, and how every business can use it to their advantage.

SEO algorithms reward sites with more content

As search engines mature, they are realizing that rankings are a cat and mouse game which is constantly evolving. After marketers discovered that websites with content were ranking higher in search engines, a lot of content was written with the goal of scoring points with those search engines — resulting in purposeless websites that were simply created as outlets for terribly written content.

To discourage that behavior, Google has recently tried to level the playing field within SEO results by placing a much heavier emphasis within its algorithm on rewarding websites that not only produce a lot of content, but produce quality content and at a consistent pace — rather than simply dumping content on a website all at once in an attempt to game the SEO rankings algorithm. Using AI algorithms, it’s becoming easier for search engines, and to identify content meant to enrich the user experience.

Google’s new algorithm works around the three pillars of content marketing: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. When companies combine all three of these concepts within their websites, they are bound to rank much higher in search results. 

Companies can improve their E.A.T. levels by getting featured in news articles or on other industry websites, soliciting user reviews, creating press releases, blogs and backlinks, and producing high-quality website content that provides useful answers and guides to industry-specific topics. For example, if you are an A/C and heating business, introducing a blog page filled with advice, how-to guides and common questions would probably help you rank above your other local A/C competition. 

Providing content builds brand awareness and increases trust

Did you know that companies who blog get 97% more links to their website in comparison to those who don’t blog? 

Creating well-researched content not only educates your audience about your industry and the benefits of your product or service, but it also demonstrates your expertise by enlightening them with the years of knowledge you have amassed on the topic. Likewise, if the message is truthful and honest, your target audience will appreciate the value you are providing them with.

Moreover, the more you dive in and create, the more you end up interacting with your audience. Your experiences, pitfalls and triumphs may all be turned into succinct content that you can publish. For instance, you can carry out case studies on your product longevity or your service’s proven results. When backed up by data, scientific method, and sound logic, you’ll be able to show your customers that you are truly a trustworthy expert in your industry.

In fact, blogs are the fifth most trustworthy source of information on the internet for consumers, according to one report. When so many consumers are turning to blog pages and websites for information they can rely on, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that for your own business?

Reach an audience that avoids traditional ads

As more and more websites have turned to ads and popups for income in the digital era, consumers have become more and more resistant to these ads, finding ways to avoid them altogether. 

According to an IAB report, 26% of desktop users and 15 percent of mobile consumers use ad blockers to remove ads from publisher’s websites. Those numbers become even higher when it comes to younger audiences: a Deloitte Global survey reported that more than 17% of consumers ages 18-34 block ads in four or more categories, making it much more difficult for ads to reach them.

This is another crucial reason for brands to go all-in on content marketing efforts. It’s becoming more clear than ever that traditional advertising isn’t working anymore, so for businesses who want to reach a bigger audience and convert leads, it’s time to switch to a content approach. Not only does quality content help your business rank higher in search engines and build more trust with your audience, but it can also help you with sales: Research shows that up to nine in 10 prospective consumers (84%) go on to make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog.

Successful businesses are already well-aware of the benefits of content marketing: In 2016, 36% of Fortune 500 companies were running blog pages on their websites, proving that for today’s businesses to succeed, they must recognize that content is king.

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