Why do you think content marketing became such a hit on the Internet?
It’s always been around.
One way or the other businesses have always used content to build broadcasting platforms and then use these platforms to promote their products and services.
Take for instance niche magazines and tabloids. The sorts published by the food industry, the travel industry, even school magazines. Or religious publications. These are all age-old examples of content marketing. Build an audience, and once you have built an audience, use the platform to pitch your offer.
Not just niche publications. Even general, current affairs magazines and newspapers are examples of blogs. Many bloggers make money by showing ads on their blogs once they have built an audience. The same happens with conventional publications. They keep on publishing content and once many people begin to subscribe to them, they use these publications to sell ads, and even ideologies.
So, what is different on the web? Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to use ads to promote your business?
People use ad blockers.
Initially you had to use browser extensions and plug-ins to be able to block ads on web pages. These days the browsers come with native ad blockers.
Firefox has a native ad blocker. Safari has one. Even Google is reluctantly incorporating an ad blocker but since most of its revenue depends on publishing ads on the Google search engine, it doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind. But even if the Chrome browser doesn’t give you native ad blocking features, you can easily get numerous ad blocking extensions.
On the Internet, the problem isn’t just ad blocking. It’s very easy to commit frauds on the Internet because what sort of ads you pass on to your audience can be manipulated any time. This causes financial loss not just to the target audience, but even companies like Google that manage ads.
When you access ads, or rather, when you are exposed to ads in the conventional publishing media, your privacy isn’t being violated, which is the case, a norm, on the Internet.
Although you cannot avoid seeing those ads because they are intermingled with the content that you want to consume, there is no mechanism to track what sort of ads you watch more and how much time you spend reading what in a magazine or a newspaper.
This is a big reason why people have started using ad blockers – they are concerned about their privacy.
Anyway, whatever is the reason, on the Internet people don’t like coming across ads and if they can, they try to block them.
So, if they are so averse to seeing ads, how do you promote your business? How do you let them know that you have something valuable to offer?
Through effective content marketing.
Using effective content marketing to get past ad blockers
Although I have no grudge to grind against conventional advertising, content marketing is more effective, and also, more economical.
Technology these days makes advertising quite precise. Take for example Facebook; the data accuracy that Facebook owns is unprecedented. They know practically everything about you.
Google goes a step further. It doesn’t just know everything about you through its interface, if you keep yourself logged into your Google account, whatever you do on the web, whichever website you visit, whichever video you watch, whatsoever comment you leave, everything is being quietly noted by Google and then it is being passed on to advertisers to enable them to target their ads accordingly. There is nothing wrong in that as long as all this is done ethically and with your knowledge.
Advertising is transient. You have to be constantly in front of your audience to remind them of your business. This makes it very costly.
Suppose you advertise using the Google AdWords program. If you have used it, you know that you have to pay for every click that Google sends your way. This sort of PPC program is offered by every platform including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
These ads may work for businesses with big advertising and marketing budgets because they can afford to show you ads over a long period of time. Even if you don’t click those ads, even if you don’t do business with them through those ads, they don’t mind spending money just for brand visibility.
But, for a small business, commercial advertising and marketing can prove to be very expensive even if you forget about ad blocking, rampant among browsers these days.
A better alternative is content marketing. Once your proverbial wheel starts rolling, it pretty much powers itself.
Whereas in conventional advertising, the more you advertise, the more you pay, in content marketing, it depends on your strategy and innovation.
More content marketing doesn’t always mean more spend. In fact, the more effective your content marketing is, the less you have to spend on it.
Why content marketing is more effective than ads is because it builds relationships instead of simply urging people to do business with you.
Why should they do business with you if there is no connection? Why should they trust you? Why should they suddenly spend money on your product or service when there are so many other options available to them? What is so special about your business?
They won’t have such quandaries if you constantly provide value to them through your quality content. When they are constantly exposed to your quality content, they begin to trust you. They know that you know your stuff and you can be trusted with their business. They don’t mind spending their money on your product or service.
What sort of content marketing helps you get past ad blockers?
When you provide valuable content to your prospective customers and clients, they want to keep in touch on their own.
Whether you make them laugh, whether you entertain them or whether you give them useful information that they can use to grow their business or enrich their personal lives, they wouldn’t like to miss out on good stuff.
They make sure that they subscribe to your updates (if you publish a daily or weekly newsletter). They follow you on social media and social networking platforms. They engage with you.
Since, you are always interacting with them, sharing with them your thoughts on your business, you are constantly reminding them, without being intrusive or obstructive, what business you are in and what sort of help you can provide in case that help is needed.
You become a pleasant part of their daily lives. They look forward to hearing from you or getting your update or coming across your content somewhere. You are not one of those shady marketers constantly trying to sell them something or hoodwink them into buying something they don’t need.
Through content marketing you keep them informed. You update them regularly.
For example, if you sell an app, instead of constantly urging them to buy the app or subscribe to it, you tell them how they can use the app to improve their work. You share with them stories about people who have benefited from your app. You talk about the various problems that your app solves. You share tips with them to maximize their benefit in case they decide to use your app.
Effective content marketing improves your SEO
Another benefit of effectively using content marketing is, due to its nature, it organically improves your search engine rankings.
What does a search engine like Google need? It needs quality content.
The more valuable content you publish, the more valuable content it gets to crawl, index and rank.
Since you are constantly writing on your topic, you are handling its various aspects, you are constantly covering all your keywords, or your search terms, and their various combinations. Your website or your blog becomes rich with information about your profession or your expertise. You become an information hub about your topic or your profession. This gives Google more content to index. This improves your organic SEO.
More people link to you because of your quality content. More people share your content on their social media and social networking profiles. More people react to your content. This further improves your organic SEO.
Since your rankings improve naturally, you don’t have to spend money on a program like Google AdWords.
Since anyway people are interacting with your content on social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you don’t have to spend money on these platforms to highlight your content. This job is being done by your contacts, by your followers and by your friends.
Influencers in your industry or in related industries promote your content on their own.
Now that you don’t have to depend on advertising, due to content marketing, you don’t need to worry about getting past ad blockers anyway.