Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 9.31.43 AMWhen it comes to online marketing trends, there’s no doubt that 2013 is the year of content marketing. Why?

  • In April of 2012, Google cracked down on websites building low-quality links. Links are still very important, but instead of “building” them, now you need to earn them by creating great content and promoting it on social media.
  • According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 60% of marketers are investing more in content marketing in 2013 than in 2012.

What Content Can Do for Your Business

  • Domain Authority. When you create content, if it’s very good and you promote it well, people will link to it, retweet it, share it on Facebook and +1 it on Google Plus. All these customer signals are what Google uses to determine which websites are trustworthy. The more links and social signals you get, the better you’re going to rank on Google.
  • Traffic Acquisition. There are two ways content can help you get traffic: 1) people will find your content on search engines, so the more topics you have content on the more keywords you’re going to rank for and 2) if your content is great it will get shared and passed around, bringing more people to your website.
  • An Excuse to Rave About Your Company. Content gives your followers a reason to rave about your company. Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking “today I’m going to promote Digital Aptitude,” but when we create a piece of content they like, they share it with their friends. Your followers want to spread the word about you, but you need to make it easy for them to do so.
  • Customer Education. The number one reason people don’t buy something online is “not enough information to make a decision.” Content is a great way to educate your customers so they feel comfortable buying from you. What are their main concerns? What do they need to know in order to buy from you? Find out what their questions are and address them with killer content.
  • Community Building. Did you know that 92% of your web visitors aren’t ready to buy yet? Most people do a ton of research online before actually buying something, so if the only option on your website is to buy stuff, you’re ignoring 92% of your visitors. By all means make it super easy for people to buy from you, but also give them an option to stay in touch with you if they aren’t ready to buy yet. Offer them a whitepaper or a limited-time offer coupon in exchange for an email address, or give them a compelling reason to connect with you through social media. The better your content, the better your odds to get people to give you their email address and follow you on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Rapport Building. I’ve been blogging for six years. I started with a few dozen followers and now our blog has over 30,000 subscribers. On my blog I talk very openly about my successes, failures and the lessons I learned along the way. Because of this, when we get phone calls from new clients they always say things like “I’ve been following you for a few years now.” Those conversations are really easy to have because these people know me, know what values I stand for and even though I’ve never met most of them, there’s always a very strong feeling of familiarity. Content allows you to build rapport with your followers, build familiarity with your team and products, and become a trusted source for the people you’re connected with.
  • Customer Validation. One out of four online purchases generates buyer’s remorse, the feeling that you shouldn’t have bought something you just did. Content is great for staying in touch with your existing customers, showing them that you’re on top of your game and that you’re an expert in your field. This validates their decision to buy from you and helps them feel good about how they spent their money.
  • Repeat Business and Referrals. When you’re in constant touch with your customers, you increase your chances of getting more business and referrals from them. Make sure you don’t overdo it; you don’t want to look like a spammer. It’s all about making sure your content is useful, relevant and timely.