Internet marketers are of one mind when it comes to the value of good content. For many years, the axiom for many has been “Content is King”. The value of good content is undeniable, but not all content is created equal. Getting the maximum value from the content that businesses post on their websites requires a little knowledge about how people use content and how search engine algorithms search for and rate relevant content. This post will examine some of the research about content marketing and show how business owners can use customized content to advance their brand.
One of the key advantages of content marketing is that business owners can customize their content so that they are speaking directly to the needs of their audience. A 2011 study called Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Custom Content supported this notion when it reported that seven in 10 consumers say they like custom content because it’s tailored to their specific interests. The study offered other insights that showcased the value of original content. For example, because consumers found custom content so useful, they were willing to overlook the fact that it came from a source that was trying to sell them something. And 70 percent of those studied reported the would rather learn about a company through a series of articles than through advertisements.
According to a press release from the group that published the study, “Two-thirds of consumers say the information provided by custom media helps them make better purchase decisions. More than half say they are more willing to buy another product from a company that provides them with custom media.”
Using original content is also beneficial for a business’s relationship with their customers. People who are searching online can notice when a page contains nothing new from a page they previously visited and they will quickly move on to a page with something different. Custom, original content gets people to stay on the page longer. It also affects the way they view the company that that is publishing the information. In one study, 90 percent of the consumers surveyed said they found custom, original content to be useful. In the same study, 78 percent of respondents believed that organizations that provided custom content were interested in building good relationships with customers. And according to a different report, 61 percent of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content.
One technique that has gained a lot of use among B2B blogs, is using lists of statistics that are scraped from other sources. This tactic is unfortunately a double-edge sword. On the one hand, marketers and business owners who are looking for quick numbers to stick in presentation slides can easily use these list for information without having to wade through the context of the research. The problem with this is that even though the content comes from multiple sources, if the stats themselves are still copied from other sites, search engines, like Google, will rank the page lower since the content still isn’t original enough. This doesn’t mean marketers can’t use lists of stats on their blogs. But it does suggest that they use other forms of original content as well as part of an SEO strategy.
What this research and analysis shows is that there is a clear market for custom, original content online. Consumers depend on the articles they read to learn about industries, products, and individual companies, and what they learn directly affects their decisions. Despite the temptation to take the easy way out and try to copy content from other sources, doing so does a disadvantage to the organization in multiple ways. For business owners who don’t have the time or expertise to be good content creators, the solution may be to outsource this function to a marketing agency or freelance writer. As important as it is for a business to be a part of the global online conversation, it’s just as important that they have something original and meaningful to say.