The phrase ‘content is king’ is cliché and worn out. Don’t we all hate it when we hear it being repeated at meetings, social media advertisements, and practically everywhere else? But, let’s face it, content in all its current forms is indeed the definition of the word king: “something preeminent in its class.”
So, why and how exactly has content managed to retain its crown over the years? There are a number of reasons for this. The first is obviously the benefits of content marketing, the trump card for all marketing initiatives. Afterall, it centres around the customer, without giving itself all the limelight. It does not interrupt people, but intends to attract them. It’s basically more about them, and not you. Obviously, then they love it.
The other reason for content being so popular through the ages is the fact that both content and the medium through t which it is disseminated, have been democratized. Blame it on the ‘kids these days’ or their damn smartphones, anyone with a device that enables them to consume content is capable of getting it where they want it, and whenever they find time. The massive amount of digital content that is being created, exchanged, and consumed is growing every day, across the world. The fact that easy and cheap access to the Internet has democratized access to creation and distribution platforms, has blurred the boundaries between professional and amateur content.
The Evolution of Content
Imagine Facebook without content. How about Twitter? Or LinkedIn and Instagram? What about your television sets, Netflix subscriptions, billboards? What would they all look like if they didn’t have content? There would just exist as blank spaces that no one would visit, because well, why should they if there’s nothing to see.
All of your social media is basically content. Your blog or website is content. Even paid media – advertising – depends on content. Yes, there is some creative involved, but they are still primarily content.
How did we reach here?
For many years, marketers had been pushing out messages to consumers – through commercials at sporting events, radio jingles, ads on your TV, and in newspapers. However, this type of communication of content was only one way, and purely focused on the product. So, when the mobile phone and Internet arrived, the entire process of content generation and dissemination changed drastically.
Personal blogging first took off way back in 2002, with people turning a hobby into a career. Different styles of blogging emerged one after the other. Thanks to the rise of personal blogging, marketers then began to understand how quality content, relevance, keyword research and paid ads could help them increase traffic to their websites, while also generating leads. Eventually, content marketing and SEO struck a deal to create the perfect balance, as Google got smarter with every algorithm update. Consumers now had a way to instantly communicate with each other. And with the advent of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, these conversations also began to happen in groups.
Brands realized that now the consumer needed to do all the talking. If you notice, over the last decade or so, there has been a massive shift in brand communication from marketer to the consumer. Consumers can now shut out unnecessary content, and choose exactly what they want to consume. Today, individuals who post good content on their social media channels have started drawing followers, and have been acknowledged by brands as influencers or digital brand ambassadors.
We have been seeing this steady rise in the culture of content because everyone is now creating content. Some skeptical people might just shrug it off as, but as more and more channels and mediums proliferate our lives, consumers are soon going to become the voice of a brand; it’s going to be invariably good for marketers.
Additionally, now content is becoming more important than ever because digital advertising such as banners, videos, and other formats are becoming less efficient. Notice how more people are now starting to use ad blockers? According to research, around 30% of all internet users now use ad blockers, which can be problematic for businesses trying to reach their audiences, and tech platforms looking to demonstrate the value of their ad tools. So, we are all faced with the challenge of finding more innovative ways to reach out to people, and unique and impactful content is the only key.
The importance of good content
Now that we have demonstrated the evolution of content’s importance in our lives, let’s get into why exactly is it good for us.
Better SEO and More Traffic
Great quality, and non-plagiarized content on any of your brand’s communication channels – blogs, social media, etc. – can have a significant impact on SEO and search engine ranking. Firstly, when you publish more unique content, link them methodically to internal content, and add relevant keywords, it helps your brand website rank organically for relevant search terms and keywords. A higher ranking means more exposure for your brand, which means more consumers (digital) with interest in your industry will be able to reach out to you. And secondly, consistently publishing good content will help you create more authority in your space.
Not just that, good content is also a great way to drive more traffic to your brand through different mediums like website or social media platforms. So, for instance, good content will keep consumers on the site for longer. If you have a website with an onsite blog full of engaging content, it will create a lasting impression on the consumer and encourage them keep coming back for more.
Generate New Leads
Great content pieces help create brand awareness and authority in a market that is saturated with products and services. This can then generate new leads and increase sales for your brand as more consumers become exposed to you. Remember though, that good content will be less sale-sy, so that consumers are able to authentically engage with your brand. Don’t drown them in cliché. It could have a negative effect on your relationship with them. A good content piece should foster and nurture the relationship so that they ultimately become your brand advocate.
No matter what kind of content you choose to document – blog, social media post, billboard, TV ad – it will encourage consumers to engage with the brand. If your content is good, they will pause to check it out, consume the content, understand your brand values better, and ultimately even convert. And believe it or not, they may actually also become your unofficial brand ambassadors when to choose to share that piece of content with their network. Yes, engagement is measured in likes and comments, but another key metric of successful content promotion is engagement vis-à-vis word-of-mouth marketing. The ad you just placed on TV? Maybe a housewife loved it so much that she went and encouraged 5 more women in her network to buy the product. That’s the power of content.
Adds Value to Your Brand
A great, quality piece of content that also adds value to your consumer in some way or the other will also ultimately add value to your brand reputation. That is because your brand will be perceived in a way that aims to help its consumers, rather than impose itself on them. It might not have a direct monetary value, but will definitely do wonders for your relationship with the consumer. Good content can elevate your brand reputation by miles.