5 essential reasons to develop a strong content strategy

Content concept on a laptop screen

‘Words are all that I have to take your heart away’ are the lyrics of the popular romantic ballad ‘Words’ whose multiple versions have been sung by Beegees, Elvis Presley and Boyzone. Today’s marketing gurus can take inspiration from these performers and invest in creating compelling content.

But why must one develop a strong content strategy?

Here are 5 important reasons to do so:

SEO

Over the last few years, webmasters, business owners and digital marketers have been slowly understanding the correlation between content and higher search engine rankings. But most of them still aren’t aware about the Hummingbird update.

What is the ‘Hummingbird’ update?

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Google ends up making 500 to 600 minor updates to its search engine every year. But once in a while, a massive update comes along which deserves its own name. The Hummingbird update ,that was announced in 2013, is Google’s biggest search engine update done so far.  Amit Singhal, Google’s Senior Vice President of Search, declared that 90% of search results would be impacted by it.

So how does it impact my website’s search rankings?

‘Hummingbird update’ gives significant importance to content created on your website. Even if you have several backlinks but aren’t investing in generating strong content, you are likely to lose out to a competitor with fewer backlinks but better and more content.

Oh shucks! Is that so? What do I do now?

Simple, start creating more content. Well research, exhaustive and augmented with images or videos or infographics.

But I am already doing that.

Really? Let me ask you some specific questions –

Is every article written on your website have a word count of atleast 2000 words?

Is every article well-research with relevant facts peppered all over it?

Does every article have a comment or two by an authority on that subject?

Does your content appeal to readers?…

Ok! Ok! Please do share important tips to create Hummingbird optimized content.

Sure! Here you go:

  1. Create long form content pieces. Every article should have a word count of atleast 2000 words
  2. All these articles must be researched thoroughly. Include important facts as well as comments by leading and relevant experts
  3. Don’t write for search engines. Write for your readers
  4. Create focussed content for a single niche and not for various niches
  5. Just keep writing! Create as much as content as possible.
  6. Only write about topics which are relevant to your field of expertise and not about anything else
  7. AGAIN, FOCUS ON CONTENT THAT IS COMPELLING, WELL-RESEARCHED AND AUTHORITATIVE! Keywords and links are secondary!

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And guess what, when this happens you will find other websites, maybe even those which have a better domain authority than yours, linking back to your blogs without you having to pay or offer a favour to get a credible backlink

Educate your viewers

Imagine that you purchase your local grocery store once a week. Everytime you get into the shop, the shopkeeper only tries to sell the latest or costliest product in his inventory to you. There is no value addition he offers beyond that. At the most, maybe a discount, if you pester him enough and assure him that you would purchase only from his store all the time.

After a few months, a new grocery shop opens up close by. The owner is friendlier and chats with you every time you go into his shop. Sometimes, you end up buying a costly product. He intervenes and informs you that there are better products at a cheaper rate. Once in a while, he also shares some tips about how to preserve pickles longer or choose the right type of foodgrain. If you have to send your husband once in a while, you would figure that this shopkeeper doesn’t overcharge your husband for vegetables.

Among the both the shopkeepers, who would find themselves retaining you as a customer for long?

I guess you know the answer.

So why do you only keep selling to your customers?

Start educating your customers. Are you in the business of selling CCTV cameras? Write an article about 8 important reasons for your customers to own cctv cameras. Are you handling digital marketing for a restaurant? Share recipes once in a while with your patrons.

After writing content on your blogs, you can also share a link to it with your customers or prospects through Email or Whatsapp, provided they have given you the permission to do so!

You may discover that prospective customers have been reading your blogs for several months before they finally turned customers. Doesn’t this make sense when it comes to a high involvement category like real estate?

Even if they don’t turn customers, you would have earned enough goodwill to be given references of prospective customers by some of  your readers.

Brand Recall

If you are running a business, for every customer you have, you will know around 15 prospects. These are 15 prospective customers who have the potential of doing business with you but haven’t yet.

They don’t dislike you.

In fact, they love to meet you. They give you ample time. They are connected with you over social network platforms.

But when you call them once in a while to enquire about business or referrals, this is the answer you may get -”There was a project which we could have given you, but I didn’t remember that you do it, so I had to involve another vendor” or “Oh! I didn’t know you offer this service! Otherwise I would have surely involved you in this project”

The latter would happen even if you have informed your prospect multiple times about offering that particular service.

Why do you think this happens?

This is because when the time arrives to invite vendors for pitches or choose one, the decision maker just doesn’t remember you. There is nothing about you or your offering that he may recall.

From my experience, this is the growth of brand recall over a scale of time when you don’t engage enough with your prospects

And this is the growth of brand recall over a scale of time when you engage with your prospects

Engaging regularly with your prospects through content marketing will help you gain substantially high brand recall. And this would convert into higher number of leads and hence more customers.

Evangelists

When you educate your customers and prospects by consistently creating content, they begin to recall your concepts and offerings more and more. Slowly, you turn them into evangelists. They love your ideas. They talk about it with other people. This enable you to slowly achieve a critical mass of an enough number of decision makers knowing about you and what you do.

Even today, an individual prefers taking the final buying decision on the basis of referrals

Don’t believe me?

Here is a fact [unlike my impish attempt to create a brand recall graph]:

According to Heinz Marketing,

84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral

82% of sales leaders agree that referrals are the best leads you can get

59% believe that referred customers have higher lifetime value

Thought leadership

A key point of differentiation from customers is thought leadership, especially in B2B scenarios. Prospects and customers trust a thought leader.

Wait a minute, what is thought leadership?

Thought leadership means being able to be consistently share original ideas which can help your customers and prospects. It also means being an expert or possibly the last word on a particular niche.

For example if you are selling men’s wear online and if a young man is making a critical decision about buying his first ever three piece suit, he must ask you for advice.

How can I be a thought leader?

Apart from writing blogs, you can also create content on Linkedin and write answers to relevant questions on Quora.

Don’t be selfish with your knowledge.

Share it with the world!

Will it have an impact?

According to this study conducted by Edelman and Linkedin:

55% of C-Level Executives shared their contact information with prospective vendor

42% of  C-Level Executives reached out to prospective vendor

30% of business decision makers have removed companies from consideration after engaging with what they viewed as poor thought leadership content

Once you brand your firm as a thought leader in your industry, you would transform into a strategic partner from a mere vendor. This would give you an upper hand when it comes to closing the project on your terms , for example – you can offer your services at a higher price or negotiate for a larger advance.

Finding it difficult to create a content strategy? Get in touch with us by clicking here and we can help.

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