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Why Content Marketing is Useless Without Providing ValuePublished by Kenny Novak • Category: Content Marketing

The concept of content marketing has been going around for a few years now, and it has gained a bit of controversy as it circulates. Many marketing blogs and SEO sites recommend it as the primary way to get ahead. Google seems to promote it at every turn. Yet many veteran marketers argue that the term itself is valueless and that the concept is nothing new.

Content marketing as a whole, as an industry, is the idea of creating pieces of content and then promoting that content. It’s just like any other form of promotion. If you’re marketing a product, or you’re marketing a blog post, you’re using the same basic techniques. The difference is that marketing a blog post is a means to an end, rather than the end itself.

Content is a bridge between gaining an audience and turning that audience into paying customers. You can’t, on today’s web, write promotional posts and get away with it. The prevailing attitudes have shifted.

How Content Marketing Works


Content marketing is a process that is designed to earn you sales, like any form of marketing. The process looks something like this:

1. Create a website that hosts your product descriptions and online storefront.
2. Create a blog.
3. Write and publish blog posts related to your industry, products and users.
4. Promote those posts via email newsletters, social media and other digital avenues.
5. Attract users with your content.
6. Guide users around your site, from content to content.
7. Build your reputation for trust and insight.
8. Leverage your reputation to convince users that your product offerings are worth the price of admission.
9. Sell your products to those customers and continue to build your reputation.

Now, this is a complex and ongoing process involving virtually every aspect of marketing and search engine optimization. You need to design a powerful website. You need to create useful content. You need to promote in the right way, without alienating users, while targeting those most likely to be interested in your product. You need a product worth buying at a price that’s attractive to users but high enough to allow you to make a profit.

At the core of content marketing, as you can see, is the content itself. Your content is extremely important. You won’t make any headway without valuable content. In fact, value is necessary every step of the way.

Where Value Enters the Picture


Consider the list again. Here’s where value is required for each step.

1. Creating your website. You need value here for your users so you can convince them that your business, your blog and your product are all legitimate and useful. Product descriptions need to be valuable. Service pages should have valuable descriptions of your services, explaining just what you offer and how it compares to other packages.

2. Creating a blog, writing and publishing blog posts and sharing those posts. This is where value really shines through. More on this below, but basically, you need value in your content to make that content worth reading and sharing. If you’re publishing content without value, users will see that you don’t care about what you’re publishing. They’ll extend that attitude to your products and services; you don’t care to offer the best you can.

3. Attract users with your content. Value is important here, because when a user finds value in your content, they are more likely to share that content. They’re also more likely to attribute that value and attention to detail to your company as a whole.

4. Guiding the user experience doesn’t play so much on value, but it does assume that your content is valuable enough to attract readers in the first place.

5. Build your reputation for trust and insight. This is done entirely through valuable offerings.

6. Leverage your reputation and sell your products. Without value, you never reach this step.

Value in your blog is completely essential.

  • Value requires that you know your audience and know how to target them. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You need to know who is interested in your product or service so you can learn what it is they’re looking for. Once you know that, you can produce that content and provide them with value to bring them in, hook them and keep them around. Valuable content also brings in other audiences that may be related in some way, allowing you to broaden your offerings and expand your business.
  • Value drives knowing what content to publish. This is very important, as Google puts an emphasis on fresh content over older content, all other things being equal. That doesn’t mean your shallow, new content is going to outrank older, more detailed content; that’s the value again. Valuable content lasts longer than thin content and ranks higher overall. Knowing where you’re getting your value allows you to craft a content calendar, giving you a schedule of posts to make on a weekly or daily basis.
  • Value from post to post allows you to link between those posts and give users a reasonable excuse to click from one to the next. This is an SEO factor, for one thing; interlinked content is better at ranking than segregated content. It’s also how you keep users around on your site, where they can be exposed to your other marketing channels, encouraged to follow your social media profiles, enticed to join your newsletter and prodded to purchase your product.

The Google Factor


If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, you can always just look at the existing industry of SEO and Google’s webmaster guidelines. Google determines where your site ranks in search, which in turn determines how hard or easy it is to gather an audience, keep them around and get them buying your products. What does Google say? Provide value to your users for maximum search ranking. It’s more beneficial to focus on value to your customers than it is to focus on keyword optimization, or link building, or PageRank sculpting, or any other SEO technique. All of those techniques have a place, of course, but that place is supporting your content.

Written by Kenny Novak

Kenny Novak

Kenny is an SEM and SEO professional. He uses blogging and content marketing as a launchpad for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.


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