The question/comment that has landed in my inbox every year without fail since starting the ol’ blog…
‘Does content marketing still work?’
Or something to the tune of…
‘Blogging is so 2004…haven’t most audiences moved on to apps like Intagram and TikTok?’
Let’s chat about that a minute!
A) Phone a friend
B) Visit the library
C) Scroll through social media and hope the answer comes to you in your feed
D) Crack open Google for the eleventy-seventh time that week to get instant answers?
If you answered A or B, that’s actually very sweet and we need more of that in the world…
But for the most part we head straight to the Googs, right?
Everything from how to DIY your haircut at home during corona, to whether going meatless holds all the answers.
If you can wonder it, Google has an answer.
In fact, according to internetlivestats.com, there were 5,772,824,216 Google searches today alone…and that’s by just 2 PM-ish my time!
But it’s not just about getting found!
Establishing your authority on your niche topic.
After all, if you are giving this all away for free, you must be a wellspring of knowledge, and if your audience has questions in the future, they know who they can count on to hook them up.
Not to mention, you now have a sort of built-in FAQ library to point people to so you aren’t answering the same question 50 bajillion times on repeat in your inbox or DM’s.
You are still being super helpful, without the constant hand-holding!
And you can actually serve more people than you would if every single one of them had to contact you directly for answers. #winwin
Building trust as you help your audience experience results through what you share.
Pumping out legit valuable content is the easiest way to help your people achieve some quick wins on their way to their goals.
And who do you think will immediately come to mind when they decide they are ready to invest *actual* money in leveling-up that aspect of their life?
Now compare this to, say, ad campaigns as your main marketing strategy.
Ads can be out-of-this-world useful for getting your offerings in front of thousands of new eyeballs.
But with ads, you have to pay to play, and the minute you turn that campaign off, it stops generating leads for your business.
Meanwhile, I have posts I wrote yearssssss ago that are still bringing in new subscribers and sales on the daily.
Not to mention, the leads you get from ads are often cold leads…meaning they may very well have clicked over to your website and seen your offer, but that’s pretty much the extent of what they know about your business, and right now they trust you about as far as they can throw you.
So content marketing is a fabulous way to establish more trust to help you win over people you’ve attracted using your other marketing efforts.
Keeping your site visitors coming back again and again.
Say Sally visits your site, checks out your shop or services, but then gets distracted or feels undecided and closes the browser.
That’s probably the last time she is ever going to visit your site.
She already read your about page, and the handful of testimonials you have, but it didn’t really sell her on your product or service, and since there’s nothing really new for her to see, there’s no real reason to ever come back to your site.
But if you constantly have new content worth coming back again and again for, she will be reminded of your paid offering every single time she visits your site.
Content marketing is the perfect way to achieve that while still being genuinely helpful to your audience, and without feeling like a broken record begging people to “please buy my thing!”
Attracting people who are more likely to take action.
When someone shows up on your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, they are ready to learn.
They are hungry, and they are actively searching for answers, as opposed to passively scrolling in the hopes of being entertained or inspired.
So they are arguably more ready to execute on your tips/advice, experience those wins I mentioned earlier, and then celebrate your genius all the way to that buy or book now button.
Sidenote: Content can still be entertaining! Absolutely!
Mixing in entertainment is fabulous way to create connection with the people you are trying to help, and allows them to see you as a real #relatable person who is capable of putting yourself in their shoes and really serving them well.
Building a solid email list.
People are pretty worn out by offers to subscribe to yet another newsletter… and the internet is a sketchy place full of spammy Tammy’s out there trying to trick you into giving them your info.
What’s the best way to prove to site visitors that you have their best interest in mind when you ask them to hand over their precious deets?
Your free content!
Content marketing is a fab way to get building that email list full of people who are genuinely into what you’re offering!
Killing it with organic SEO
This one is major.
So major I recently devoted a whole post to it. (Check out: How I exploded my business using organic SEO)
It’s def worth bookmarking for later, but one of the main points I try to drive home is that just by consistently creating valuable content around your niche topic, you are naturally going to be using all the keywords most likely to get you found in a Google search!
It really can work…but only if you do:)
Yep, I’m afraid consistency really is key here.
Creating random bits of content here and there, no matter how valuable, probably isn’t going to land you in the top search spot.
It’s about deciding which type of content you will create, and on what niche topic, and sticking with it week in and week out – or whatever frequency you decide…it’s best to pick a format and frequency of content that you know you can commit to!
Basically, you want your audience to feel like they can set their clocks by how reliably you publish your content.
I once had someone say that she looks so forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings, because she knows that no matter what is going on in the world, she knows that if she visits the blog, she will have brand new online business & website-building inspiration waiting for her to read on the train ride to work.
(And besides one very crazy month where I had to rerecord my entire Square Secrets Course almost overnight, I have yet to let that dear reader down.)
So content is not just about attracting the new, but retaining the audience you already have, because getting them in the door isn’t always enough!
You need to be able to nurture your relationship with them while they ponder purchasing your thing.
“Before Square Secrets I was completely overwhelmed by all the bits and pieces of what to do and I just didn’t know what to do first!
I knew there must be a way to organize all the website things but knew it would take forever to work out. I didn’t want my website to take forever. I wanted to be shown the best way and do it!
I bought the course without thinking twice as from Paige’s extensive blogging, I trusted her expertise.”
– Freya Rose Tanner
“I have been following Paige’s life-saving blog posts for a while now trying to get every bit of knowledge she has put out (freely) and when I heard she was teaching an ‘ins-and-outs’ Squarespace ‘secrets’ course I knew I had to jump on it!
I wasn’t even concerned about the price because I knew that what ever information Paige would teach would be worth every penny!”
– Christian Nondys
And all without any of the icky salesperson feels. ♀️
So, another aspect of this ‘does it work for everyone?’ dilemma is choosing the right type of content for your topic!
It’s more than just about what you know, but also the how of delivering it!
So say you are a photographer…
Your audience might genuinely enjoy a podcast for getting to know your personality, or your heart behind what you do, but when it comes down to picking a wedding photographer, the proof is in the pudding (read: the photos.)
And because you can’t stick a photo in a podcast, something like blogging might be your best bet.
This way, you can:
A) Still tell a story and share your personality
B) Show off your images, anddd…
C) Name those images for SEO (so that they will actually appear in a Google search when someone searches “Washington wedding photographer”
Three with one stone!
Now, say you are a mechanic!
It might not be so easy to lay out your expertise in writing when you really need to be able to demonstrate step-by-step what it is you’re tinkering with.
So video might be more your thing.
If you are a coach, or some sort of thought leader, then podcasting would definitely be of value to your audience, because your audience might lean towards being able to multi-task while they absorb your content, say while they workout, clean, drive to work, etc.
(But like I mentioned in a previous post, you’re still going to want to have some sort of long-form show notes for SEO purposes so that your content is still keyword searchable!)
Getting content marketing to work for you is all about choosing a niche topic, the right platform for your topic, and getting consistent.
Then, no matter the format, making sure search engines have a way of cataloging your content to deliver in search results!
That’s not to say other marketing efforts like social media aren’t valuable, because those apps are a wonderful spotlight for brands who want to build more engagement and connection!
I actually had my mind totally changed about Instagram recently, when I finally learned how to make Instagram drive sales.
But when it comes to being ‘findable,’ by your people (locally and globally) the search functions within these apps are not quite as advanced.
Even though you can technically add alt text (A.K.A SEO keywords) to your images in social media using your advanced post settings, the images that appear in Google search results generally come from websites, or even Pinterest results that lead back to websites, over serving up an image you posted on social media 37 weeks ago.
And since hashtags that use literal, relevant keywords don’t seem to be as popular as trending hashtags (ones like #herestothecreatives, #solopreneurlife), it really isn’t the most reliable search engine.
You would have to know what trending hashtags people are using to be able to find relevant businesses.
If you only share your genius on Insta, a few weeks go by and that content gets swallowed up by other content.
Unless someone is thoroughly stalking your account, they may never know you wrote that super helpful caption.
So just like with video and podcasting, if you’re using social media to market your business, it’s best to find a way to compliment that strategy with something that is searchable!