Joel Klettke is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at Vovia. Joel's also an experienced writer and local marketing expert.

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Content Marketing: The What & Why Behind SEO’s New Direction

SEO-direction“Content Marketing” is a major buzz word in online spheres lately. The challenge is defining exactly what that means, how it looks and why it’s necessary!

What is Content Marketing?

At its simplest, content marketing is creating something that is shareable, helpful, useful, interesting or funny and then sharing it with an audience that cares.

Why do we need to do this?!

Google is getting better at sniffing out manipulative linking. When the Penguin Update rolled out in April, many sites found that old methods of getting easy links were no longer viable. Directories, forum profiles, article spinning – these worked for a time (some still work!) but the end is in sight.

How are you supposed to get links now? The same way you get customers: make news, make friends – and get people talking about you. .

But the ideal outcome of content marketing is not limited to links. By answering the pain points of your market, you build an online presence that will increase awareness, generate leads and establish your brand.

What does Content Marketing look like?

First, try to answer the following questions:

– Who are our interest groups and target markets? (Think outside the box here!)
– Where do those markets interact online? Where do they go for information?
– What are the points of frustration for our customers? What are the questions they’re asking?

Then, create something that answers these questions. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

1. Blog Posts & Guest Posts
The idea isn’t just to blog a lot, it’s about quality. Can you tell your story or share industry insights? Can you comment on recent news? The gamut of compelling content is limitless, but it’s all about knowing your market.

Outreach to prominent industry bloggers or reviews websites is another great avenue; keep in mind that you may need to write about something other than your business that is still relevant to your niche.

2. Lending your expertise
This can come in the form of expert interviews, quotes for articles/pieces and more.

3.Simplifying a long or difficult process
What part of your industry frustrates customers? Can you create an info hub to make things easier? Write a helpful how-to?  Compile a list of resources?

4. Mashing up old information and data in new ways
The classic example is infographics – visual representations of compelling statistics. But there are other ways to do this: video, interactive media, white papers and more.

5. Contests & giveaways
Contests are great for short-term buzz, but when leveraged properly a contest can earn your site links as well.

A Quick Caveat!

Content marketing isn’t just about creating great things, it’s about making sure your market finds them. Great content needs to be shared; knowing where and how is something your SEO can help you with.

Common Objections

1. “We don’t know how to write!” /  “We don’t have time!”
If writing isn’t your forte or you’re too busy, consider allowing someone to produce the content on your behalf. With a little input, guidance and cooperation, you can delegate to someone with the time and expertise.

2. “We don’t have budget!”
The trade-off is time: can you or your staff invest time in creating this content? While there are cost-effective alternatives to paying professionals, keep in mind that your content reflects your brand.

3. “This isn’t what we’re paying you for.”
It can be hard to draw the connection between SEO and content marketing, but the fact is that SEO success revolves around getting linked to. Content marketing is a powerful, Google-approved way to do just that.

Top rankings are earned by building an online brand that stands above the competition. We believe SEO needs to be seen as a marketing function, not just a technical pursuit.

4. “We don’t know where to start.”

Content marketing begins by asking “what can we create to for our interest groups?” When you know the needs of your customers, a capable SEO can work with you to develop outreach plans that make sense for your business.

If you want to learn more about content marketing and start getting a leg up on the competition, we’d love to hear from you!