24 years ago, before the evolution and mass adoption of social media, when blogs were still a novelty and websites were still in relatively primitive states, Bill Gates penned an essay titled “Content is King.”
Reading the 1996 essay now, it feels as though Gates had some kind of portal into the future:
“If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”
And while if anyone was going to have a time machine to travel forward in the future, it would certainly be Bill Gates, there is no way that he could have accurately predicted just how vast and all encompassing the digital world would be. He could not have predicted the sheer volume of content created and distributed on a daily, let alone hourly, basis. But he hit the nail on the head when he said, “Content is king.”
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that establishes the process of creating valuable, high-quality content to engage, intrigue, and inform current and potential customers. It has become something of a buzzword in recent years, and yet it is often overlooked or misunderstood.
Even so, it remains paramount to a successful, holistic marketing strategy for one significant reason: rather than being about the brand, content marketing is almost entirely about the customer, and the connection the customer can make to the brand. Quality content resonates with customers. It is relatable, useful and relevant. With the infinite volume of content out in the world today, it is that much harder, and all the more meaningful, when a brand is able to capture a customer’s attention with its own high-quality content.
A few other reasons we stand by Bill Gates’s “content is king” motto:
Content increases traffic to your owned channels (website, social media channels, blogs and YouTube), and can help increase conversions. Regular, consistent content is needed to keep current customers engaged with your brand. By repurposing old content and creating new content on a regular schedule, and distributing it across your brand’s channels, you maintain a presence that keeps customers captivated and engaged while simultaneously driving traffic to your website. And that traffic can lead to more results: Hubspot found that landing page content increased website conversions by 55 percent.
Good content helps to create free brand ambassadors. Not much in life is certain, but one statement stands the test of time: people love sharing good content. People are constantly sharing content on their own social media channels, via email and WhatsApp and through word-of-mouth, that they want others to see. In doing so, they become your brand’s ambassadors by default.
The higher quality content your brand puts out there, the more likely it is that people will want to share it. And the more that they share it, the greater the reach of the content. The greater the reach of the content, the more likely it is that more people will engage with that content. The more people that engage with the content leads to greater brand awareness. Greater brand awareness can lead to establishing new relationships with a greater amount of potential customers, which can lead to more conversions… (hopefully you see where we are going with this).
The more your content is shared, the less time and money your brand needs to spend on tactics that drive brand awareness.
Content marketing provides a boost to your rankings. Simply put: the more quality content your brand has, the higher Google will rank your brand. Thoughtful, well-written and frequently produced content triggers Google to place that content higher in users’ search engine results, making it more visible and thus making it easier for current and potential customers to discover your brand’s content and drive traffic to designated landing pages.
A lot has changed since 1996, but the wisdom of Bill Gates still rings true. In his “content is king” essay, he also noted that when it comes to the Internet and content creation, “No company is too small to participate.” Developing and implementing a successful content marketing strategy may seem overwhelming, but it is scalable, feasible, and something that every brand should work to incorporate into their marketing mix.
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