Over the many years I have worked in online marketing, dating back to the last century (yeah, I know, crazy), I have written an awful lot of content. Note, that’s an ‘awful lot of content’ as opposed to ‘a lot of awful content’. The distinction is slight, but important.
Through Engage Web, we have produced hundreds of thousands of pieces of content for clients, and for the clients of other online marketing agencies for which we have worked. It’s safe to say we’ve got some experience of content marketing.
Now, not all content is hugely successful and shared by everyone who reads it. It’s important we state that right off the bat. Content marketing can be very hit and miss, and you don’t hit the bullseye with every throw. Some content is quite successful, and generates a lot of page views, links, followers on social media, increased rankings and enquiries or sales.
Some content, however, explodes. When I say ‘explodes’, I mean goes nuclear. It’s the sort of content that generates thousands of views per month, every month, forever. The sort of content that makes Google go all weak at the knees for you, placing you on a pedestal above all others, and sending a flow of people your way similar in volume to what the Daily Mail would have us believe is coming through the Channel Tunnel.
What is this ‘exploding’ content of which you speak?
For content to truly explode, it needs to fill a need that is otherwise unfilled – to answer a question yet unanswered, to explain something previously unexplained or to preempt something before it has even been asked.
Or it could just do something already done before, but better. Much, much better.
Let’s look at some examples. In May 2014 I wrote this article about cyberbullying, and how to trace a fake Facebook account for Engage Web. I wrote the article because I needed to trace a fake Facebook account myself, and found there was nothing online about how to do it. The article laid out the steps I took, where I had to go and the results I achieved.
I thought it might be of interest to others who needed to trace a fake Facebook profile. I was not expecting the result it achieved, however.
The article’s burn cycle started very slowly, with just a few visits each day for the first month, generating only 81 page views for the month and just 68 unique page views. This was very modest and, if I’m honest, I was a little disappointed. However, the average time on the site for this first month was over 9 minutes. This was very encouraging, as it suggested anyone who was landing on the page was reading the article, and in detail. Perhaps they liked it and would share it?
The stats for the article began to increase each month until, by the end of the year, it had achieved 3,889 page views and 3,287 unique page views. Again, this is nothing earth shattering. It’s a good, solid set of stats for a nice bit of content.
In 2015, however (remember this article was published on May 1st 2014) the views of the article began to increase even more. During the course of 2015, the article (one single article on our website) generated 27,368 page views and 24,045 unique page views.
That’s more than 24,000 people who read an article on our website – an article written the year before.
To date, the article has received more than 32,000 unique page views with, incidentally, more than 27,000 of those coming from Google. Why? Because the article ranks #1 in Google for searches such as ‘trace a fake Facebook account’.
Don’t get me wrong, there are other websites out there talking about this subject but, as I found when I was researching it in the first instance, none of them actually knew how to do it. The article I wrote explains exactly how you do it, and that’s the information people are looking for with that search. That is why is ranks so highly in Google – it answers the question people are asking, and it provides them with the content they are looking for. That is what content marketing is all about.
Even with the steps for tracing a fake Facebook profile laid out in detail, we still get emails from people asking for help and, sadly, we’re unable to offer assistance. Tracing a fake Facebook profile is very time consuming, but it’s something you can do for yourself after reading the article.
Of course you don’t have to be an expert on cybercrime and tracing fake Facebook profiles to write content that attracts visits and engagement. You can write about anything that is of interest to you and your audience. For instance, one article I wrote a few years ago for my personal blog concerned a company that takes payment from people for ‘checking’ their driving licence application forms.
This doesn’t sound very exciting? Ah, well, you see – it takes payment for ‘checking’ the forms, but the people who use the service think they’re actually paying for the driving licence. They’re not, they’re paying for their forms to be checked and sent to them. The Post Office does this for free. This is what is called ‘a scam’. As it’s online-based, it was well within my field of expertise, and it needed writing about. The blog has generated thousands of visits since it was written, and many comments from people who have also been conned by the website.
That’s the key – if others will be looking for something, and you write about that something in more detail and insightfulness than anyone else (or before anyone else), you’ll be the ‘go-to’ website for Google. You’ll be the authority in your industry. You’ll be the destination at the end of the search.
That kind of outcome is invaluable as a business, and gives you the brand awareness you can’t get in any other way. By being seen as an expert in your field on a particular subject, you’ll also pick up enquiries and contacts you would otherwise be unable to get. For example, as a result of content marketing, I’ve been asked to give expert quotes for news sources such as the BBC, Sky News and the Telegraph.
Still think content marketing is a waste of time?