What is Content Marketing According to You?

Content marketing and wirting servicesContent marketing is the buzzword in business and marketing at the moment. I’ve been heavily involved in this industry, if you can call it that, for maybe 7 years now and still wonder what exactly it encompasses.

I thought it would be good to get a selection of the industry expert definitions and ask a few business people what they thought it meant and maybe more importantly what it means to them and how it affects their business.

 

How a brand creates, delivers and governs original or curated content to attract and retain customers, positioning the brand as a credible expert and, ultimately, motivating a change in behaviour

Content Marketing Institute

 

“Content marketing encompasses all forms of content that directly or indirectly promote a business, brand, product, or service.”

Dummies.com

 

“Before we get into my predictions for content marketing in 2014, let’s define content marketing. Content marketing is really about providing valuable information or content to current and potential customers for the purpose of building trust, branding, awareness, and positive sentiment. A successful content marketing campaign establishes you as an expert in your field, and that sets the groundwork for a long-term business relationship.

Simply put, its primary focus is on building the relationship, not the hard sell.”

Forbes

 

“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

Copyblogger

 

What is your definition of content marketing and what does it involve for you? Please reply to #whatiscm or DM me. I’ll publish the answers here

From Pauper to Prince and Beyond – How Content Writing Became King

history of seoSEO is one of the most important things for a website. It can be responsible for a huge part, if not all, of your monthly visits. It’s a complex process, and one that is constantly evolving. You probably know that good SEO is strongly tied to having great content. But where did SEO and SEO content writing come from?

We take a look at the history of search engines, and the way they have created and shaped the demand for web content.

The first search engine

The first search engine was Archie (named after archive). While the internet was not around when Archie was developed, it was useful for searching the publicly available files on a small network at McGill University, Montreal. Archie kept an index of all the available files, so users could search for relevant information and download the files onto their computer. Because of limited space, Archie could only point you to the relevant file link, and not display its contents as we do today with web pages. While not connected to the internet, Archie for the template for search engines that would follow in the next few years.

The dawn of SEO

The first glimpse of SEO can be traced back to 1994, when Brian Pinkerton invented the first web crawler that could index entire web pages. Originally a desktop application, Webcrawler went live with a database of around 4,000 web pages. Before web crawlers became commonly utilised, search engines were powered by humans – researchers would collect data on websites and catalogue them in a database. Yahoo! combined both approaches to begin with – suggestions from its robot crawlers would only appear if the search term didn’t match anything catalogued in the database by its researchers.

In 1998 Google launched Page Rank, a way of assessing the incoming links on a web page to determine its importance. It was this move than begun the long relationship between SEO and links. In 2000 the company launched a Page Rank toolbar, so SEOs could check how well their website was performing. It helped them to work out which web pages would be best for getting links from. Unfortunately, this also led to the rise of ‘Google Bombing’, whereby webpages use unrelated links to appear in the results of searches irrelevant to them. SearchKing was perhaps the first example of Google penalising a site. It offered to broker deals between webpages for buying or selling text links, which Google didn’t like.

The next big development was the ‘no follow’ tag, which Google introduced to combat blog post spam. Bots were (and still are) used to distribute spam comments containing links across the internet. However, the ‘no follow’ tag became useful to SEOs, who could use it to change the way Google’s ‘link juice’ was distributed among web pages. This practice ended in 2005, with Google announcing that using a ‘no follow’ tag on a web page would no longer give more benefits to other pages on the site. In the same year, they launched Google Analytics, which allowed SEOs to accurately measure performance.

How has content writing changed with SEO?

Rather like the internet itself, content writing has evolved from something ugly and clumsy into a sophisticated and invaluable tool. To begin with content writing was all about providing what the search engine crawlers needed in order to identify your web page as relevant and important. This meant including as many keywords as possible, as many times as possible. Google attempted to put a stop to this popular practise in 2003 with its Florida update. This penalised sites for keyword-stuffing and over-optimising their anchor text.

By the mid noughties, the focus of copywriting had changed somewhat. The practice became more focussed upon giving the reader something of value as well as the search engine. This was still a tricky area, however, and some companies got into trouble for trying to find a way around this. One of these companies, BMW, was banned for using ‘cloaking’. This involved displaying different content to the user than the site did to the search engine – so while the user saw a page of products, the search engine found a spider-friendly page of text, filled with keywords. While a good attempt at satisfying both robot and reader, ‘cloaking’ could be easily manipulated, and so Google had to come down hard.

Hummingbird – Google’s latest update

Google’s latest update, Hummingbird, came into force in 2013, and is the first major update of its kind for the company since 2001. It greatly increases Google’s ability to analyse searches and understand the intent behind the search. Before, Google would analyse each particular word in a search. With the introduction of Hummingbird, the search engine also takes into account the context of the words in relation to the other search terms. It also utilises synonyms – so searching for the ‘advantages’ of product X will also return pages on the ‘benefits’ of product X.

What does Hummingbird mean for copywriting?

With every update, Google is trying to move away from the robotic search methods of the past, to create a more ‘human’ search. Every update has shifted it from focussing on quantity (number of links, density of keywords, etc) to the quality of the content. Pages are becoming ranked based upon their value to the searcher, not the search engine.

Which means it is vital that content is written to educate, entertain or inform its readers. It needs to be crafted with an understanding of what search engines need to see, but without compromising on the quality of information that is delivered to its reader.

Some SEOs are already suggesting that the future of search engines could be to take a step back towards databases of websites indexed by humans, and combine this with the speed and efficiency of a search engine spider. If this truly is the future of SEO, then the need for writing your content for a human reader, rather than a robot, is only going to increase.

How content writing saves you time and money

moneyThere’s a lot more to copywriting than just paying someone to write stuff for you. The benefits of content writing are many and varied. Before we go into specifics, just remember this: content writing frees up your time, cuts your costs, and improves the performance of your marketing.

Want to know how? Just read on.

SEO

If your business has any sort of online presence then you know what SEO is. Fresh, high-quality content is vital in ensuring that your website gets ranked highly on search engine results. The higher up you are, the more potential customers will come your way. Getting your content written by professional, experienced writers ensures that perfect balance between what the search engine needs to read and what your target audience needs to read.

Money

When people think of copywriting, they often think of money going out. What they tend to overlook is the money coming back in. A professional writer crafts better copy, with stronger messages, that will attract more readers, and convert more customers. With copywriting you don’t get what you pay for – you get a lot, lot more.

Time

What business owner has the time spare to sit down and write quality, engaging content on a regular basis? Let’s face it, there are a lot of other tasks you need to be doing and content writing isn’t the kind of job you want to rush. With experienced writers, and keen eyed proof readers, all you need to do is hand over a brief and put the content you receive to good use. In the meantime, you can get on with whatever it is you need to be doing. Simple.

Better content

Everyone can write to some degree. When it comes to promoting your business and attracting new customers you want to make sure you’re doing it properly. You’d choose the best graphic designer, the highest quality web developer, and the most professional suppliers. Getting a professional writer to craft bespoke content will get you much better results, and therefore make you more money.

The perfect writer matched to your company with no work required from you

Finding the right writer for you can be a time-consuming process.We already have a large team of flexible writers with whom we have a strong relationship. We look after them, because we know that writers who are cared for care about you. Instead of you having to trawl the internet, reading reviews and finding recommendations, we can match you with the perfect writer for your job.

We don’t mass-produce we craft

Virtual Global is not a content farm. When you come to us you are accessing the skills of a well-paid writer at the top of their game. They work with us because we understand the power and the value of the written word, and we work with them because they have the skills to grow your business, attract your customers, and increase your sales. Our flexible pool of talented writers means that we will have the right person for your industry. Get in touch today to see exactly how content writing can grow your business.

Where do you find interesting data for articles and blogs?

world-cupFinding interesting data and statistics is always a challenge when writing content. You have to search through hundreds of websites and pages to find just a few useful bit of information. Google offer some advance search features to help filter search results, but you still have to work your way through the pages to collate just a few bits of content gems for use in an article or infographic.

However, I did come across an interesting site and thought I would share it in the hope it might help a few people out there looking for some interesting data for their content.


Yougov
is an international, full service online market research agency. They claim a 350,00 member strong database of volunteers who offer opinions on a variety of subjects from social media to politics. These results are searchable and they position it as a “giant review website”.

They collate a lot of the results and publish them under Public Opinion. I decided to run a quick search for social media related to Brazil or the World Cup 2014. It’s an interesting search as we can look back in hindsight at the opinions of those taking part in the surveys and see how their thought panned out. I found it easier to search the YouGove website using Google search and use their advance search command for searching a specific site like this-

Site:www.yougov.co.uk/ “world cup” twitter

Here is what I found in the first few pages of results.

yougov-logoA survey on Wednesday, June 18, reports that Children are more optimistic than adults about England’s World Cup prospects with 45% of 8-10 year olds believing they will win.

Although young children might not make great football pundits or be more accurate than an octopus, the British public did come close to foreseeing the final scores of the world cup final between Germany and Argentina and side the day before the match predicted a 2-1 win for the German.

A poll conducted for the Sunday Times revealed that British fans didn’t really want Germany or Argentina to win the World Cup at all, but in the end 38% rooted for Germany to triumph.

For my last fascinating statistic I had to go off the YouGov site and into Google for a quick search on Twitter and the World Cup. The Guardian came out top of the results with a news story on Twitter and Facebook breaking new records during the World Cup.

Facebook said that 88 million global users made a record 280m interactions – posts, likes and comments – during the World Cup final, easily breaking the previous record held by the Super Bowl in 2013 that only managed a paltry 245 million interaction.

So, YouGov has some nice opinions that you can cite, but any articles or content you write might need to be augmented with data from other sources.

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