It’s 2021 and somehow, I’m still trying to convince people that content is one of the biggest revenue drivers there is. Back in 2017, there was an influx of “content is king” and “why content is important” blogs on LinkedIn and Medium, but it seems little notice has been taken in the years that have followed. Still, there’s a distinct lack of content teams in companies, whether they’re huge Google-sized companies or moderate start-ups, a very small amount are utilising them.
I don’t blame people for not identifying how powerful content can be, especially since it’s so difficult to prove the direct ROI of content itself. But I’m hoping that by the time you get to the end of this blog, you’ll start to see the value of content for your sales, marketing, and development teams.
Content for SEO
SEO is undoubtedly one of the most important areas of any business, whatever you’re selling. Unlike paid media activity, SEO activity is completely free meaning you’re only paying for your content team to implement SEO strategies and all of the traffic that it generates is of no cost. But how does content directly affect SEO?
Content teams identify keyword gaps in content that can help you to rank higher in Google. For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for uptime monitoring. Your content team would find ways to add the keyword “uptime monitoring” and its variations across the website without stuffing. They will then make sure there are internal links going to the uptime monitoring landing page, ensuring all alt tags on images, H1’s have the keyword of “uptime monitoring”, there are question and answers that fit Google’s criteria for this keyword and meta descriptions and “slugs” that also showcase the keyword. The result? Better rankings. More visibility. Higher traffic.
This is the simplest form of content teams working on SEO but you can see how they can make a huge difference.
Take StatusCake as an example. I’m using the SEMRush tool to track three different sets of keywords to see how we rank on a day-to-day basis. I have alerts set up to see if we go up and down and how much traffic we get for each of these keywords. If we move down a place in Google, I want to know why and what impact that has had on our traffic so I can get to work on improving copy on the website immediately.
Content teams are far more than simply writing content these days; they’re analysts working in the background, looking at the data of their competitors, of their website performance, of site speed, of keywords, of Google algorithms and backlink authorities and they’re not to be underestimated.
Content for Brand Awareness
You could have the best product or service in the world but it’s pointless if no one knows about it. Imagine Apple releasing a new iPhone but not telling a soul about it – it’s a marketer’s nightmare. Content and marketing is what generates the interest in the iPhone through online and offline advertisements, social media and copy, making people want to buy it. The same logic applies to any product, whether you’re a SaaS or a B2B product.
Think of the biggest retail season of the year, Christmas, and the budgets that go into the big-scale Christmas adverts. Christmas adverts over the past decade have been responsible for some of the most-sold winter products and holiday gifts, generating massive media attention and online conversation. They’re so popular, in fact, that merchandise has been sold off the back of the adverts themselves which is a direct ROI of the content production of the advert.
Take John Lewis as an example, their Christmas adverts are one of the most anticipated of the year with preparations starting as early as May. Their content team will work closely with the marketing and production team to help make it a successful advert and help to generate the noise around it in the lead up to its big reveal. From online activity on the John Lewis website to teasers in newsletters to external articles to social media clips, content teams are responsible for making sure that the advert does what it’s supposed to do – pique interest and sell John Lewis products. Over the years, we’ve seen them create the bear and the hare, Monty the Penguin, Buster the Boxer, and Moz the Monster – all of which created massive sales in merchandise. But who helped come up with their concepts and names?
Content for Sales
Psychology of language
One of the most interesting and useful things that I have learned in my career is the psychology of language. Psychology and language go hand in hand, especially since words and phrases can impact our behaviour and decisions, especially as customers. One word can increase your chances of conversions purely because of the connotations associated with that word.
Let me give you an example.
If you’re pushing the term “sign up”, the association with this is that there is an action required for the user. As marketers, we’re told that action words are good for call to action buttons because they entice the user to do something. However, the psychology behind this can lead the user to believe there is a lengthy process to this “signing up” and a “contract” that they will need to agree to. Signing up in everyday life tends to mean for a long period of time, and sounds more complicated than it is.
However, if you use the word “try” to replace “sign up” it automatically leads the user to believe that they are only using your product or service for a short amount of time. Psychologically, they’re not bound to anything and are simply “testing it out” making it a more attractive CTA.
The same can be said when you’re writing copy on a website – the language you choose can have a massive impact on your conversions. Psychology shows that if you start a sentence with a negative word like “Never…” or “Stop…”, users will automatically have a negative association with what you’re going to say, regardless of if you go on to say your product combats an issue. If, however, you start with a positively-associated word like “Increase…” or “Drive…”, users are more likely to read on and have a positive association with your product or service simply because of the meanings they derive from these beginning words.
Content teams can use this to your advantage to make sure they are driving conversions and impacting your revenue.
Why invest in content
Ultimately, content drives leads to sales, helps get your brand exposure in the market, and helps your development team understand the needs of the product and your customers. Without content, you’ll be on page six of Google with no online presence, no social media following, no email newsletters to engage with your customers, and more importantly, no brand. Whether you believe in the value of content or not, it’s worth giving it a go, isn’t it?