Does my business need content marketing? It's a commonly asked question, and the short answer is: yes, probably.
SEO is a very broad term, but essentially, it's the process of optimising your site to show up on the top of web searches by making your site appealing to search engines such as Google. You can do this in a few ways.
Is content marketing part of SEO?
Yep! Arguably, the most important way is matching the content on your site up with what your customers are searching for. This is true whether you sell cakes or cars.
You should identify the 'keywords', or key phrases, your customers are using and include them (tactically) across your site. These words will generally feature your product or industry, but can also include alternative uses. For example, keywords might include 'bicycle', but more specifically 'adventure bicycycles', or 'bicycles in Birmingham'. The popularity of that particular term will dictate the competition you'll face in getting your site to show up on search results.
As great as your bikes are, you probably aren't going to knock Evans Cycles or Halfords off the top spot for 'bicycles' - unless you've got hundreds of thousands of pounds to invest in SEO.
There are plenty of programs online, such as SEMRush and Moz, that help you identify relevant terms that you have a shot at ranking for. However, you will still need to create the content to target them, in the form of blogs, landing pages, and case studies.
You can support this fundamental work in a few ways. Ensuring your site loads quickly and offers a pleasant user experience (UX) will all signal to Google (other search engines are available) that it should consider showing your site to people searching for your terms.
There's a whole host of other SEO tactics you can implement. But really, it's all for nothing unless your site is optimised for those fundamental search terms.
How does content fit in?
Let's use cakes as an example. You sell the best carrot cake in Cornwall. Someone might find you by searching 'best carrot cake in Cornwall'. You want to make sure you have content on your site that Google will see as relevant. Thisfa could be as simple as ensuring the words 'best carrot cake in Cornwall' are on your homepage.
Alternatively, you could create new content on your site that targets that term, and related terms. A blog about the history of carrot cake in Cornwall featuring the term 'best carrot cake in Cornwall' would help you capture customers using that search term.
Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn't think of blogs and web content as a sales tool, but as a way to present yourself and your business as an industry or topic expert, making people more receptive to your marketing. People click off when a blog tries to sell something too obviously.
If you're a car salesperson, you might consider a blog for new families searching for their next car. A good title would be 'best cars for new families'. You want to balance the requirements of Google with the needs of your customers.
This is content marketing, and though the term can describe everything from blogs, to videos, to memes, creating text content that gets you ranking is the bread and butter for many content marketers.
Content marketing for the people
There is much more to creating effective content beyond getting on Google's good side. People don't want to be advertised to, they want to learn more about your product to make an informed decision. 70% of people said they prefer informative blogs and articles over traditional advertising.
With an effective (and persuasive) piece of content, you can get ranking on search results, and position your business as the expert. This makes people more receptive to the benefits of your product or service, and more likely to crack open their wallet.
Need more info? I have several years of experience in content marketing and search engine optimisation. If you need impartial, useful advice on your content, give me a shout.