If you’ve been online for as long as I have (almost 16 years at the time of this post), you’ll remember life before the Internet. At that time, the Internet barely existed, and communication was done through the written or spoken word. In those days, some years ago, all successful marketers and salespeople knew that the quality and value of their words was key to their success. Today, where online content dominates print content, many of the world’s top SEO and Web marketing experts still say that “content is king.”
Why is this the case? How is it that even after decades, no matter the medium, content is still the crux of good marketing?
There are three reasons you need to provide quality content:
First: Content builds customer loyalty.
Businesses aren’t built on first-time visitors. Companies like the Wall Street Journal don’t make most of their money from people picking up their newspapers for the first time.
They make money from people who’ve read their content and then decided it was good enough that they either wanted to purchase again or subscribe to a subscription. If businesses had to get a new customer every time in order to get paid, they’d all have gone under by now.
Yet many online publications approach their business that way. Instead of focusing on repeat visitors, they focus on optimizing for search engines so they get more new customers.
At the end of the day, however, the really famous and successful websites and blogs, like Huffington Post or TechCrunch, ultimately still get most of their traffic from repeat visitors. Yes, search engines love them — but their businesses would be a fraction of what they are today if they didn’t have great content and focus on building repeat visitors.
Engagement and loyalty are the new currencies of the online world.
Second: Content improves search engine results
For many years Google and other search engines have worked toward making their search results pull up better and better results. They want people who search on their engines to find the best content possible in relation to what they’re looking for.
As search engines get smarter, marketers who focus primarily on marketing tactics rather than actual content will die a slow, and sometimes financially painful, death.
Google has proven this repeatedly by continually downgrading the importance of low-quality links and upgrading the importance of usage statistics and other metrics to actually measure the content value of a website.
If you build your website around great content while having a decent understanding of basic SEO, your site will flourish. If you put all your attention on SEO and don’t pay much attention to your content, you’ll always be trying to stay one step ahead of the search engines. And that is a difficult way to build a sustainable business.
Third: Great content can pre-sell high ticket items.
A low-quality content website might be able to sell $0.20 clicks via AdSense. But a high quality website could sell $5,000 consulting services easily.
Having great quality content allows you to build a relationship with your readers. That relationship allows you to sell any number of things to your readers. From high-end items to recurring memberships to one on one coaching, it all starts from having high quality content that your readers find valuable.
In the long run, only content that really helps people is going to succeed. Content that just fills the page and doesn’t provide value for readers is not the way to build a profitable and sustainable business.