Content marketing and paid advertising are not mutually exclusive – there’s nothing to stop you from having a strategy for both – but if you’re trying to decide which you should invest in first, it’s worth considering the value for money that you get with content marketing.
Paid advertising – whether it’s Pay Per Click and sponsored search results, banner advertisements on a website or an online advertising platform that combines the two – naturally has a very clearly defined life span.
Your ad is placed for either a fixed period of time or a fixed number of clicks, and then it no longer appears. In the case of highly competitive PPC keywords, that could leave you bidding relatively large amounts of money on a single click in the hope of making a sale.
But if you don’t make a sale on that click, or within that period of time, your investment is gone. It’s a fine technique as long as you make a positive return on investment, but if you happen to have a bad month, you could be left with little to show for that budget.
Why choose content marketing?
Content marketing is different. Rather than being a one-shot method of online marketing, it builds over time, and this is especially true of techniques like on-site blogging, with every new post adding a search-visible page to your website.
It is as directly scalable as it sounds. Publish just one good blog post per month and in a year’s time you should have a dozen high-ranking, relevant pages appearing in Google’s search results, where useful and well-written content consistently ranks higher.
Publish a new blog post each week and that’s over 50 pages by the end of the year – and there’s nothing to stop you from publishing more frequently than that, either.
It’s a systematic way to increase the size and importance of your website, while giving human visitors more reason to stick around and read what you have to say.
How content marketing boosts Google position
It’s not just about the number of pages you publish – content marketing boosts your Google ranking in other ways too.
For instance, Google typically prioritises websites that are regularly updated, so a good schedule of new blog posts or other website content will help to keep you in the spotlight when your search positions are recalculated.
In some searches, the most recent content is given a boost too – so even if you have one good page for a particular key phrase, adding an occasional new article about that same topic is a sensible SEO technique.
And Google increasingly look for mobile-friendly pages to show in searches from tablets and mobile phones, so a good text-driven blog post is exactly the type of quick-to-load page that will give you the edge.
Your own voice
Perhaps most importantly of all, content marketing gives you your own voice. If you are just establishing yourself as a presence in your industry, it allows you to build a platform – and if you are already established, it ensures you have full control over what you say.
When you appoint a content marketing agency to produce materials for you, you can brief them on everything from the topic and tone of voice, to specific turns of phrase and punctuation. Don’t like semi-colons or exclamation marks? Let your agency know, and they will leave them out.
We’ve all seen examples of when an automatically placed online ad has appeared alongside wholly inappropriate content – and the negative PR it can generate when this happens.
Content marketing puts you in control of what you say and where you say it, while ensuring that the long-term SEO benefits are generated solely for your own site, and continue to reap even more return on investment in the long run.