Content marketing (CM) is not a new concept, but over the last decade, it has become one of the most critical tools for businesses. While marketing in the digital age can take a wide variety of forms, at the heart of each is creative content. That content needs to be designed so that it works as hard as possible for you. The right content marketing strategy can boost SEO, improve sales figures, and encourage higher levels of brand visibility. From organic content marketing to paid campaigns, there are many misconceptions about how content marketing can work. Learning more about developing a consistent content marketing strategy is something that no business owner can afford to neglect.

The Zipf curve (aka the long tail)

The American linguist George Kingsley Zipf discovered in the 1930s that the most used word in the English language (the) is used roughly twice as often as the word that is the second most used (of). The Zipf curve shows that this pattern continues, with the third most commonly used word in English being used three times less than the most popular word, and so on. Most entrepreneurs know that being Number One is better than being Number Two in an industry. What many marketers aren’t aware of is that Zipf’s Law can be used proactively. Consider elements like search engine result pages (SERPs). The closer you are to the top of the page, the more potential profit you can make. Even moving up one step on a SERP can have a dramatic effect on your visibility.

One of the most important takeaways of Zipf’s Law is that your most popular product may not account for a large percentage of your total sales. This is valuable because it can highlight the value of your lesser-known products, and allows you to expand your content to highlight those products. This focus on less popular products is known as the long-tail business model. It is a business model that is as much about the challenges of inventory management as it is about marketing. Of course, this strategy will be more effective for brands with larger resources. Brick and mortar outlets, for example, might struggle with having the space to stock those less prioritized multiple products. However, at its core, Zipf’s Law highlights the fact that not only is being Number One better than being Number Two but that there is also a significant consequence of it in terms of revenue.

Finding your space

The value of your content marketing will depend on your industry and your product. The goal should be finding that sweet spot of high demand and low competition. Alongside this, it’s vital that your content marketing is designed to be a part of your wider optimisation plans. That means knowing what you are using your content for. From your SEO to promoting brand awareness, the key is content distribution. Make sure that you are using:

  • Owned distribution channels: This is your website, your email newsletters, any printed magazines, as well as your social media pages. Don’t make the mistake of pushing every piece of created content onto every channel. Research and split-test your content over Facebook and your website, and use data to assess impact. Target who sees your content on social media, and measure the results.
  • Earned distribution channels: This is posting on other people’s blogs, getting press coverage in mainstream media, or any kind of marketing channel that you don’t manage. This can be the hardest distribution channel to get right but is very powerful. Not only will you need to reach out to those channels, but you will also need to make the content that will stand out.
  • Paid distribution channels: These are your Adwords, your sponsored posts on social media, your social media influencers, or any other channel where you are paying for more visibility. There are many ways to get more from your paid channels, but the key is to align your paid campaigns with your organic methods. By utilising both in ways that complement each other, the bigger an impact you will make.

Content marketing is a sprawling and ever-changing strategy that can take a lot of work. However, without a well-developed content marketing strategy that takes into account the key demands of modern consumers and an understanding of the need for content with value, a business will be far less secure. In the digital age, content is the key to a business with more likelihood of faster growth, more profits, and long-term sustainability.