What Is Content Marketing, and Why Does Your Business Need It?

Content marketing has become a hot buzzword these days, thanks to Google algorithm updates and social media. Three experts offer content marketing strategies and examples to follow.

By James A. Martin
Wed, January 09, 2013
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For instance, the Panda algorithm updates, first rolled out in February 2011, have targeted sites with "thin" or otherwise low-quality content, says Clark. In Panda's wake, those practicing questionable SEO tactics—such as stuffing keywords into junky website content in hopes of ranking well—discovered that Google was penalizing their content by pushing it down in rankings.

Analysis: Online Retailers: SEO, Social Media Top Content Marketing Tools

Arnie Kuenn, president of Internet marketing company Vertical Measures, says some businesses lost 80 to 90 percent of their revenues after Panda and Penguin because their content marketing strategies focused on low-quality content. On the other hand, Google tends to give top rankings to content that is original (as opposed to duplicate), lives on sites with high domain authority attracts links from other sites, and is shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks, among other factors, Fasser says.

Developing high-quality content for marketing purposes, then, has never been more important.

5 Good Content Marketing Examples

Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, McDonald's and P&G are among the big brands often receiving kudos for effective content marketing, Clark notes.

For example, McDonald's Canada rolled out a content marketing program called Our Food, Your Questions in which Canadians are invited to ask the fast-food retailer questions about its products. Participants pose such questions as "Do your warming trays contain BPA?" and "Why do you microwave so much of your food?"

McDonald's Canada has tackled more than 10,000 such questions, Clark says. This is a good example of content marketing because it addresses problems and questions from people McDonald's wants to do business with. It also provides McDonald's with "a huge volume of unique, valuable content on its site," Clark adds, which has proven SEO benefits.

Meanwhile, the Whole Foods blog Four Pillars of Healthy Eating represents good content marketing because it matches the beliefs of the company with the needs and interests of its customers, Clark says. "This is smart content marketing because it gets people to buy into the Whole Foods world view."

Small businesses have shown themselves adept at content marketing as well, says Kuenn, who offers three examples:

The Motor Lodge, a 12-room inn in Prescott, Arizona, uses its Facebook page as its primary content marketing vehicle. "They've done a good job building an audience through content by being clever, humorous and engaging," Kuenn says. As a result, despite its size, the Motor Lodge's Facebook page has nearly 2,000 likes, and many of its updates receive 30 or more comments, he says.

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