Few consumers Google a company when they want to buy something; they Google a question. What’s the safest car on the market? Are cheap lipsticks safe to use? How can I save money on my mortgage? How can I get rich?
This fact has spawned an entirely new kind of marketing — the kind that relies on content.
Here are five ways that Google is forcing you into content marketing – not that there’s anything wrong with that in my view.
1. Google’s algorithm knows when you are pushing out rubbish
Google – in its mysterious and kind of spooky way — rewards quality content creators. You can optimise for search engines until you are blue in the face, but Google is ahead of you. The individuals and companies that contribute the best content, most often, are the ones that come up first in the search results.
It’s as simple as that.
2. Google wants a level playing field (provided it’s on top of the mountain)
Sure, consumers do search for some companies directly; the biggest brands, like Ikea, BMW, Coles or Woolworths.
But there are many companies doing fabulous things – making better cars, furniture and food — and the upside of our Google-dominated world is that content marketing levels the playing field.
Pumping out great stories that are timely, relevant and trusted by your readers (customers) is way less expensive than it used to be. That is not just because there a millions of unemployed journos around, it is because research is easier, websites are cheaper, and there is a greater emphasis on sharing content in this new world than in the old world.
3. Social media gets you when Google doesn’t
On top of Google’s insane algorithms (who even knew that word before Google), there is social media, one huge crowd-sourced BS detector, sifting through the rivers to info for the lies. For every subject, there is someone who really cares if you are honest or not. And when they find you cheating, even a little bit, they love to bring you down.
4. Google is our friend (just kidding)
Although I the power of that massive behemoth scares the bejesus out of me, I like the way marketing and selling is changing. The goal of (smart) marketing is not to hoodwink consumers any more, but to build relationships with them by providing them with relevant, trusted and timely content every day (if possible). New customers get to know how shit-hot you are at what you do. And if you are not so hot, they get to know that too.
We know have to do more for our customers to win their business – we have to be generous and helpful. And we have to be smart about how we do it so that our prices don’t go up too much.
5. Google is our master, but content is the king
Making money from the internet is unbelievably hard – just ask any mainstream publisher, like Fairfax, or NewsCorp. Content is the key. It is Google’s life blood and we are the fodder and the feeders. It’s amazing what you can find on the web – the answer to everything you ever wanted to know about anything, anytime, anywhere. Entire university courses are now online. Every service and industry is being changed by this gargantuan flow of knowledge.
Urgh, you say. It’s all too much. I don’t want to be part of it. That is fine. Go fishing if that is what you are into (you could write a blog about that). That just makes more room for the companies that want to be part of this democratisation of knowledge and commerce.