It was Bill Gates, no less, who coined the phrase ‘content is king’. But that was way back in 1996, is this still the case more than twenty years on?
Tom spent years working as a journalist for local press, with some scoops ending up in the nationals, and also holds an English degree. So, if anyone is going to fight content’s corner, it’s him!
In this blog post he will argue why content is, and always will be, one of the most vital elements that a business needs to master. Five key areas will be covered as we examine what content can say about a business, as well as what it can do for it.
Is content still king in 2019?
“Let’s answer this question directly,” says Tom. “Yes, indeed – of course it is!”
“A lot of things have happened in the 23 years or so since Gates made that statement, but this has never wavered. The digital revolution has seen huge changes for business.
“One of the first things that most people do to find out more about a company is to rush online. Actually, online is often the way that people hear about a business in the first place.”
Our man believes there is only one thing that can drive someone to your website, keep them there and persuade them to deal with you – good content.
“There shouldn’t be a question about the importance of language,” adds Tom. “If anything, the written word is now more significant than ever before. After all, the science behind SEO was unheard of before 1997.”
“Strong content will allow a business to reveal its personality, demonstrate expertise and encourage engagement with the brand. So, ultimately it can help increase traffic and attention, generating new leads and sales. It’s as simple as that - but must be done right.”
Content comes in many forms. Website copy, blog posts, social media and press releases all provide an opportunity to shout about your business success and ambitions.
“It’s not about what you say,” adds Tom. “It’s about how you say it and who you say it to.
“One of the first tasks I was set when I arrived at Everest was to establish a consistent tone of voice (TOV) for the brand – no pressure!
“A TOV is an expression of the people behind the brand. It should be delivered in a way that potential and current clients wish to, and should, be spoken to.”
At Everest we strive to deliver a conversational, but not basic, tone. It must be direct, but not blunt, and always flexible. Most importantly it says exactly what we want to say in an effective and memorable way, or so we hope!
Tom continues: “Any successful TOV will go relatively unnoticed, unless it’s very niche – like Innocent or Lush. The reader should just be able to focus on products and services without having to wade through jargon."
As we get stuck in to the new opportunities the new year brings, it can be all too easy to forget how we got here.— Everest Media (@everestmedialtd) January 28, 2019
2018 was a huge year for Everest Media, and we've been looking back at how the past year has given us the perfect start for 2019.https://t.co/vjrjW6Zt3W pic.twitter.com/3gVqw2x1rf
Once you have found your most effective tone of voice, it’s time to put it into action and reach out to the world.
Whether it’s a social media post or a blog update, strong content will encourage people to engage with your brand, even if they don’t know they're doing it.
“It’s a simple one, if the content is good people will read it,” said Tom. “Then they may even comment, like or share it with others - that's the goal.
“On the other hand, if they don’t like it, they’ll keep on scrolling or click away. This means your expertise or product will effectively be invisible."
He added: “That’s why it’s so important to keep up to date with content. Even the busiest of businesses must find time to write about what they’re up to. If you're out of sight you're almost definitely out of mind.
“Whether it’s a new business milestone, a piece of advice or just a general update on the team – people will be interested if it’s put across in the right way.” For example, our tweet (above) summing up our 2018 saw some great engagement and click-throughs.
Following on from the last point, once you have built up some engagement and following, your business should start to be seen as an authority.
Well-written, unique and trustworthy content will demonstrate to your readers that your team are masters in their respective fields.
“There are businesses out there doing some unbelievable things, but it’s not always recognised,” says Tom. “This could be because they’re not shouting about their work in the right way. You must not only tell people what you do, but also why it’s important for them too.”
This is what we’re trying to do with the Explainer Series, helping people to discover more about what we offer and do. We’ve looked at quite a broad selection of our skills so far, including SEO, software testing, writing code, progressive web apps, social media and growth strategy.
Since kicking this off we have been delighted to see some great engagement and feedback! We've also produced content for magazines (see below) to further highlight our brand messages and background.
Bring in new leads – and sales!
Boosting brand awareness and authority, particularly within a busy market, is key to business success – and this can all be done with good content.
First it will make your brand and identity known to people, then they should hopefully show an interest. After that they could show consideration for your services, once becoming familiar with your work.
The next stage, all being well, should see them decide to work with you. Finally it's all about making sure you are their preferred supplier and that they become loyal to you.
“Content is very much the signage of your digital shopfront,” adds Tom. “You cannot afford to just sit back and wait for the phone to ring or someone to call by. You have to be outgoing and passionately talking about your work on a regular basis.”
“Reading copy about a brand gives people a chance to engage with it, without feeling like they’re being spammed with sales jargon. It’s all about creating a relationship before a sale, which is always the best way to do things.”
You wouldn’t go out and hire staff without checking up on their skills first, would you? Shout about team achievements as well as the product. You will soon create a portfolio of knowledge, helping you to cement your influence.
The technical stuff
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is key. If your website can rank organically for relevant search terms and keywords you’re well on your way. It’s all about making your content stand out from the crowd.
Producing consistent, unique content of a sensible length, filled with internal links and golden phrasing, will help you get there too. However, there’s much more to consider.
“Everyone knows that if your brand message ranks high on search engines it will be seen by a much larger audience,” added Tom.
“But it’s not just about driving traffic to your site; strong content will also keep people there for longer. As writers we can now tell who is finding and reading our copy, how long they are doing this for and what they are deciding to do after.”
Again, it’s pretty obvious stuff. A website full of engaging content will leave an impression and encourage interaction with other pages. Whereas, a website with just a few pages will likely see limited page views, hardly any engagement and much higher bounce rates.
Looking to up your #tech and #digital game? Want to find best practice tips and tricks?— Everest Media (@everestmedialtd) November 20, 2018
In our new explainer series, #TeamEverest share their expertise in #software testing, #SEO, #frameworks and more. https://t.co/yiiFVef9iJ pic.twitter.com/tvKVrP9Wcm
The Bottom Line?
“In truth, we could have gone into a lot more detail about why content is still king in 2019,” said Tom. “But these, for me, are the top five principles to consider when producing copy.
“Yes, we are seeing AI and video come more into focus, but language still remains at the heart, and written content will always be needed.”
Are you looking to tighten up your copy? Searching for the key phrases which will help you crack SEO? Whatever it is, we at Everest Media are sure that we can help you.
Hopefully this article has been useful. As always we’re only a call, email or visit away if you need to know more.
Anything else you want to know?
This blog post is part of a new series of explainers, straight from the mouths of the team behind the Everest brand.
We have lots more of informative content planned. But if there’s anything in particular you would like covered – just shout! You can email email@example.com with your suggestions at any time.