Traditionally, businesses have been broken into units, each of which has a particular area of expertise and responsibility. Public relations handled interactions with the media, marketing was responsible for getting the word out, and SEO for bringing in traffic by any means. Then there’s customer service, sales, administration, manufacturing, and so on. Each a little dukedom with feudal responsibility to its C-Level royal court.
SEO is changing; its role is blurring and stretching beyond the areas that used to be its core competencies: bringing in traffic by technical optimization of a site and link building. Now more properly referred to as inbound marketing, in an age where a web presence is central to any company’s revenue stream, and Google are cracking down hard on tactics they disapprove of, content has moved center stage.
Producing adequate quantities of content that captures traffic from search engines and social media necessitates crossing the boundaries that traditionally divide businesses. To be maximally effective, content has to address the needs of potential consumers for information, and relevant information can be sourced from any area of a business. Content can also serve a variety of business objectives outside of marketing.
We’re going to have a look at a few of the areas of a business that can be used as inspiration for and sources of content.
Customer Service and Support
A good customer or client is one that spends the maximum amount and imposes the smallest costs. Much of the after sale cost of a customer comes from supporting their use of the product or service. Support is very expensive to provide well, with high staffing and infrastructure costs. One of the best ways to reduce those costs is to profile the typical “expensive customer” and find out what causes them to require support. Very often businesses will find that the needs of these customers are similar, with largely identical issues and problems. Support requirements generally follow the Pareto Principle, 80% of the costs are caused by 20% of customers, so creating content focused on dealing with the issues of those customers is a very effective method of cost reduction. Providing preemptive support content –– for example, making sure that clients don’t have unrealistic expectations or that they have access to instructional resources –– can significantly reduce support costs while at the same time creating an SEO benefit.
This one is fairly obvious. Your business’ sales teams are experts at discovering the strategies that work for making sales and the choke points that prevent them. That means they are an awesome resource for content creation and helping lubricate the sales funnel of a site.
People like to see who is making the product they are buying. The factory floor should not be ignored as a source of content. There is huge potential for creating videos that show the processes and equipment involved in the manufacture of product. Even service companies can use this technique, perhaps by interviewing key staff members, so that potential customers see the human face that’s very often hidden behind the anonymous site interface.
This is just three examples of how content marketing can go beyond its traditional domain and use every area of a business to create an SEO advantage, build a humanized brand, and reduce costs. With a little bit of imagination, any company can find content inspiration in places they may not have expected.