Each and every year, controversy surrounds the SEO industry with critics debating whether SEO will continue to be important for Internet marketers. Prior to the changing of each calendar year, critics claim the SEO is dead, outdated and will no longer work in the following year.
The truth? SEO is alive and well in 2018, and it’s here to stay.
The return of SEO is not about the practice dying and coming back. It’s all about changing your mindset when trying to rank in search engines. It’s not about beating the algorithm. It’s not about ranking for specific keywords. It’s not even about just gaining the most traffic to your website.
It’s about returning to a simpler mindset of SEO by creating valuable, quality content for your audience.
It’s called content marketing.
Back in the early Internet days of 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay outlining his thoughts regarding the importance of content marketing. His essay, brilliantly titled “Content is King,” described the inevitable content marketing explosion that the Internet would create.
Fast forward more than two decades later: Bill Gates’ prediction still holds true.
In 2018, content marketing continues to be a driving force of content throughout the Internet, and brands are winning every single day because of it.
Is your dealership ready to go all-in on a content marketing campaign? The benefits content marketing can create for both your dealership’s brand and SEO efforts are proven to create a lasting impact.
We’ll cover the basics of content marketing, its importance and how your dealership can get started. Let’s start from the top:
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation of relevant and useful online content — such as blogs, videos and infographics — that provides value to your consumer.
In even plainer terms, content marketing involves finding out what your customers want to know and providing them the answer — without pitching or selling your products or services.
A famous example of content marketing at its finest comes from John Deere, which is labelled by some as the original content marketer. John Deere created a magazine for farmers called The Furrow that focused on distributing educational content, such as farming news and information, as well as best practices in the industry. Distribution of The Furrow began in 1895, and quickly became a hit among the farming community. John Deere simply provided a resource for its customers and provided a huge value to them through educational tips on how to become better farmers.
That’s it. Content marketing at its finest.
Since the 1800s, a lot has changed in the content marketing world. The biggest disrupter? The Internet.
With the creation of the Internet, anyone can become content marketers — not just big brands. As Bill Gates explains in his essay, “Content is King”:
“One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.”
So, the Internet is right at your fingertips, but are you ready to re-vamp your SEO strategy and go all-in with content marketing? Not convinced it’s right for your dealership? Here are the benefits an effective content marketing campaign can create on both your brand as well as your SEO strategy.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Benefit #1: Build brand awareness
Brand awareness is pretty simple: It’s what people know about your business and what you’re all about. One thing that’s great about brand awareness is that it’s something you can continue to build, and that’s where content marketing can play a big role.
For instance, if you assist your customer with the very questions they have throughout their car-buying journey, your brand will come top-of-mind when they decide to make that purchase for a vehicle at your dealership. It’s all about bringing more attention to your brand about the very topics that your customers are interested in.
Here’s a quick example your dealership could capitalize on. Let’s say your customers are commonly wanting to know the advantages of choosing one car brand versus another car brand. The next step is pretty simple: Create a quality piece of content explaining the pros and cons of each brand, and how your experts at your dealership can assist with which brand is right for them.
By creating the content your customers want to know, you can build huge brand awareness. In the same process, however, you can also build brand authority, which brings us to our next benefit:
Benefit #2: Solidify brand authority
When it comes to making a purchasing decision, customers want to buy from a dealership they trust to be knowledgeable in the automotive industry. Content marketing can permanently place your dealership as authoritative thought leader in the automotive industry.
It all comes down to providing valuable, thoughtful and quality answers to the questions your customers have about your industry. When you continue to offer quality content that provides for customers’ needs, you’ll solidify your brand as authoritative.
And if you continue to show up in search engines for each of these automotive queries and your brand shows up with answers to their questions, your brand’s SEO campaign will benefit immensely, which brings up the next benefit:
Benefit #3: Boost your SEO campaign
Speaking of search engines, there are several ways that content marketing can help boost your SEO campaign. Two of the most important ways content marketing can help your SEO campaign is through backlinks and assisting your website to rank for important keywords. We’ll briefly touch on each point.
Backlinks: Backlinks occur when another website links to your website. Backlinks essentially show Google that your content is so good that others want to share it. As content receives more and more backlinks, Google rewards that piece of content with high rankings in search engine results pages. When you run a successful content marketing campaign in which you create valuable, quality content, other websites will want to link to your content. This, in turn, greatly helps boost the SEO of your website.
Rank for keywords: One of the most important parts of an SEO campaign is optimizing your site to help your rank for important keywords for your dealership. Gearing your content marketing campaign to help your website show up for specific search queries is a great way to boost your SEO campaign.
For example, you may have a certain model of vehicle that’s very popular in your area. Creating value content around that vehicle can help your dealership show up for that model-specific queries. Think about what a customer wants to know about this vehicle. What are the pros and what are the cons? What are some comparable models and why is this one a better option? Simply create great content about that certain model, and your dealership can show up for those popular queries.
How Does Content Marketing Help Sell Cars?
Content marketing doesn’t create the sale of a vehicle by itself. However, it does do one important thing: It puts your dealership in the best position when it’s time for a buying decision to be made.
The best way to explain this concept is illustrated in VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. It’s his model to describe the value you provide customers (jabs) that lead to the potential sale (right hook).
In order to help illustrate his point, Vaynerchuk uses his cartoons to help show the difference between jabs and right hooks. In the 1980s when the cartoons would come on, kids would tune in and watch for free. But when the latest toy, movie or action figure came out, that’s where brands would make money and cash in. “Jabs” were the free content on Saturday mornings, and the “right hook” came when merchandise was purchased.
Shifting back to dealerships, how does this relate? What do jabs look like for your dealership?
The jabs can be any type of content your dealership uses to provide value to your customers. Do you create educational blog posts? Do you create how-to videos? Whatever your jab is, make sure you’re using your expertise in the car industry to provide value to your audience. And when the time comes for the sale, your audience will want to give back for your contributions and buy from your dealership.
How to start your content marketing campaign
So, you’re ready to begin some type of content marketing campaign, but where to do you start? The answer is different for each organization, but it all depends on the talent currently within your dealership.
Step #1: Decide what type of content you are going to create.
There are so many options of what type of content you can create for your dealership. But which should you choose? Blog? Infographics? Video? It all depends on the current talents of your organization. Do you have someone who can write or is skilled with a camera? Deciding on the type of content you want to create is the first step. The next involves your topics.
Step #2: Create valuable content for your desired audience.
Sometimes things are easier said than done, but there are a few tricks to finding out exactly what your audience wants to know and the content they will most likely appreciate. Here are a few ways to help:
Commonly Asked Questions: What are the questions you are constantly getting from your customers? Those are something you can create content around. Whether you’re being asked about a common car feature or even simply when to change a car battery, create that content — it’s valuable information for your audience.
Answer the Public: This is a great tool to help you find content ideas, and it’s incredibly easy. Answer the Public is simply a database that creates keyword predictions and suggestions—something this platform can assist you with finding great content topics.
Here’s how it works. Say you want to write something about oil changes. Simply navigate to Answer the Public’s website (answerthepublic.com), type in the term “oil change” in the search bar, and Answer the Public will populate common questions and queries surrounding the topic.
For instance, by searching “oil change,” various topics appear including “why oil change is important” or even simply “how to change oil filter.” These are just a few examples but Answer the Public can help you come up with content topics for a variety of queries.
Google Search: When it comes to finding out what your audience wants to know, Google search engine results can also be a very useful tool. Again, let’s say we want to create content about oil changes. So, let’s try a common search for “how to change my oil.”
The search engine results page brings up very valuable information — not only about the query you searched for — but also about other related queries. Take a look at the “people also ask” dropdown within the search as well as “searches related to how to change my oil,” which is located at the bottom of the page. These are both very great resources to check for topics similar to queries your audience is searching.
Step #3: Create the content.
Time to get to work. You’ve found out the type of content you’d like to create and the topics you’d like to cover, it’s time to put it all together. You’re now well on your way to creating a valuable content marketing campaign for your dealership.
Ready to Get Your Content Marketing Campaign Started?
When it comes to content marketing, it’s all about returning to a simple, content-focused mindset of SEO: Create valuable, quality content for your audience in order to put your dealership in the best position to make the sale when your customers are ready.
That’s the real return of SEO.