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Content marketing is internet marketing. It has been for a while (which I'll discuss below) but in 2013 content management will emerge to become the "must have" component of automotive digital marketing strategy.
It was during a discussion on ADM where the venerable Ralph Paglia brought up a great point. In regards to an article about using your website as the content hub for both search and social, Paglia posted a comment pointing out that not all web platforms, particularly those in the automotive industry, give users the ability to post content as easily as they can on Wordpress, Tumblr, Ning, or any of the other platforms specifically designed as content management systems. Many automotive websites (and business websites in general) trap users with content restrictions. This has been an annoyance for years. Going into 2013, it will be a major drawback.
This isn't anything new. Content marketing has been a component of search engine optimization, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, and just about every strategy that relies on driving traffic from one source to another. The difference now is that it's going beyond the status of being a "component" and becoming the heart and soul of these various types of marketing techniques.
SEO for years has been a function of appropriate keyword-rich content, keyword-rich title tags, and powerful inbound links with keyword-rich title tags. There was a time when you could have next to zero content on your website and still rank well for challenging terms. Those days are behind us. With the Penguin update in April and the Panda update last year, Google forced search marketers to shoot for quality, to draw in the links based upon organic prominence. For this reason, content truly has become "king" even though it was really just a queen or a jack in the recent past.
Social media marketing can always relied on content as the driving force, but one could easily center the content on the social sites and still benefit from it. This strategy is still in play, particularly for big brands, but smaller or localized businesses (such as car dealers) should rework their social strategies to include the content that appears on their website.
The reality of the trends is this: content marketing was a part of larger marketing strategies before. Now, those other marketing strategies are easier to manage if you make the content aspect the central activity that bleeds over into search and social. It's a paradigm shift in many ways and is the reason why changes should be coming for many websites in the coming year. Some would argue that they shouldn't even wait for 2013, that now is the time to act. I tend to agree.
There's an episode of Seinfeld where Cosmo Kramer starts receiving phone calls at his home from people wanting to get movie times. He tries to become Movie Phone. Unfortunately, he runs into some roadblocks.
Embedding is disabled, but watch it anyway.
This is sort of what's happening for many business website providers, particularly in automotive. "Why don't you just tell me what content you want on your website?"
They (dealer website providers) don't offer the tools that allow users to log in, post a piece of content, and make it live immediately. For some, you have to send them the HTML itself. Others tell you to email them the words and pictures and they'll post it for you. Some let you build a page, but won't allow it to go live until you call them.
Call them? Really?
To be able to perform the basic marketing techniques required for success in 2013, you must be able to post your content how you want it and when you want it without constraints. You must have the ability to put the right social media buttons on your content; that doesn't mean a blue "F" in a small box that links to your Facebook page. You need true share buttons. Social signals are becoming the most important tool in both search and social marketing. If your website platform breaks the codes, you need to make a change.
If you are unable to post content easily without putting a ticket into tech support, you will fall behind your competitors. If you cannot make your websites socially engaging, you will fall behind your competitors. People are really starting to "get it" when it comes to content marketing. Some of these people want to succeed over you. Will you let that happen?