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No Online Success Without Content

Is Content Marketing just a fad? That’s a legitimate question, because many Internet hypes arrive at full speed – only to disappear even faster. Just a glance through online marketing trends of the last 10 years shows some unpredictable ups and downs – a marketing Wall Street!

Many online brands endure a sad existence. They offer no online benefits and content is their only route to online success.

Is Content Marketing just a fad? That's a legitimate question, because many Internet hypes arrive at full speed – only to disappear even faster. Just a glance through online marketing trends of the last 10 years shows some unpredictable ups and downs – a marketing Wall Street!

Search trends 2004 – 2014            Source: Google Trends          Cream Colored Ponies

However, in contrast to all the other forms of hype, there is a clear difference: content marketing has not appeared suddenly – it's been around a long time. In offline marketing it's been here a century (For example: "Lurchi" and the "Michelin Guide"), and it became a feature of online communication right from the start.

There's a reason: Content Marketing solves real problems.

Many online brands just about scrape by, returning site-visitor numbers your eyes can hardly believe. Some examples? The online tool SimilarWeb estimates the Hanuta and Bionade websites receive 6,000 visitors per month, and the Nutella, L'Oreal, Dove and Colgate websites around 20,000 visitors per month – not many for well-known popular brands.

Why is that? A lack of online benefits. There's not much I want to know from my toothpaste, bread spread, or favourite soda websites, but when a computer- or car manufacturer's site looks the same, that's quite different. Those are websites I need in order to research prices, configure trim levels, or to order directly online. Therefore the scale of these websites is in a different league: Peugeot 0.24 million, Dell 0.42 million and   Audi with 1.4 million website visitors per month (source: SimilarWeb).

To address this observation, we recently analysed the online benefits offered by over 100 brands. Our hypothesis was: A brand whose name is often googled offers a high online brand value.

Search volumes for brand name searches for 128 German brands    Source: Google Keyword Planner

The analysis showed this range of sites to be independent of the individual brand popularity or its advertising spend. What seems to be crucial for the online relevance of each kind of product is:

– Brands whose products are available to customers off the shelf at any supermarket or drug store rarely provide online benefits.

– Brands whose products are researched online before purchase will have higher online benefits and experience higher customer traffic.

– E-commerce brands offer the highest online benefits.

So what do you do if, like Hanuta or Bionade, you are stuck in the left half of the diagram and still want to reach your target audience online? Buy more unnecessary banner advertising for the site? That would be pointless.

For many brands, the truth is: no content, no customer reach

In this situation, which affects many brands, good content is the only realistice means of increasing your online relevance. But not just any old content. No more commercial film productions telling the story of granola bars.

Your website coverage will only increase when you switch off irrelevant product content and move towards content which promotes the two great Internet-coverage concepts: searching and sharing.

About the Author:

Bernd Krämer is the founder of the 'Cream Colored Ponies' Agency. 'Cream Colored Ponies' specialises in digital content and works for brands such as Bertelsmann, Entega, Orizon and tesa. Prior to founding his own agency, Bernd Kramer was creative director and CEO at Jung von Matt where he developed and co-ordinated many award-winning digital campaigns.

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