There are two main ways to drive traffic to your web properties on the internet. You can create content, and let people come to you, or you can pay for online advertising and get traffic from various sources.
I do a mix of both. I have people visiting my website through the search engines and social media without any cost incurred, and I pay for traffic on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
If I want another 1,000 users to my blog, I can go about it in two ways. I can spend money on paid advertising and get those visitors as early as tomorrow. Or I can write an article that people are searching for, and that article would attract 1,000 new users over a period of time.
Investing in content vs. investing in paid advertising is like the difference between buying a home and renting a home. If you do not have a lot of money with you, you cannot build or buy your own home. However, you can rent out a big home and pay a rent monthly.
In the short term, renting out a home might look like a cheap option. However, if you decide to stay in the rented home for 10+ years, the rent would end up costing you more than the purchase price of the house. A home is an asset that gives returns over a period of time, not immediately.
Creating content, that gets traffic over a period of time is just like investing in an asset like home.
There are articles on my blog that has been written more than 3 years before and they still get traffic to this date. The traffic comes from other websites via links (which also helps me in my SEO), via social media, via search engines and through word-of-mouth marketing.
Content is what gets attention on the web, and the more content you create, the more attention you will get from the internet users. Even this article right now is a piece of content, which has attracted you, and so many others to read it. It is a much higher quality of attention than advertising.
If I showed you an ad banner for a digital marketing course while you were browsing on the web, you would have ignored it, or at best, paid some superficial attention to it. But now, I am getting your high quality deep attention for a longer span of time.
The higher the quality of the content, the higher is the quality of the users visiting you. The higher the volume of content, the higher the chance that you will attract a huge number of people looking to read various types of content.
When you create your own piece of content, you are attracting people by yourself. When you are advertising via different mediums to get traffic, you are basically renting out the attention from other content creators. With a paid advertising channel, you are interrupting people who are paying attention to other websites who have the content.
We might think of Google and Facebook as a search engine and a social media network, but what they actually have is content.
Google organizes the world’s information, using a sophisticated algorithm, that gives you results based on what you search for. It’s content. They are curating the content, than creating content, and it’s still content that is worth paying attention to.
Facebook collects content from our friends, colleagues and family and delivers it on our news feed. Facebook organizes all the personal content that our “friends” on Facebook create.
YouTube gives a platform for content creators, and internet users visit YouTube for the content it delivers. YouTube makes money from advertisers by renting out the attention of the internet users, which was earned by the content on YouTube in the first place.
So do not think of content marketing and paid advertising as two different things. Both depend on content for the attention of the internet users.
In content marketing, we earn the traffic through content creation on our own website platforms. In paid advertising, we are renting out the attention of people who are attracted to content created by other content creators.
The only reason why paid advertising still exists on the internet is because not everyone wants to create content all the time, and some people want traffic in the short term. And when used correctly, paid advertising can be a great source of cheap traffic in the short term. If we know how to convert the traffic we pay for into profits, we can scale paid advertising easily. (And we will be discussing a lot about paid advertising in the near future).
To build wealth on the internet for the long term, it is important to build our own content assets and continue creating new assets so that the overall value of your content keeps going up exponentially over time.
Paid advertising traffic comes to the website, a few people come into our marketing funnel, and the rest of the people bounce off. A small percentage of people in the funnel will buy our products & services, and the rest are going to exit the funnel. The profits from this funnel might pay for the advertising traffic now, but over time, the cost of paid advertising keeps going up because of more competition from other companies to reach the same target audience over the web.
Content marketing however has the capacity to bring new visitors to our website even ten years down the line, as long as you make sure that your website is healthy and accessible by internet users.
So learn to create and distribute content efficiently. Learn to create content that your target audience wants to read. Do market research, keyword research, and ask your users directly on what they want to learn about from you. Distribute the content via email marketing, social media channels and re-marketing.
If your content is really good, people will award it with sharing it, linking to it from their websites, and subscribing to you to get more content from you. And that’s the best way to grow your brand’s presence through the web.
In the next tip, we will discuss about how and why you should create content with the user first in mind.