As we’ve discussed many times, content is considered to be “king” in automotive digital marketing. This is true, but with a catch. Just as the King of England in centuries past was more powerful than the King of Zamunda, so too can content have different degrees of power over your marketing. The key is knowing how to apply the right pressure and position it all the right way.

Let’s take a look at a piece of content we built for a client over the weekend…

Content that’s Helpful

In the future, we will go into details about the different types of content and their role in your digital marketing, but here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Conversion Content: Pages built on your website or landing pages that is designed to generate an action such as a form lead, a phone call, or a visit to the dealership.
  • Helpful Content: It isn’t all about sales, especially with content. Good, helpful content is required to get the offsite love that’s required to make your website sing.
  • PPC Content: The importance of Google Quality Score means that you’ll want your content that’s on PPC landing pages to be relevant and tell the right story to help visitors (and Google) know that they’re on the right page.
  • SEO Content: This is probably my least favorite designation because true SEO content on modern search engine optimization is designed for people rather than bots. The concept of SEO content is often confused with keyword stuffing and irrelevant language.
  • Social Content: Most pages on a dealership’s website are not suitable to get people to share on social media. Building pages that people will happily share is an important differentiator that most websites ignore.
  • Supporting Content: Just about every other type of content on your website falls under this category. It’s not a landing page. It’s not a helpful page. It’s something else. An example of this type of content would be a list of other pages that pertain to a concept. Think of it like manually created sitemaps on particular subjects.

In as many cases as possible, you’ll want the content to  kill as many birds with as few stones as possible. For example a piece of conversion content that can achieve a high Google Quality Score as well as work well as SEO content is a triple threat. With that out of the way (for now), let’s take a look at the piece of content we’ll be discussing today. As you can see in the image above, it’s a piece of helpful content that’s not designed necessarily to generate leads, but that can be shared by people.

The helpful portion of the content is obvious. We’re giving used car buyers advice on how to find the right used car for them. The social component isn’t quite as obvious, but here’s how that part works. When you give people information that they find useful, entertaining, or interesting, they are inclined to want to share it with their friends and family on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They might not be willing to share a service appointment page from your website, but they are willing to share useful automotive advice, cool cars, or local events.

Appropriate Content

Just the other day, a client texted me asking how long a blog post should be. I told him to call me, not because the answer is too complicated for text, but because it’s the type of question that needs much more background.

Some people stick to the old concepts that content must be 250-500 words, over 500 words, over 1000 words, under 300 words; I’ve heard so many formulas for success that tell me one thing: most marketers don’t understand what Google wants.

The answer to the question, “How long should a blog post or any type of content be on a website” can be easily answered by saying, “As long as it needs to be, no more, no less.”

That’s not a cop out answer. Certain types of pages or articles require extensive writing to get the right point across. Others can be an image or a video plus a paragraph. Google is much smarter than most marketers understand. The algorithm is learning every day how to know when a subject is not given enough explanation. Conversely, they can tell when content is loaded with fluff in order to bulk it up. Write exactly what needs to be written. Don’t worry about Google. Don’t worry about Facebook. Worry about the people who are going to be reading it.

Making Useful Content Effective

Just because you get people to your website doesn’t mean that they’re going to click through to view your inventory. The goal of useful content is not just to drive leads. It is in many ways a supporting piece of content that can help other pages on your website perform better.

In the example above, we worked in links to some important pages on the website that can help with sales. The goal of the page is to be useful and sharable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some self-promoting. In this case, we link to the reviews page on the website, something this dealer does an exceptional job of maintaining, as well as their vehicle locator service.

Many of the people who visit this page will not be in the local area because we’re going to be promoting the page nationally. The benefit isn’t just in the locals who click through to see the other pages. It’s also in the way that link juice and social signals flow through the page onto other pages on the website. By generating good offsite exposure for this page, we’re helping the pages that we link to as well as the domain itself.

The way that these signals flow in should be as organic as possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jumpstart them a bit. In this case, the article was shared on a national Facebook page and Twitter account to get it some extra exposure. Driving people to strong pieces of content can help you to get the offsite signals that you need for SEO. More importantly, it helps the domain itself within the Facebook algorithm so that when you post other pages such as sales events and inventory, the algorithm is more likely to show the page to interested shoppers.

More To It

I wish that this article wasn’t already over 1000 words long. Just as writing content for Google and Facebook is really about writing content for the people who are reading it, we must always be cognitive of the reader’s time. We’re just scratching the surface here, but hopefully you were able to draw some insights to get your content marketing rolling in the right direction.

One caveat: you’ll notice that we used the image of a Swiss Army Knife to demonstrate the goals. However, don’t try to do too much with each piece of content. If you spread it too thin in goals, you may end up hurting all of your efforts. It’s better to have a samurai sword that focuses on one thing than a Swiss Army Knife that is ineffective at everything it’s trying to do.

Content is so important to a modern automotive digital marketing strategy. If you can master the practice of strong content marketing, you’ll be way ahead of your competitors on search, social, and overall website performance.