Content is the lifeblood of the Internet.
Fundamentally, the Internet as it stands today is for sharing of ideas and content. This has been the purpose it's filled for pretty much its entire “life.” Ever since colleges began to use it in the 70s and 80s, it's been a medium for pure communications: people coming together, creating ideas, debating them, and then saying unkind things about each others' mothers.
Content keeps the Internet going. It's what causes hundreds of hours of YouTube videos to be shared every hour. It's what causes Twitter to see more than one hundred million links clicked on each day. It's what lies behind the hundreds of billions of webpages online, and that's not even counting the Darknet.
So, content creation isn't simply good for your company. At heart, it's what makes the Internet the Internet. Unfortunately, this is also a soup being made by too many cooks, over a billion of 'em, and plenty of them are just tossing in stones. (Mixed metaphors are fun!)
The Tragedy Of The Content Creation Commons
One of the perennial problems that people online complain about is just how much worthless junk is on the Internet. I doubt there's anyone online who hasn't griped from time to time about low-quality pages, deceitful misdirections, obviously computer-generated content, and more. At times, it can seem like all the bogus junk online is drowning out the quality content.
In science, this is called the Signal-to-Noise Ratio, and it's a constant problem in all forms of communication. What is the point that the “noise” overwhelms the actual signal; the good content being created?
This is a problem that does truly concern us all, whether we're using the Internet to gather information, to engage in content creation of our own, or -especially- if we're actually silly enough to try to make money on this whole Internet thing. Poor online content renders searches irrelevant. It frustrates the searcher. It makes it harder for people to find the things they want to find.
However, unlike the classical tragedy of the commons, the Internet is not without its gatekeepers. At the moment, there's one particularly powerful gatekeeper with the ability to cut through the noise and boost the signal, as it were. This gatekeeper is, of course, Google. Accounting for at least 2/3 of all searches done online, they have a lot of power to shape what you see when you search.
While it's certainly a good idea to distrust people with such power, thus far Google has been a fairly good guardian of the Internet, and that's mainly because they have a focus on encouraging honestly good content creation.
Why You Need Quality Content Creators
With their latest round of search updates, called Google Panda, Google started really pushing for better content. Pages which buy inbound links now get punished severely. Content which spams the same keywords over and over see lower search results than those using more natural-feeling keyword variations. Articles which are clearly “autospun” with computer assistance are greatly depreciated.
To reach your customers with your content marketing strategies, you have to rank highly on Google. To rank highly on Google today, you need quality content. It's that simple.
So, if you're still using outdated or (polite viewers look away) “black hat SEO” techniques, now is definitely the time to repent and change your ways. Most of the dirty tricks people have been using in the past have been defeated. It's becoming increasingly hard to “trick” Google into giving you high rankings.
You want people legitimately and organically linking to you. You want people sharing your content through social media marketing. You want to inspire discussions of your ideas which keep people coming back for more. You want these things because they, in turn, bring you more visitors and more leads.
And the trick, the whole trick, is simply to engage in good content creation.