The Ultimate Content Marketing Myth
Content Marketing has been the buzz word since April 24, 2012 when Penguin first made its debut. Internet marketers went from spammers to “content marketers” over night, and with that transformation there has been a cry for great content all over the Interwebz. Why? Because that is what Google wants. Even Rand Fishkin from Moz was famously quoted saying that his publish button is his “Give me 400 linking root domains” button in his LinkLove 2012 presentation F%$#! Link Building (Content Marketing FTW). Obviously content marketing worked since I just linked to his presentation. Right?
The Ultimate Content Marketing Myth – If you Post it, they will come.
How many times have you read a blog post or heard someone say that all you need to do is create great content? There have been people talking about the secret sauce of great content, that context is king not content, and that seo is dead again. Don’t get me wrong. Producing high quality content is very important, but it doesn’t end with content. It is just one avenue that should be used, and it shouldn’t be used alone.
Marketing for your Marketing
A friend of mine was a C-Suite executive in several grocery and food corporations. He once told me that some of the best products he has ever seen have died a long and slow death on the shelf. Why? Because nobody ever knew about them. The hard reality is that most blogs fail. How many people could say the same about their own content marketing initiatives? Their blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, or any other type of content they have published just isn’t driving the leads they wanted. And unlike Rand’s publish button, it feels like a waste of time, money, and energy invested. Simply creating content is not enough. The missing piece not found in your publish button is marketing for your marketing.
Don’t let Rand’s comment fool you. Lets begin to unravel this myth by looking at Rand Fishkin’s first 2 blog posts from 2004 on moz.com.
Do you find it pretty impressive that his first blog post had 16 comments and 6 thumbs up? What about the second post with 7 comments and 7 thumbs up? Something just doesn’t add up so lets check those comments out.
I highlighted the date the first comment was made in the source code. It was on made by Glen Allsopp from viperchill.com on February 11, 2008. That is 4 years after it was published! The first comment on the second blog post was on April 11, 2011 which was 7 years after it was first published! Lets check their backlinks and see if they hit the 400 mark (per Rand’s call-to-action in opening paragraph).
Neither one of them came close to breaking the 400 mark. Does this look like your content?
The most important part of Rand’s statement is what is not being said. He didn’t inherit a 400 linking root domain just because he is awesome, and neither will you. It took work beyond the content. That publish button was earned.
Promoting content comes down to one of two things.
1) You have a huge audience that will promote the content for you.
2) Outreach has to be done to build your brand’s presence.
If you don’t have a huge audience then #2 is your only option. This is a necessary step for any business especially when it comes to an online business. One of the things Rand did with SEO Moz (now Moz) was to create partnerships with other industry leaders which you can find the list here. It is a brilliant idea to help promote other people in the industry while allowing them to promote your brand simultaneously. He leveraged other audiences from the correct sources.
Getting your content on relevant, authoritative websites allows for a balanced traffic. In the past people have relied solely upon the search engines to deliver traffic. Though this is a good source of traffic it can be quite dangerous. One algorithm update has the potential to do a vanishing act with your traffic. Balancing your sources of traffic will enable in dips of traffic from search engines to be more manageable.
Building an Audience
Building an audience creates benefits for your website.
- Allows you to bypass extreme detrimental effects of Google’s algorithm updates.
- Adds value to your business.
- Helps create a community around a brand.
- Creates a medium to easily promote your content.
- Creates brand ambassadors.
The reason why I linked to Rand Fishkin’s presentation above is because he built an audience. He leveraged the partnerships to extend his reach. He then engaged those people by offering something of value. Then they stayed. That audience is now being leveraged to promote his content to the far ends of the Internet Marketing space where it finally ended up on this blog post. Not only did I link to his presentation, but I just linked to an article someone in his community created about building an audience.
It is much easier to let many people do a little bit of the work than it is for one person to do it all. Creating brand ambassadors and other followers is an essential step in building the online presence of any website. It can create the best (or worst) type of marketing. Word of Mouth.
GReatness is not an algorithm factor
People have the ability to read content and consider it a work of art. A robot can read the same content and classify it as junk.
Greatness never was and never will be an algorithm factor. All computers including the ones at the Googleplex work on the binary system which means the highest number it can count to is 1. It is a simple system of on and off. Because of this Google engineers have created a set of signals to help mathematically quantify the quality of content. I will not go into great detail about these variables, but some of them include backlinks, social metrics, and co-occurrence.
If your content meets the criteria of these signals you will receive much love and traffic from Google. If not then you will have to look at other sources to find your traffic through outreach.