Close
Close

The Experts’ Views on Content Marketing

This guest post is by John Abrena of As the Ghost Speaks.

There have been a lot of discussions about what works in the realm of online marketing. Many say that massive link building and the quantity of links still matter, while others focus on optimizing their website to its fullest.

But after Google’s Panda update, there seems to be a talk of a “new” type of marketing which focuses on content.

Content marketing has boomed since Panda rolled out. Website owners looked for ways to build links, to promote their business, and to gain traction and traffic by having great content. But what baffles me is that it isn’t new. This type of marketing has been here longer than most online marketers realize. However, the belief that it’s a “new” system is ingrained in their heads only because, I believe, a lot of site owners haven’t really paid attention to their content until now.

A few weeks back, I asked a couple of online marketing experts about content marketing, and got some really interesting answers. My question? How do you see content marketing as the new face of online marketing?

Rand Fishkin

CEO of SEOMoz
RandContent marketing can accomplish much of what advertising attempts to do—earn the familiarity, trust, and positive sentiment of an audience toward your brand—and it does so without having the huge associated costs. Content requires and rewards creativity, effort and execution more so than strict dollars, but it also overcomes much of the natural bias modern consumers form against advertising’s motivations and “ad blindness.”

As online marketing evolves, more and more attention and awareness goes to the web’s content—to blogs, to social media, to search results, to videos, to news publications. But, only a fraction of this attention spreads to the paid advertising on these channels. Thus, it only makes sense that as ads become ubiquitous but low ROI, marketing efforts will spread to inbound channels.

Don Rhoades

Owner of The Gonzo SEO

DonContent marketing is a hell of a lot better word than “inbound marketing”. I would argue that content marketing has always been the face of online marketing. I know some people are tired of hearing the phrase, but it does best describe the intent of the campaign. It also supports the necessity for shareable content, and not just writing.

John Doherty

SEO Consultant at Distilled

John I don’t think it’s the new face of online marketing. It may be the new thing that SEOs have not thought about before, but it’s always been the most effective form of online marketing in ethical ways, ways that build businesses for the long term. As someone recently said, “Content marketing is not a shiny new toy.” It has always been around. We are just now realizing that old ways of gaming the system don’t work well anymore, and we need to find ways that will last.

Michael King

Owner of iPullRank and Director of Inbound Marketing at iAcquire.

MichaelIt’s not the new face of online marketing, content has always been what people are looking for. It’s trendy in online marketing right now at least to talk about. Not enough brands have embraced it as a more viable method than interruption marketing. The concept of Earned Media is definitely not new, and most brands only consider it a small part of what they do. They will continue to funnel the biggest dollars into advertising and the like, but I think as more big brands like Coca Cola and Red Bull see results more people will adopt it.

Jon Cooper

Consultant reachable via his blog, Pointblank SEO

Jon Content is giving someone a reason to link to you. In the past, you didn’t need much of a reason, just a website. But as time goes on, and like with any market that deals with an increase in competition, you have to set yourself apart in someway, and outside of the obvious ones like pricing, community, and product quality, content is becoming the main (if not only) way to do so.

James Agate

Founder of Skyrocket SEO, the content-driven link building agency

Content marketing isn’t a new concept. Joe Pullizi was recently talking about a form of content marketing which dates back to 1895; obviously it has moved online since then but the fundamental principles remain the same.

JamesContent marketing has and always will be an integral and vital part of online marketing. The name might change and the way we do it might evolve but fundamentally nothing has changed for over 100 years. It’s about “creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.”

Content touches and drives every aspect of online marketing so if a business isn’t investing in content then they will be falling behind. As many businesses (and agencies in fact) have found out recently, link building for example without the production of solid content will really only get you so far and in some cases may end up pushing you backwards.

Tom Demers

Co-founder and managing partner with Measured SEM, a search engine marketing firm that offers paid and organic search marketing consulting services

TomContent marketing is really a great example of a new kind of marketing that a lot of people are talking about by a number of different names (inbound marketing, permission marketing, etc.) I think the reason content marketing is being adopted so quickly is that it has a cross-over set of benefits where it’s delivering a lot of the things direct advertising has (direct, measurable traffic and conversions) while simultaneously providing a lot of the same benefits traditional brand advertising has (thought leadership, brand building, etc.)

Cyrus Shepard

Former SEO at SEOmoz, owner of Above The Fold, his own blog

CyrusIt’s ironic that content marketing is finally seeing it’s day in the sun. In reality, good content marketing has been the primary tools of many good SEOs and online marketers for years. If you look at what some of the industry leaders were doing back in 2005, it was content marketing mixed with technical SEO—really no different than today.

The difference is that many of the “tricks” SEOs have relied on for so long have finally been devalued, too many companies have been burned by Penguin and Panda, and so marketers with an eye towards the long term are waking up to the benefits of producing content with actual value. Take it for what you will, but the shift towards content marketing is a direct result of Google’s war against low quality websites.

Neil Patel

Marketing Guru at Quick Sprout

NeilI don’t see it as the new face. I just see it as a piece of the bigger picture. I don’t think there will be one thing that is the “face” of online marketing as what works for one company won’t work for another.

Ryan Clark

Head Strategist (and all around awesome guy) at Linkbuildr

Content marketing is the “old but new face” of online marketing perhaps, and it basically means lazy marketers are going to have to become creative in their efforts. Being creative will do the one thing I love the most, making your brand stand out from the rest. If everyone likes what they see those coveted links will come in naturally … and yes, that actually does happen. Being creative with your content will also bring in more social followers who will help spread your next masterpiece so keep that snowball rolling.

The other huge benefit of content marketing is also putting a face to your brand, not just a funky logo. Your customers will appreciate experiencing your brand with someone they can relate to and content marketing is the perfect weapon. This is advice myself and our team actually needs to get better at which is why I’m getting forced into doing more videos in the near future.

What do I love the most out of all of it? The fact that you’re not trying to trick any search engines or really care about them at all. It’s all about the user experience here and if you start by pleasing their needs and wants first, the search traffic will soon follow.

Hugo Guzman

Owner of his own title site, HugoGuzman.com

HugoI actually don’t see content marketing as the new face of online marketing. It’s been one of the foundations of my approach—and that of many colleagues—for many years. What I do think is that its popularity is rising, especially among SEOs, because Google has done a good job of muting other techniques like reciprocal linking, article submission, and paid linking.

Wayne Barker

Online Marketing Consultant at Boom Online

WayneTo be honest, content marketing isn’t that new but there is always a buzz when something starts to getter wider recognition. The more people ‘get’ it the more it spreads. I think people are definitely getter smarter at measuring it’s worth and defining real strategies – and that is where the success lies.

Bonus!

So there you have it. Now, you ask, how will you shape your content marketing efforts? Which types of content should you focus on? If you are a small business and plan to scale your content marketing efforts, read my previous post about truths in content marketing scaling for small businesses, answered by the same people I mentioned above.

But here’s what you need to know if you want to get started on content marketing:

  1. Focus on being a brand: whether your business is a small one, or if you are aiming to be a large enterprise, always (and I can’t express how important this is) focus on your branding efforts first. You want to be known as “that awesome company that provides great content,” not just “some random source of good content.”
  2. Develop a unique value proposition for your business: know what makes your business sell, and what makes it unique. From there, you can build additional content that will be bought by your market. For instance, the other day I was searching for car rental comparison websites and I stumbled upon CarRentals.co.uk. As a would-be customer, I really liked how the home page was set up, and for me, it’s the business’s unique value proposition. Have a look:

    Car rentals home page

    Note the following elements:

    1. They already know what I’m looking for, and make finding it straightforward. They make it easy to choose the date, pick up location, drop off location, etc. They don’t bother with asking your name, address, and other essentials yet. You came to their website to find something, and they help you do it.
    2. You can choose which currency you will be using.
    3. Country of residence can be chosen as well.
    4. You can get a free quote!
    5. A list of the best suppliers of car rental services to choose from is also provided.

    I took the bait. That’s how good the service is (for me). Learn which part of your business/blog is your most valuable asset, and harness it. From there, and with tons of creativity, other forms of content can easily be produced.

  3. Know your audience: after you identify your unique selling proposition, another very important factor is to know what type of content your audience and would-be customers want. Assess your website assets (current articles, videos, presentations, etc.), then from there work out what content types your audience would enjoy. Some people do not like reading long posts, while others enjoy interacting with you directly. Study your audiences’ demographics to help you decide which content to build.
  4. Businesses should know how the conversion funnel works: this is important if you wish to really convert your content marketing efforts into something profitable.
    1. Top-of-the-funnel content should be for promoting your site/business, which works well in forms of guest posting.
    2. Middle-of-the-funnel content can either be blog posts on your own site or a solid and interactive page with good call to actions.
    3. Bottom-of-the-funnel content can be your product pages, etc.

Content marketing isn’t new, but as we know, it works. Add your content marketing advice in the comment section below.

+John Abrena writes on his own blog, As the Ghost Speaks about search marketing, blogging, and all the random things on his mind. He is also a marketing consultant for UPrinting.com, a top of the line offline peripherals printing company.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Great excerpts from industry experts. It is interesting to see how ideas and concepts recycle through in different names and ways. Don Rhoades refers to “inbound marketing as content marketing” with a new face. The takeaway that I got from these experts is back to basics…creating great, content that is authentic. Content that gives the reader value to a point that it draws them back for more. Thanks for this great article, John.

    • John Abrena says:

      You’re welcome Martin! Reading their takeaways always refreshes my mind, and it’s nice that experts talk about these things for the masses of bloggers and site owners that needs a wake up call.

  2. Kingsley Agu says:

    Nice write up John. I so much believe on quality contents. It is a compulsory rite if you seriously will like to be a “BRAND”.
    John, that Car Rental is an example of a website that knows how to use content to make would-customers stick. they literally used words and a well arranged and easier navigation of the website to make you stick to them.
    I strongly believe that content is the “NORM” of the hour.
    Because I’m zealously applying it to my blog at a consistent level.

    • John Abrena says:

      I totally agree with your view, Kingsley.

      There are many sites that don’t stand out only because they lack content. They offer good products or services, but due to lack of proper content, Google doesn’t notice them as well as the sites that have good content, thus making their brand (and authority) weak.

  3. When online anything was new, the fact that you had a site in the first place put you ahead of other marketers for a while. But now the space is crowded and it follows that the cream rises to the top. You could never go wrong with content marketing, but now you can’t do without it.

  4. Content marketing might be a new phrase but it is by NO means a new concept. Anyone who has built success online (without huge advertising dollars) will usually point to it (in some form) as the reason for their success.

    If the internet is the information highway, then there’s NO way effective marketing won’t be all about content.

    • John Abrena says:

      Good insights mate.

      I also believe that way. While many new online marketers (especially link builders) only considered doing content marketing recently, it is by no means new. It has been around ever since, even in traditional marketing where it is ALL about content.

  5. JC says:

    Always refreshing to hear from experts who seem to know their stuff! I think users today are getting tired of the poorly-written junk that clogs the web. Value-adding and quality content stands out these days.

    • Kingsley Agu says:

      JC – you are totally right. A lot of junks are literally flooding the blogosphere these days. People are totally tired of reading duplicate contents or blog post with no value.
      I strongly believe in writing something that solves a problem, even Google can’t ignore that – they will no choice but to page rank the post.

  6. Darshan Modi says:

    After algorithm updates from Google, content of website/blog plays vital role. Here and there in every blog or news website read about content refreshment, uniqueness and generic which is user friendly. Experts opinions are always welcome related to content marketing as most of them agree with the technique is not new but now after updates from Google, importance of content is much more. Promoting content is also value added part of online marketing to create and increase your brand across the local/Globe.

  7. rahul says:

    its very good to read words from the experts…john rhoades’ views are really good

  8. Shaleen Shah says:

    Love the insights shared here and thanks for posting! I think what’s wrong with marketing these days is that many businesses think of the easiest way out when there are simply no shortcuts. You can’t simply become a copy of the best out there; you have to offer something unique. What good is marketing anyway if you don’t have a consistent brand? It’s like trying to dress a pig.. may look good, but still.. a pig.

  9. Well said John (and everyone else). Really, content marketing has been around since day 1 because what it actually boils down to is doing the stuff that you would do anyway, if SEO didn’t exist you would still try to build a strong brand and attract traffic in other ways…

    The problem has always been that with SEO there have been other, easier ways to get to the top, and there was a time when doing things the ‘dodgy’ way provided a better ROI. (By dodgy I don’t even mean black-hat as such, just anything that is less than top notch quality wise).

    Fortunately, (or unfortunately depending on your POV) Google have finally managed to make it so that those ‘dodgy’ techniques don’t provide the return they once did.

    As I see it, the only thing that is “New” is the fact that for the first time, genuine content marketing is the best way to do SEO – it no longer makes sense to take those old shortcuts, because they don’t really work so well these days.

    • John Abrena says:

      “As I see it, the only thing that is “New” is the fact that for the first time, genuine content marketing is the best way to do SEO”

      Agreed, 100%. Real on-site SEO nowadays mostly (if not all) should focus on content driven strategies and tactics.

  10. Rahul says:

    the expert views are really interesting…all are helpful in online marketing for the users..
    thanks for sharing these views as a post…

  11. Ferb says:

    Whoa! so many expertises defining on the term of Content Marketing and love all these. So agreed to John Doherty and I’d love to say the same thing as him, Content Marketing for me is not a new face of Online Marketing. Thanks so much for this and love your bonus.

    • John Abrena says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate you reading the post as well!

  12. Good article. I particularly like the quote about it being all about the user’s experience.

  13. Hey,

    You have shared a great article with us and letting us the view point of different experts through your article.

    Thanks,
    Jenifer Taylor

  14. Sharaj says:

    Thank you so much for Sharing such an Useful article on content article. People now are very confused what’s going on the search engine algorithms like Google. Everything seems changed. Its the time to adopt new strategies.