Content Marketing Chart

Image by Krzysztof Urbanowicz

For so long, SEO has remained in a grey area between harvesting links and conventional methods of marketing sites. The smart money has always been on the conventional methods for long-term gains, but recently high quality ‘conventional’ marketing has become essential in the short-term, as well.

What I mean is that SEO is now in line with how marketing was done before the internet or search engines were even around – after all, businesses could still thrive pre-internet.  Further, though, SEO has a new focus on high quality content and thought leadership which changes it from an industry focussed on tricks and techniques to an industry which can genuinely change a brand’s public perception for the better.

Wil Reynolds of SEOMoz made a presentation on his concept of RCS (Real Company Stuff) in which he put plainly that getting links from low DA blogs that are irrelevant to your company’s target market just won’t do anymore. Clear, long-term and genuinely valuable content to a consumer is what should be done now. This has led to SEOs adopting content marketing.

So what is content marketing?

Scouring SEO-type blog posts on the subject can get you in a spin – just check out the confusion surrounding what RCS really is on Google+ some time – but it doesn’t need to be like this. Let’s start by breaking it down;

Content: a) The individual items or topics that are dealt within a publication or document.

                   b) The material, including text and images that constitutes a publication or document.


Marketing: a) The act or process of buying and selling in a market

                       b) The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.

Essentially, putting the two together isn’t that hard. It’s up to SEO’s to create content that adheres to a clients target market and to market it in the appropriate channels for that market.

However, there’s content and then there’s content. Content marketing, used in this context, refers specifically to marketing through content quality, not content quantity.

So there is a shift in focus now from scouring Google Analytics for the latest keyword rankings to actually actively making client sites into attractive destinations in and of themselves. The key aim in content marketing is to promote interaction with a consumer – or at least a potential consumer – via a piece of bespoke creative content which should be aimed directly at the target market of the product it is marketing for. This has to be done in such a way that you aren’t actually ‘trying to sell’ something but more about offering a genuinely useful service, piece of advice or informative guide.

Content marketing is a response to DVR’s that skip past television advertisements, extensions on browsers to block adds and consumers simply skipping/ignoring pages of advertising in print. It’s all about offering things like:

  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Gamification
  • Print magazines
  • Branded Tools

These are just five prominent examples of great content marketing ideas. They are good for catching potential customers and expanding the brand awareness of a product/service/company initially, but the following are good ways to keep a returning base of core customers:

  • Webinars
  • Newsletters
  • In-Person events/speeches
  • Video specials

Not only will this ensure returning traffic but it’ll go a long to improving a business’ personality and how they are perceived by consumers – something essential to content marketing.

The takeaway is that content marketing is a long term strategy in order to yield exponential long term rewards.  The old short term tricks don’t work anymore, so you’ll have to go with great quality content or bust.