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Executing a content strategy can feel like an ever-increasing treadmill. Google demands fresh, relevant content for organic search rankings. Given this environment, is content marketing sustainability realistic? Especially for small to medium-sized businesses?
An Artificial Demand?
If a business wants to increase organic visibility there are really only two ways of doing it: quality content or relevant links. Both take effort. Even with the recent algorithm changes like Pigeon (local search) and Panda 4.1 (supposedly helping smaller websites), we haven’t seen huge strides for the little(r) guy to compete against big brands with deep pockets.
This paradox puts more pressure on creating a content machine that cranks out blog posts and new web pages frequently and consistently. The danger is that you create posts simply in order to send a strong White Hat SEO signal to search engines. The gap happens when you lose site of your human audience, shifting focus to feeding the Google and Bing crawlers. Management pushes for better, faster results. You move from quality to quantity in spite of good intentions.
We’ve found that the narrower the focus of a website, the better chance search engine bots can digest and “understand” it. Remember algorithms are simply software programs. How they index content is consistent (they use the same criteria when crawling on all websites). However, the software doesn’t have human-like intelligence. Yet. Last September Google’s Hummingbird was released; it was the first step in integrating search intent (artificial intelligence) with search phrases (keywords) to help searchers find what they are looking for. As a result pages that answer questions got a boost in visibility.
With a narrower focus, comes the challenge of coming up with new and interesting topics to write about. At some point, how many times can you riff on the same idea said in different ways?! That’s where the question of content marketing sustainability should be examined.
So if your website is laser focused one type of service or product, does that limit your pool of topic ideas?
Content Marketing Sustainability in Question
Back in 2008 high-profile marketer and author, Seth Godin, was asked about the role of content marketing and its effect on traditional media. His answer: “[Content Marketing] is all the marketing that’s left.”
That was over six years ago. Has content marketing run amok? As a writer and blogger, I’m happy to see that content has a prominent role in today’s online marketing. However, I think the pace has accelerated to the point where it should be questioned. Heresy? Maybe.
The Point of It All
In the 2008 interview Seth went to say “that teaching your customers and giving your customers the resources to believe you is new marketing. They become a fan of yours because you teach them something that makes them feel better about the world.”
So, let’s not forget the whole point of content marketing: demonstrate your brand’s value. For those who are afraid to give away information (lest your competitions steal it), that’s a flawed assumption. Most likely the services or products you sell to clients is not unique in the marketplace. Your competitors already offer something similar. The important difference? You. Your experience. Your expertise. Your advice.
As you create and maintain your content marketing strategy, here are a few things to consider:
- Are there satellite topics related to your industry that would be interesting to your audience? There may be room to expand your topic/category list.
- Where you could you get a fresh perspective? Sometimes hiring a new writer can breathe new life.
- Do you need more organization/discipline for your strategy? Creativity has been sparked when you structure supports it.
Has search engines’ need for new web pages and posts created a monster? Is content marketing sustainable or just the current trend?
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Launching a website and need help with design? Or, are you tweaking your landing pages to improve sales conversion?
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