I just got back from having coffee with a client. We were talking about content, its importance, and the fact that you simply can’t game the system (by system I mean Google).

We were also lamenting the fact that honest and effective SEO companies are not always the ones that “win the bid.” The client will not always want to hear what these SEO providers have to say. Instead what they want to hear is “we will get you 100s of leads overnight for next to nothing.”

Sure, we all like to dream. We all like to get the best deal. But, remember, you get what you pay for. I’m not just talking about money here. I’m also talking about time. Because, time is money.

An SEO you should trust is the one that tells you that this stuff takes time. Because it does. If you look back over all of the algorithm updates from Google in 2013, there is one constant… a better user experience.

Everything Google does is geared towards delivering the best search results to its users. Think about that. What is a good search result in your industry? What are your clients looking for?

I’ve gotten into debates in the past with less than stellar SEO companies about their efforts to game the system. For example, one company wanted to create a series of pages for every location the client served… each having the same content! I warned them that Google was warning against this. Their answer… “well, it works great right now.” I think you can see where this is headed.

SEO isn’t a bad practice and it certainly isn’t dying. But, SEO needs to be part of a larger strategy.

Content marketing, “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action,” is another piece of this strategy.

It’s a long game. What does this mean? It means that marketing with content (good utility content) will not convert right away. You can’t expect to write a blog post, like this one, and get a sale from it tomorrow. You might, and it doesn’t hurt to ask, but it isn’t the point.

The point of content marketing is build trust in your brand. You’re working to become THE resource in your industry. The go-to. To do this, you need to consistently provide value, answer questions, and solve problems… expecting nothing in return.

This might seem crazy to some. But, think about it this way. You could “sell, sell, sell” right out of the gates and maybe get a few leads. But, how many people have you turned off in the process? And how many people will refer you to their contacts based on this approach? Not many. Why would they? You haven’t given them anything. And that’s the way it works today.

Don’t take it from me though. Moz is one of the most trusted companies when it comes to SEO. Rand Fishkin recently did a Whiteboard Friday on this very topic, The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

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