Can We Finally Stop Chasing Google and Just Be Marketers?

Unless you’ve been living under an Internet marketing rock for last few weeks you’re aware of the hardcore stance Matt Cutts and the Google anti-spam team made which has pretty much ended guest posting as we know it. That post sent shockwaves through the SEO and Inbound marketing community and left some agencies scrambling to recover, however, smart marketers saw these changes coming over a year ago. They’re prepared and ready to pick up the pieces from other agencies. This change could not have been better for those who were prepared, but we’ll get to that.

Is your process scalable?

In the history of SEO, we’ve seen many different link building tactics come and go. When these tactics are fully realized, agencies find ways to scale them with a single aim in mind: to chase the Google algorithm. These tactics have rarely been executed with the end user in mind and Google knows it. For that reason, once the chase becomes too much, Google takes action and shuts it down. Guest posting and blog and forum commenting are just a few examples of these scaled tactics that have now had action taken against them. However, the tactics are not what is to blame here, it’s the fact that agencies continue to scale them in order to manipulate search rankings. So the next time a client asks you, “But is it scalable?” Maybe your response should be, “Do you really want it to be?”

“You can still guest post, just do it in moderation.”

DANGER DANGER! I’m going to have to interject here. If this is your plan moving forward you need a new plan. If this is your agency’s plan moving forward you need a new agency. Mark my words, this boat won’t hold water. Why? Because “in moderation” is one of those subjective arenas that can lead you astray very quickly. As Rand Fishkin demonstrates in this Whiteboard Friday we humans are essentially incapable of leaving well enough alone. We always want more. What would a few more links get me? What if I did a few more guest posts? Before you know it you’re sliding down that slope and taking your client with you.

Fear not

Alas! Fear not my friends, there is a solution. How can we generate real interest from real people who are really in your market while increasing traffic to your site, increasing organic search rankings and increasing awareness of your brand? The solution is an overall strategy for high-impact content. The best part is that this solution is future proof because it truly relies on the end user, your end user.

In a traditional content marketing campaign, you create unique content that your audience will LOVE, post it to your blog or website and then push it out through your channels. It’s a solid start, but “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t always create the splash you were hoping for. Creating great content for your audience is only part of the battle. This is where a traditional content marketing campaign falls short.

No one knows your audience better than you do, so your content is exactly what they need. But, if you’re only pushing it through your social channels then you’re missing out on a big piece of the puzzle — including your audience members that don’t follow you socially and those people who fit your audience demographic, but just don’t know about you yet. So how do you reach further than your current reach, targeting those who will still care and not wasting your voice on those who won’t?

The solution

1. Research your market and the influencers in it.

Doing extensive research and influencer outreach to really understand what will make a splash in your market is the first step. Ask influencers how specific ideas for content might help them, see if they would like to contribute a quote or a point for your article. Get them engaged early so you can hopefully capitalize on their voice in the market, but you can’t stop there.

2. Max out your reach with earned media.

Maximizing your content’s reach through TRUE earned media and influencer marketing makes sure you’re getting the most bang for your content buck. We’re not talking about securing backlinks here; we’re talking about people actually caring and sharing your content because it means something to them, it has solved a problem or it has moved them in some way. Not only are they emotionally involved with your content, but they were actually able to find your content because you identified the right influencers and worked hard to make sure it got posted in places where they already hang out.

3. Promote the earned media instead of your own content.

Most often, people will find it easier to believe something about you that is communicated through a third party rather than communicated by you. This isn’t a new concept; customer testimonials have been around forever. However, it’s still an extremely powerful way to break into new audience segments or increase your share of voice in an existing segment. So if you see that an influencer is sharing your content, promote their post about your post! Say thank you, make the relationship stronger and maybe even put some paid advertising behind it. This converged media approach gets your name out there through the voice of another.

This is the difference between traditional content marketing and content promotion. This is the future of Internet marketing. Instead of chasing an algorithm for search rankings, chase the audience that matters in the first place.

Image Source: Flickr

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