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B2B News Network Feature

Thanks to new friends at B2B News Network for featuring Content Marketing’s Day of the Dead on April 19th!

Content Marketing’s Day of the Dead

Content Marketing’s Day of the Dead riffs an excellent post from my friend Cendrine Marrouat. Is Content Marketing Dead? 5 B2B Marketing Experts Weigh In. Cendrine asked me to weigh in. The short answer is YES. The much longer answer is NO. 

Inside of these two quotes are two critical ideas:

“Years ago, firms could get away with decent blog content. They just had to share their links on a platform or two, and they were set. Further, ranking highly in search engine results was lot easier. Now? Things are very different.

According to Tom Treanor, Director of Content Marketing at Wrike, customers’ needs for answers are still there. The problem is ads and promotional messages. People are tired of them.

“The bar has been raised,” he says. “Industry-leading quality, creative use of media (text, video, infographics and more) and hyper-targeted content are now required to cut through the noise. Evolve your content or be left behind.”

Curatti CEO Jan Gordon echoes that statement: “Perhaps it is fair to say that original, ‘broader stroke’ content marketing, is indeed dead. It has become more important to specialize in ever more clearly defined niches.”
from Is Content Marketing Dead by Cendrine Marrouat

Unsupported content and Quality Deserves Freshness are two SEO parameters Google applies to content now and both idaes are hidden inside the words above.

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Content Marketing’s Day of the Dead:
Unsupported Content

If you read this post and dump 10,000 pages of great content on your site you’re crazy. The “New Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” wants and prizes efficiency and engagement.

If your site has 10,000 pages with an update frequency of once a week and you dump another 10,000 pages then Google’s klaxons will sound. Dumping new pages LOWERS your site’s previously recorded ratio between inbound links and pages. Your site becomes LESS efficient not more.

Let’s do some simple math to illustrate Link Efficiency – something we’ve created a new metric for called LEI or Link Efficiency Index:

10 pages
Five inbound links
.5 link efficiency (one link for every two pages published)

20 pages (10 new Q&A pages added)
Five inbound links
.25 link efficiency (one link every four pages published)

Google trusts inbound links, but not all links are the same. Links from “trusted” sources are worth more. Let’s leave the “link value” issue for another post. Any NEW content needs to achieve the same or better levels of support. If new content isn’t shared or linked at the same rate as old your SEO is hurt and rankings suffer.

ONE implication of the “efficiency and quality” beats “bulk and crap” rule is you can’t play with your website’s content as freely today as yesterday. Once you’ve worked hard to attain rank be careful. New content should add to your Google rank not take away from it.

This new danger is why we like to test content. We use our Scoop.it, Medium, Flipboard and Google Plus to test content. When something blows up it earns it way into Curagami. Many of these tools come with easy embed options. Embedding allows you to keep the risk away from your most important digital assets IF you remember to NO FOLLOW links to the “embed” pages.

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Content Marketing’s Day of the Dead:
Quality Deserves Freshness

QDF or Quality Deserves Freshness is Google’s term for content that isn’t static, for content capable of becoming more relevant over time. Google wants content to evolve, live and breathe.

Let Google’s QDF idea sink ALL THE WAY IN. Google wants LESS content with more engagement. Engagement is the number links and shares generate. The definition of engagement is actually much harder, but, for this post, let’s let simple and reductive rule.

But there’s a big problem – no one creates content marketing with the care described.

Most content marketers write 500 posts with “freshness” in the last five. Google is telling us to edit out all but the last five good posts, the post most likely to gain the links, likes and love needed to increase your site’s rank.

QDF and Link Efficiency are wrapped in one another. Creating self-sustainable online communities is the only marketing with any ROI left. Google is and has been slouching toward a new SEO where QDF and Efficiency live together.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in these trends and examples:

  • Valuations of AI and Analytics companies are skyrocketing
  • MOZ confirmed there was SEO value in Google Plus
  • Penguin 4.0 planted “unsupported” in the SEO Lexicon
  • UGC (User Generated Content) is often the most valuable content on a site
  • Friends of Friends marketing is all that’s left…for now
  • Google is using AI to add context and idiom intelligence

Easy to see how a content world (Google) who values efficiency over quantity and engagement over time (QDF) changes what we marketers do and can contribute. Marketers are curators and community builders now. We must find ways to crowdsource our content since crowdsourcing brings more link love and “talking about” than when sites talk to themselves about themselves.

Crowdsourcing content and curating and rewarding what loyal customer do has never been more important. Some would say they can disrupt their way to Google’s heart, to better rankings. Disruption is hit or miss.

Here’s an exercise – create content that will go mega-viral. Go!

Don’t take the bait. The “exercise” is impossible. No one knows what content will spark commitment and conversion, and we lack the tools to help. That’s why Curagami is launching Moon-Audio.com’s Headphones Game tomorrow. When content creation is a game crowdsourcing is easier or that’t the Big Idea that’s been keeping us up at night.

Community creating content is the reason “content marketing” is not dead too.