Content Marketing: You Know You’re Only In It ‘Coz It’s Hot Right Now

By Amy @BubbleJobs

I’m not an angry person – in fact I’d say I’m probably one of the most laid back people I know – but sometimes things happen that get me… riled up to say the least. The thing that’s got me worked up enough to warrant a whole blog on the topic? The new trend for “content marketing”. YAWN!

Now I know this might come as breaking news to some in the digital industry but content marketing isn’t new – it’s been around for years and, more importantly, it’s worked well for years. In the grand history of the digital world (which granted, isn’t actually all that long!), there have been dedicated teams of content marketers and strategists all around the world who have long championed the prospects of great, compelling content that people actually want to read and (shock horror!) share!

Then a few things happened to upset the balance – I am of course talking about the infamous Google algorithm updates that went by the name of Panda and Penguin. First up, in February 2011 the Panda update hit that focused on punishing sites that had, let’s not beat around the bush here, crappy content and although this shone the spotlight on site content, it didn’t upset the content marketing ecosystem too much.

Then last year Penguin arrived. Designed to punish sites that had been manipulating their backlink profiles to get better SERPs, Penguin put an end to keyword-heavy anchor text links, article spinning and directory listings for good. Penguin’s arrival meant SEOs and online marketers had to find a new way to acquire links, gain social shares and increase rankings… but what could they do? Of course; they could jump on the content marketing bandwagon!

Fast forwards a year and content marketing is one of the biggest buzzwords in the SEO industry at the moment. Take a look at any SEO blog and you’d think content marketing was the best thing since sliced bread. Every online marketer worth their two cents is now giving advice on everything from guest blogging to infographics and eBooks… but that’s great news, isn’t it?

content strategy

No, it’s not – and I’ll tell you why! While I’m glad people in the industry are finally acknowledging that content matters, the content marketing industry is in the process of being irrevocably damaged by flash-in-the-pan SEOs and online marketers who think churning out content and spamming it around the web is the way to go to secure great rankings. Now, I’m not saying that everyone that’s now involved in content marketing is a crook or is guilty of polluting the web with downright crappy content… but it is happening. And it’s definitely not a good thing!

The thing is; just like that catchy Rita Ora song, SEOs are only in content marketing “‘coz it’s hot right now”. It’s no secret that content has always been the way to Google’s heart (and visitors’) but producing great content takes time, effort and dedication. Up until a few years ago, SEOs could get away with writing below-par content on a site, spamming dodgy directories and spinning articles on Ezine and Co that didn’t even make sense in return for great rankings… so why would they bother producing time-consuming great content?!

Now that those old black-hat techniques have bitten the dust, SEOs have no choice to but to embrace content marketing in all its glory…  but what happens when someone finds a new, easier technique to attract quality links and secure valuable SERPs? Why SEOs and content marketing will part ways quicker than you can say “IhateGoogle”. OK, so there might be a few that stay true to content marketing and the old “Content Is King” cliche, but come on; I’d be very surprised if the majority of SEOs don’t up sticks and wave content marketing goodbye… that is until the latest SEO technique gets identified and punished by Matt Cutts and his team and we’re back to square one.

Just to clarify, I don’t really have a problem with SEOs that are getting involved in content marketing – I get it, I’m an SEO myself, needs must and all that – what I do have a problem with is SEOs who are doing a quite frankly shocking job and making things ten times harder for the rest of us who genuinely care about content marketing and always have.

While guest posting has never been easy per say, it’s never been this hard before. Pre-penguin bloggers were happy to share and accept content if the blog was of good quality and relevant to their audience – post-penguin that’s not enough. You now have to stick your hand in your pocket and actually pay them to publish your content (I’m going to move on from this particular point quickly before I get too angry!)…. what’s more, for the quality blogs that still have morals, you have to shout ten times harder to be heard above the static, let alone to have your article actually published.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. My point? If you genuinely care about great content and providing great resources for the world wide web and your visitors, great – if not, get out of the kitchen and stop pretending you do. If you’re not interested in content marketing but know you need to do it, employ someone to do it who genuinely does care, please! Not only will you make the lives of the people who genuinely care about content marketing easier but you’ll end up with better content that will stand the test of time and will continue to attract backlinks, not just now but over the next six, 12 or even 24 months.

Sorry – that turned out to be more of a rant than I’d planned! What do you think? Have I struck a chord with any of you? Let me know at @amy_edwards88 or @BubbleJobs. Alternatively, leave a comment below.

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