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 asked me and 4 other B2B marketers to share thoughts on the question of content marketing’s not so exaggerated death. I’m more of a B2C e-commerce “stick and rudder” man actually, but appreciate Cendrine including my quote in her B2B News Network post.
Inside of these two quotes from from Is Content Marketing Dead by Cendrine Marrouat, is a critical idea:
“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.”
Tom and my friend Jan have it right. In fact, Q&A content is the most over subscribe and under published content on the web. I stumbled on Q&A’s content marketing value years ago as Marketing Director for Atlantic BT in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Doing deep analytical dives on keywords for customers across many categories showed the undeniable truth – answering questions was a winning content marketing strategy then and now.
Why would a lesson I learned then have any traction now? I have no idea why the gap between questions and answers hasn’t been more than filled, but I do have a speculation – the curse of knowledge.
In their excellent book Made To Stick, the Heath brothers explain how dangerous KNOWING something can become. We know so we assume everyone knows. When I told a large government group, they should be explaining, “What is air” they balked.
Air seemed too simple and obvious. Nothing is too simple or obvious in crafting or crowd-sourcing the Q&A content needed.
Grab someone not on your team and ask them to share five questions they have after visiting your site. We bet most of the questions you receive will be things you thought “everyone” already knew. Assume nothing, write everything is a good “new content marketing” motto.
But there are two problems:
- Unsupported content
- Quality Deservers Freshness (QDF)
If you read this post and dump 10,000 pages of great Q&A content on your site, you may do more harm than good thanks to the “new SEO.” The “New Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” wants and prizes efficiency and engagement.
If your site has 10,000 pages total and you dump that many new pages klaxons will blare and your content and site may suffer. Dumping new pages lowers your site’s previously recorded ratio between inbound links and pages.
Not all links are the same. Links from “trusted” sources are worth more. Any new content needs to achieve the same or better levels of support than old content or bad things happen.
One of the implications of the “efficiency and quality” over “bulk and crap” is that you can’t play with your most valued digital properties anymore.
Google is forcing marketers to think as they do – more doesn’t mean better and more may mean worse. Few are talking about this aspect of the “new SEO”. When I explained to Scoop.it’s CEO, Guillaume Decugis, also quoted in Cendrine’s post, how valuable his “off world” content curation and testing tool becomes in a “can’t mess with the crown jewels” world he yawned.
Look at the problem in another way – what is the value if we are half right?
If we are half right, and every modeled website with rank and value needs to test content somewhere else and, as Cendrine’s Is Content Marketing Dead post proves, content curation is more valuable than content creation.
Quality Deserves Freshness
Google wants content to evolve, live and breathe. 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 less content (higher quality) engaged with and used more and for longer. But there’s a problem:
No one creates content marketing like that.
Instead of creating five posts most content marketers write 500 posts with “freshness” in the last five. If that process, the process of writing 500 with the last five where your “freshness” lives, sounds like your content marketing you are not alone and you have a problem.
We are considered heretical for thinking QDF, and link efficiency are wrapped in one another and creating self-sustainable online communities is the way out (for now).
Community comes from someone sharing their love of something, and then, loving what they do enough to want others to be able to share too. If that sentence sounds like it describes the intersection between link efficiency and QDF we agree. If it looks like we are describing online community, at least until the community marketing tactic is beat to a pulp too, we agree.
Editor’s Note: B2B News Network is pleased re-post this excerpt from an original post at Curagami that Martin Smith wrote in response to an article by Cendrine Marrouat the originally appeared on this site on Friday, April 8 2016.