Michael Martinez nailed it with this sloppily worded yet brilliant paragraph (added emphasis mine):
(Source) It wasn’t the links that got you into trouble; it was the bad choices you and your link agents made. You weren’t ready and willing to pay for premium, high quality content that would attract natural links before; now that you are, so is everyone else. That means the content providers will cut corners, already are cutting corners, and you’re right back where you were with all the link building: trapped in the mediocre quality zone.
If you changed your content strategy from “link building” to “content marketing,” then you are still making the same mistakes you were before. Smart marketers were engaged in content marketing before Google started discounting links. That’s because they weren’t developing a content marketing strategy for SEO reasons.
I have become disillusioned with the entire search engine optimization industry. That is partly why I started this website.
At first glance, it might seem my target audiences are a disparate group of unrelated professionals. I’m primarily interested in connecting with three types of people:
- Literary types (specifically, authors, agents, and publishers)
- Busy executives
It’s not that I won’t work for anyone else, but these are the people I feel an intellectual and spiritual connection to. They all appreciate the high value of good rhetoric.
Who Are Your Clients, What Do They Want?
Each of these affinity groups have different needs. Writers are looking for publishers and publishers are looking for writers. Agents are looking for both. The goal is to find great literature and take it to market, to find readers.
Attorneys have needs too, but their needs are different than writers and publishers. They still need content. I like lawyers because I love the law. As a journalist, some of my best moments were sifting through legal briefs and reporting on legal issues that affected the community I was reporting for. I miss doing that, actually.
Executives fall into another category altogether. On the one hand, they have something to say. They have an audience. But … any executive worth his or her salt is going to be busy – most likely, too busy to write.
I feel like I have something to offer each of these affinity groups. Therefore, I built this website around their common needs.
The Challenge Of Great Content
The challenge for any content author is to discover the real heartfelt needs of his audience and produce content that meets those needs. It takes some research to make that happen. It also takes a willingness to listen. Finally, it takes an ability to craft a message in such a way that it speaks to the audience you want to reach.
And this is why most content marketing strategies don’t work.
They’re based on somebody’s keyword research tool having the ability to spit out the right language.
Your keyword research tool might be able to tell you that “luxury property” is a related keyword to “real estate,” but it won’t tell you that “general berth” is a good related keyword to use if you are trying to sell marinas. What you need is a content manager who can dig a little deeper into the nature of your business and the central needs of your target audience.
A content marketing strategy based on a keyword research tool is always going to fall short just as a game of tennis based on using Graphene tennis racquets will fall short.
No matter how often you use the best tennis racquet, you are not guaranteed to win at tennis. If you never practice and you are playing against Rafael Nadal, you are likely to lose. I hope you enjoyed spending $200 on that tennis racquet.
Why Are You Still Focused On Keyword Density?
I just completed an assignment for a client who insisted that his 800-word story be focused on five related keyword phrases, each with a specific keyword density and each with specific locations for those keywords to appear in the article and each geotargeted to a specific city. This is just ridiculous.
No matter how much you tell certain people that keyword densities are useless, they still insist on using them because “Google has gotten extremely intelligent about scrutinizing articles for quality.”
That’s precisely why you should NOT count keyword densities.
I simply charged the client extra and wrote it the way he wanted it. If he had let me do my job, he’d have saved some money and got a much better article.
If I have to spend my time counting keywords and making sure I use your pet phrases enough times and in specific paragraphs, then I’m going to charge you for that time. You’re better off letting me write a good article.
It’s Time To Get Serious About Your Content
There are only two ways to produce content. You can do it yourself or you can pay someone else to do it. If you pay someone else, you can buy pre-packaged schlock that won’t be any good to you because everyone else has the same schlock or you can pay for original content. If you’re going to pay for original, then you might as well let the content artist do what he does best. That’s why you’re paying him.
I’d much rather work for a client who will let me be creative than a client who will dictate to me how his article should be written. If you’re so good at it, why don’t you do it yourself?
The answer is, either you’re not good at it or you don’t have the time. In my experience, the people who would be good at creating their own content but don’t have the time are more likely to let me use my creative skills to produce an article they can be proud of. They understand the value of time and further understand the value of a marketable skill. That’s why they are selective about who they choose to write their content.
The rules for SEO, for content marketing, really haven’t changed much. Sure, there might be some subtle nuances to the way the search engines index websites today versus 15 years ago, but content marketing is still about communicating a message and driving people to respond to your calls to action. If you’re doing it for any other reason, then you’ve got the wrong motive and you’ll likely be changing your strategy again when Google updates its algorithm in a few months.
There’s a good chance your content marketing strategist won’t write an article the same way you would. He’s got his style, you’ve got yours. But if you’re looking for someone to mimic your style, then you aren’t really looking for a content creator. You’re looking for a yes-man. I’m sure you’ll find him if you look hard enough. What you really need is someone who can think for himself.
So here’s my challenge to you: Get serious about your content. Either do it yourself and make sure you do it the right way or hire someone who will do it the right way. Quit following the crowd.
Contact me through my contact form or