Q: Hi Contentable, something has been bothering me lately.
A: We’re sorry to hear that. What can we do to help?
Q: I keep receiving promotional emails from random companies promoting easy content marketing for a fixed cost. Something about link building… are they the same thing?
A: Ah! Although link-building farms draw heavy penalties now, there was a point not so long ago where content marketing strategies were built on buying 100-5000 links for a fixed price. Some agencies have yet to move on. And no, content marketing is not the same as link building!
Q: Wait, what, how can content marketing strategies centre around link building if they aren’t the same thing?
A: Okay, so link building is driven by SEO and boosting your overall search rankings. Link builders discover sources linked to your nominated keywords based on variables like authority, relevance and ranking; what follows is a very targeted outreach process, concentrating on a list of specific sites.
Content marketers (CMs), on the other hand, progresses audiences through a goal orientated user funnel. CMs design user personas in order to discover where your audiences are, what they do, what they’re looking for and what they like, delivering relevant content through user-identified mediums.
Q: So they’re connected, but separate?
A: Exactly. The purpose of a link building article (also known as an SEO article) is to pass authority from one site to your own, creating an optimisation friendly neighbourhood for crawlers to explore. CMs are all about creating valuable, data driven and insightful pieces - while they also reach out for publishing opportunities, their considerations extends to rankings, engagement metrics, quality of content, regularity of scheduling and any potential risks associated with their chosen posting site.
Q: So why do people try to sell one as the other when they’re so different?
A: While we can’t comment on the individual motivations for this misrepresentation, we can hazard a few guesses… and that can be the problem! Some are just guessing. Companies and agencies continue to peddle black hat solutions out of a) laziness b) a lack of education or c) the promise of short term return (and long term penalisation - but that becomes YOUR problem). They aren’t interested in helping your company grow - your professional dreams are but one path to a quick buck and an opportunity to use your business name as unreferenced portfolio fodder.
Q: This is why nobody trusts digital marketers…
A: We know exactly what you mean. But… if you judge an entire profession by the example and practice of a very small minority, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Digital marketing, content marketing and social media marketing departments are bursting with passionate, knowledgeable and engaged individuals who care about results - your results, their results and the experiences of your audience. Good people aren’t unicorns.
Q: If you say so...
A: We do. This is a no BS zone. Honesty, great work and innovation permeate this industry, provided you know where to look.
Q: But a lot of us don’t know what to look for in a content marketing agency. Can you share any tips?
A: We’ll share a few insights here, but you should really keep an eye out for our what to look for in a content marketing agency spiel next week. Until then, burn our top three signs a content marketing agency is YOUR content marketing agency into your brain:
Detectives - These guys will dive head first into the nitty gritty of your brand - they will know you better than you know yourself by the end of their analysis. To tell your story, they need to discover and articulate your true ah-ha factors, pain points and those little intangibles that humanise your business.
Matchmakers- Find an agency that views your partnership as a long-term, mutually beneficial professional relationship. They won’t just want to wine you, dine you and spoil you with limited blogging schedules; a committed agency will want to be your side from your earliest incarnation to your big-time evolution.
Doers - Everybody loves a talker. They sound good. They make you feel good. Every word is another step towards a slippery slide of potential opportunities… until you’re standing on the lip and the proposed chute looks smaller, tighter and just a little bit scary. Look for people who can rise above the desire to bullshit, who will assess your competition, keywords and audiences in detail, allowing strategy and solid thinking to lead the way.
Q: Thanks for that. I can’t wait to see the article. Did you say it was out next week?
A: Yes! It’s our Christmas present to you.
Q: Better than another pair of socks.
A: You can never have too many socks. Or strategy insights.