Blogging is a great way to grow a business, promote a cause, or spread new ideas, because when you take an educational approach to marketing, you gain the attention and trust of people who might otherwise simply ignore old-fashioned advertising. Not only can those people become your customers or converts, they can also become your advocates.
Apathy and resignation.
Last week, I opened up a discussion on whether or not the term “linkbaiting” was the best way to describe what has evolved into a new marketing services sector. At its essence, linkbait is simply great content with an angle that prompts links and social media action.
This isn’t simply an academic discussion. It’s not much of a secret that I’ve been working with clients in this area, despite not advertising it (until today). Social media marketing is the here and now of effective online marketing, as well as its future, and it goes well beyond great search engine rankings (no matter how sweet those can be when they arrive).
We’re at the beginning of a huge shift in what constitutes “advertising” thanks to social media. Advertising legend David Ogilvy worked through a similar period of drastic change, and pioneered some of the most effective techniques of his day.
One would think that the wisdom of Ogilvy would have little application to social media marketing. To the contrary, I think his philosophies are dead on the money.
- Want a juicy tale involving Robert Scoble, his brother Ben, a franchise fiasco, a bullying corporation, and a disappearing post from Scoble’s own blog? Then you’ve got to read this. Additional coverage here and here.
- Speaking of Scoble, he seems to have gone off the deep end because people are not linking to him (which of course has resulted in a flurry of links). I don’t want to break another New Year’s resolution here, but has Scoble slapped on the water skis? Just kidding Robert, but I’ve noticed that you haven’t linked to me in a while…
- Does this “new” WordPress theme look familiar to anyone? Have I just fallen for the latest devious form of linkbait?
- And finally, some good news… after the most topsy-turvy, speculation-filled start of a year for a major web property that I’ve ever witnessed, the Performancing blog is back open for business and helmed by Nick Wilson (and you). Kudos to Nick for saving a great content resource, and something tells me that newly-departed Chris Garrett will be back up and running in no time.
Hey, this is kinda fun. Maybe I should do this every weekend… a Page Six for social media marketing nerds.
Tip your editor with scandalous blogosphere links here.
Along with the debate over whether the term linkbait is good or bad for content creators and marketers, there’s also been a related debate going on. What’s more important, content or promotion?
I wish I had been bookmarking all the discussion along the way, because there have been a lot of key insights. However, I think Lee Odden summarizes the consensus quite clearly:
If you create great content and no one knows about it to link to it, you’re spinning your wheels. A combination of content as well as social networking, link networking, public relations and gaining editorial visibility as well as viral and individual link solicitations will all work together synergistically. Building a community of consumers of your content as well as relationships with the media in your industry is the distribution network necessary to gain the most link value out of creating great content.
Content or promotion? Yes to both.
It’s no secret that I’m a content guy. But I’ve always promoted my content behind the scenes to get started in a niche, and I may have been guilty of taking it for granted that everyone understood that as well. To rectify, I recently followed up my post about cornerstone content with one about getting the word out.
Creating great content makes promoting it relatively painless. In fact, creating great content and not getting it noticed is an online marketing sin.
The key to successful content promotion is to start relationships, not beg for links. Over time, you’ll find yourself part of a relevant network within your niche, and content promotion becomes a whole lot easier going forward.
I have to admit, it caught me a bit off guard to see Copyblogger as a finalist for the 7th Annual Weblog Awards in the Web Development category. Many thanks to whoever nominated and voted for me!
I’ve got some pretty stiff competition though:
- ProBlogger – Last year’s winner, who is this guy?
- A List Apart – An extremely classy resource for web developers.
- Daily Blog Tips – New to me, but seems to be very solid.
- Learning Movable Type – Awesome tutorial blog for Movable Type users.
Head on over to vote, and make sure to check out all the categories… Lifehacker got my vote for Weblog of the Year. Winners will be announced at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin on March 12.
While the reaction to your content off-page has become the critical determining factor when it comes to search engine rankings, your targeted keyword phrase should still appear on the page itself. And while there’s little consensus in this area, having your keyword combinations appear throughout the page copy generally helps search engines further identify the relevancy of the page for those keywords.
The good news is, copywriting best practices can create compelling, engaging content that also contains repeated keywords and phrases. You never want to sacrifice readability in the pursuit of rankings, but given that links are more important than on-page keyword repetition, you should never have to.