By Mike Templeman
Back in February of 2011, Google opened the cage on a vicious little animal they’d kept locked up for years.
That creature was a Panda. More specifically, it was the Panda algorithmic crawl.
This little piece of code would crawl the internet, find low quality content, and penalize sites rife with it.
After numerous crawls and thousands of penalized websites, a shout resounded: “Content is King!”
Only If It’s Good
They were right, sorta.
Content became a driving factor in how sites ranked, causing link farmers and spammers to tweak their tactics. Companies started talking about their content marketing strategy. Guest blogging was introduced, and onsite blogs became the norm.
In the mad dash to create content, one important factor was missing — quality.
Today, a day after an announcement from Matt Cutts that declared “you can stick a fork in guest blogging,” we’re left wondering what’s left for content marketing. If you’ve been looking for shortcuts or highly scalable options for content marketing, you’ve probably been doing something Google will eventually penalize.
Fix Your Crummy Content
Guest blogging was never meant to evolve into the bloated, spammy creature that some of it has become today.
Intended as a way for people to share their knowledge across different platforms, establish a voice, and create some exposure for their brand, blogging has, for some, become a link farm churning out low quality articles in exchange for links. Not a way to build trust or an audience.
What Tools Remain?
Guest Blogging: Let’s take another look at guest blogging. I know, I just finished telling you it was spammy and Matt Cutts just told us it was dead.
Valuable, relevant guest blogging will never damage a brand. If you’re reaching out for the right reasons and posting on the right sites to share knowledge, and not share Google juice, you’re in good shape.
Forget about back-links. The real benefit you’ll be receiving is the readership, the exposure, and the brand building. Isn’t that incentive enough?
Site Content: How about actual, quality content on your site? I’m talking about content written to educate and inform without a passing thought to keyword density. Google loves this kind of content, and so will your readers and your customers.
The Onsite Blog: Onsite blogging is still incredibly relevant. More than anything, online blogging offers a platform to disseminate your expertise to your clients. It gives you a voice, an audience, and your very own ‘last word’.
Let’s not forget that it’s engaging, natural, and Google spiders love onsite blogs. More quality content means better results when people go searching. Their little piece of Panda code eats them up like a pile of bamboo.
Social Media, Of Course
While discussing content, it would be a crime if I didn’t bring up social media, the most organic of all marketing mediums.
You can’t just put your message out there in a sterile environment, and expect it to be accepted.
What really happens is you toss that message into a morass of cynicism, humor, and real engagements. Whether that carefully-crafted message sinks or swims comes down to its own merits. Social media has allowed for some soaring successes, like the Oreo Super Bowl tweet, but it also enables companies to shoot themselves in the foot.
Don’t let the failures of others scare you off. For every horribly timed tweet, there are thousands of awesome customer and reader interactions that occur online.
Content marketing isn’t something that should be crammed into the box of traditional marketing. It doesn’t always scale well and doesn’t offer an immediate payoff like certain other mediums.
What it does is provide your business with a way to build brand, educate your customers on your products and services without them feeling like they’re being sold, and establish a solid reputation.
Now get out there and blog.