This Year, Forget Links and Build Connections via Content Marketing

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Less than two years ago, we wrote a post called Link Building and Content: The Right Combination for Getting Found Online. Since then, Google’s algorithm has become more refined and SEO tactics even more complex, but the advice we offered then has yet to go out of style.
Good content, it seems, continues to withstand the test of time.
In fact, content marketing is now one of the biggest buzzwords in the industry. Curata reports that 77% of B2B marketers plan to increase content production in the next 12 months. 55% plan to increase their content marketing spend during those same 12 months. And 38% are already publishing new content on a weekly basis – if not more!
So much effort is being put into content, and for good reason. Quality content gets shared. It generates links, drives traffic, influences purchasing decisions, and produces fresh leads. If you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, content is the key to your success.
Yet 70% of marketers lack an integrated content strategy.
Good content is important: most marketers describe being competent in content development as second only to measuring ROI in terms of important initiatives for 2015. But (cue whining toddler voice), “It’s haaard.”
The advice is simple:

Publish great content.

Share it.

??

Profit.
The problem is: everyone in marketing has read the same advice. They’ve read the case studies, they’ve seen what good, viral content can do for a business, and they’re desperately trying to replicate those results for their clients. The consequence is a saturated market. Every blog post, infographic, and video your company shares is in direct competition with every other blog post, infographic, and video being shared by your competitors.
While content continues to be the best way to generate reputable links, improve a site’s rankings, and achieve SEO success, it takes a careful strategy to turn that simple advice into real results.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for content marketing success. That’s why marketing agencies like ours are still in business! However, there are some general guidelines that can help you approach the concept of content marketing for SEO from the right perspective.
1. Be prepared to put in a lot of time. From start to finish, content marketing takes time. You need to spend time searching for trending topics (and crafting your own creative spin on those). You need to spend time developing your ideas into unique, useful media. And when the production phase is finished, you need to spend time researching influencers in your industry and even more time contacting them to ask that they share your work.
2. Expect to #FAIL a lot. Sometimes your content is going to be a hit. But sometimes, you’re going to put in all the time we described above and the results will be far less than you hoped. This could happen for a million different reasons, so try to learn from your mistakes as you move on to a different piece.
3. Remember that SEO is a long game. Successful content may generate a lot of traffic when it’s new. The right piece, shared by the right influencers on the right social networks, can drive hundreds or thousands of visitors to your site in a matter of weeks. But good content is the gift that keeps on giving to your search rankings. Results won’t be immediate, but they will be powerful.
Google’s algorithm is always improving, finding more and better ways to pinpoint useful websites. Link building as we used to know it – exchanging links with fellow webmasters, guest posting wildly, and trying to trick Google by passing “link juice” from one dubious site to another – is a big no-go these days. Quantity counts less than quality, and social signals count more than ever. 
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that we shouldn’t even talk about link building in 2015.
Put time and effort into your content, work with a strategist to plan articles, videos, infographics, and other pieces that will deliver results, and think of yourself as building a community rather than building links.
In 2015, content marketing is all about connections. Make the right ones, and you’ll be #winning in no time.
Start here: connect with ImageWorks to develop a content strategy for your business.
 

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