Fact is, content marketing is all the rage nowadays, and even high-end SEO firms are changing their stripes to become full-blown content marketing agencies. From the days of backlinks and on-page optimization to servicing clients that now need design, social media or website content - search engine optimization just ain’t what it used to be.
So, generic naming aside, let’s talk about a few ways that you’re doing content marketing wrong.
You’re Optimizing Off-Page Without a Clear Understanding of On-Page
Off-page optimization is what takes sites to the next level, but should you really start building the roof before your foundation is laid? This is essentially what you’re doing by building back links, sending traffic to landing pages or your home page via ad or media buys, or taking the time to spread your content via social media.
As great as all these things are, you shouldn’t build on a shoddy foundation, and by marketing your content (or web page) before it’s ready to market, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
You’re Generating Leads Without a Strategy to Nurture Them
Slapping an opt-in form on your page to send people that free guide you created is a great idea. Where many marketers falter is in the execution of how they handle the leads they produce.
A great funnel is only the first step of the process. You need a system in place to gradually nurture those leads from “leads” to “customers.” If you don’t have a funnel strategy in place before you start building your list, don’t be surprised if a large portion of those emails you collected end up clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button instead of becoming customers.
You Have No Clear Cut Way to Distribute Your Content
‘Content sells papers’, or was that headlines? Either way, you’re creating content with the intention of driving website traffic and ultimately converting those leads into customers. Or, at least that’s the idea. But, you’d be surprised to know that most businesses don’t even share all of their content with their own social media channels, better yet look for a wider distribution network to improve their visibility.
This is a major fail, and this way of thinking ultimately makes content production cost more in order to produce less. Places like All Top (and dozens of others) all help you to distribute your content, and for the unbelievable price of “free.” Even if you don’t submit to these sorts of directories, you’d be well-suited in sharing your own content on social networks, and sharing it more than once, when you do. Don’t spam, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing posts more than once (with several days/weeks between postings).
You’re Doing Your SEO Like It’s 2002
Blog commenting, directory submission, automated spam software, link exchanges, ridiculous keyword density, or even article marketing (using article directories like Ezine Articles) are still making their rounds in 2014.
Thing is, all of these are alarmingly ineffective, and some are just an invitation for a Google penalty.
Backlinks are as important as ever, you just need a link strategy that focuses on your content, and not ways to build spammy and untargeted links. Don’t stop link building but, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start shifting your focus to link earning.
I’d be surprised if content marketing wasn’t just as much of a buzzword in 2014 as it was in 2013 (probably moreso). I’d be even more amazed if most of these businesses that tout their content marketing expertise were still in business in 2015. Content marketing is an integrated inbound marketing approach, and SEO is just a tool in the toolbox.
John Bertino is the owner and founder of The Agency Guy, Inc (TAG). TAG represents a suite of agency productivity and growth solutions for both large and small agencies alike. John is also an instructor of SEO at the University of San Diego and the organizer of San Diego's largest SEO meetup. If you have questions about TAG, The SEO Meetup, or Philadelphia Sports, John can be reached at Twitter @JohnBertino, LinkedIn and Google+