Content Marketing Inspiration on the sofa No.1

Gillian Anderson in a Manky Wedding Dress

It helps to let the mind wonder and randomly roam in search of inspiring content. Whilst sitting on my leather sofa with my iPad whilst watching the Gillian Anderson in a manky wedding dress, as one is want to do at Christmas.

I came across a few bits of content which I thought interesting, downloaded a drawing App and scrawled thoughts all over them. Tweeting them I realised this may be useful for people looking for a kick start and may make it a regular thing.

Content idea 1

Content idea 1

Content Idea 2

Content Idea 1


I did have a moment of, “why didn’t I think of this”. The problem with stuff like this is how to monetise it. Getting the eyeballs and the links if the easy part.

Although I am amazed at some of the fake stuff that did get linked to this year, mostly by newspapers. Shame I can’t share.

Image Credit BBC

Content Marketing Training and a dog called Fenton

One of the biggest problems I come across in helping people build links to their websites is how to build magnetic content which attracts links. It seems that selling plumbers supplies online does not naturally lead to expertise on online publishing.

Who would have thought?

The reality is, creating effective web content is a highly specialised skill and in some ways is counter intuitive to running a business online. So, someone who may be expert in sourcing plumbing supplies and negotiating favourable terms may not be able to produce digital information which excites the cockles of the linkerati.

Website marketing is a nuclear arms race. If one website in the niche gets a 30 megaton bomb, then everyone has to, just to keep up. If someone goes out and gets a 35 megaton bomb everyone again has to run out and get the latest nuke. And thus it is with getting websites to rank.

Your plumbing supplies website can compete in the rankings without having over 300 back links, just as long as no one else does. Once you get your links from the usual places, the industry body, local chamber of commerce and a link from your web designers (web designers have a cheeky habit of sneaking in an advertising link on the website you just paid for) etc. it becomes a bit more of an effort to go and get the links.

And so a natural backlink ceiling is imposed on your niche. But along comes Frank the plumber and he uploads a picture of a dead squirrel that he pulled out of the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher. The picture goes viral, his local plumbing supplies website starts to rise in the search engine results page and the cash starts flowing in.

Frank the plumber has not offered cheaper prices, or become a better plumber, arrives at his jobs in a quicker fashion or has improved his business in any way. Except, his revenues have increased because a dead squirrel has caused his website to collect more links, thus rising in the rankings and becoming more visible in the search engines.

Frank starts thinking. If the linkerati like pictures of dead squirrels found in the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher, I wonder if they will like a picture of a dead mouse stuck in a hose retaining ring? Frank goes on to find that people online find pleasure in emailing pictures of dead animals found in plumbing, thus creating an online gallery of user generated content and also creating a community of rabid fans who can be nudged to do things with help the marketing of the website.

Now, I’ve outlined a scenario which has happened many, many times. People fall into becoming skilled at using content to market their websites. These people have no obvious training in online publishing or any kind of publishing and yet they just seem to get it, whilst others find coming up with ideas for effective content incredibly hard.

My theory as to why this is so hard for the average business person to grasp is that they simply don’t have the time to understand the basic concepts of what works and why it works. It’s important to know why a piece of content works.

You laugh and share Fenton, but do you know why?

Content like this is sometimes called Linkbait, which is misleading, but that’s for another blog post. This skill of creating magnetic web content and using it to juice up the linkerati can be taught and is something I am going to be teaching with the launch of Linkbait Coaching 3.0. Which takes a focussed look at analysing what works, why and how to replicate it. It’s not ready for launch yet, but soon.

You could of course hire someone specifically for this task, or you could train someone in-house. Training in the art of content marketing will pay you back in sack fulls over time. Investing in creating better content is something that can be used over a variety of mediums and is not just for improving your Google rank.

Biting Live Chickens with Content Marketing

Content Marketing

I must have blinked.

And up pops another word for the same stuff we’ve all been doing for years, yeah millenia,

It’s now called “Content marketing”.

Or it could also be called “read stuff-buy stuff”. However, it’s tricky to sell services at £150/hour to a marketing executive when all you are going to tell them is to implement the read stuff/buy-stuff concept.

You may argue that content marketing is far more nuanced and psychologically driven, blah blah especially if you are selling content marketing serivices (which I am btw) then you probably are the type to elaborate and gesticulate and obfuscate and drop a bit of management speak and other such guff.

But those kinds of people never actually create content that makes people crawl over broken glass to consume.

They tend to repackage mediocre old school stuff in a sharp, brushed aluminium box with a logo coloured a soft shade of blue. A blue that has a subtle but effective gradient. Then they get the deal by revealing they go to the same school or buy the same crampons or kite surf the same beaches.

There are those who can present content which actually gets the results that turn the marketing executives heads, and there are those that can present and pitch trendy concepts and…. that’s about it.

Content marketing used to be called informercials, or advertorials. And they used to make mountains of cash. With not a blue gradient in sight.

Linkbait is content marketing, but what it is selling is the emotional warm glow you will receive if you link to the content. That is the action, that is the point.

Most of the people pushing the concept of content marketing seem to be fresh faced 20 somethings who have a brightness in the eye and think a new discovery has been made and use such terms as “globalize your creative concepts”.

Maybe I’m just a cynical, middle aged, frustrated film script writer who has seen the concept of “read stuff-buy stuff” repackaged and reformed so many times that it takes a lot even to raise one eyebrow 2.7mm.

But, I think not. I think this has always happened, the crowd always follows but it’s the mavericks that have found the oasis a few years ago and have time to build a hamburger stand to feed the hungry mob (Gary Halbert nod of the day) who eventually arrive at the place after following the 20 something, bright eyed, trendy types.

Imagine picking up a plump chicken. Holding it firm and then stretching its neck, it’s muscles taut and strained and then sinking your teeth into its neck. The hot, wet blood pumping out and running down your chin.

The life seeping out of the feathered body as it lies limp in your hands.

Shocking isn’t it?

But you wont forget that bit of “content”, even if you try for the rest of the day.

That’s the point.

You read, but did you buy?

That’s content marketing!

Link building with content is not the only way to get links

You may think it counter intuitive for me to propose that link building content is not the only way to go for links, as I earn my crust selling link building services.

But this is what I tell my clients who hire me for link building consultation.

There are many ways to skin a cat and many ways to build links, sure, content is a tried and tested way to build links if properly implemented and this is discussed at length.

But as you roll back the reasons and psychology of why people link you find that content can sometimes be less important.

Something I have observed over the years is that you are more likely to link to someone if you meet and like them at an seo conference. Why is that? The content is still the same.

It’s because the process of giving a link is based on emotion. Not the sobbing into your hanky after watching a tear jerker, but the fact that deep down within the brain the bit that drives emotion always beats the cold hard logic.

In a way it’s odd that a bunch of Spock wannabe seo engineers will link to someone because they feel it deep within them.

But the human condition affects us all.

Good or bad.

We try to be logical and base our decisions on the cold hard data, but we never do and here’s the thing, we don’t even know we are doing it and hate it when it is pointed out.

  • Fear
  • Greed
  • Social acceptance
  • Sexual gratification
  • Jealousy
  • Pride

All impinge on our decision making process. It’s what makes linkbait work. Linkbait is not based on logic, it’s based on the emotional triggers.

Social psychology is what you should be studying, rather than that new programming language.

Don’t believe me?

Watch the links fly after an seo conference. It’s not because the link targets content got better.

Observe that people mostly retweet those who retweet them. Getting retweets is link building lite, same process. If you can do one you can probably do the other.

How can you up your link building game.

1. Develop a social context
2. Control the relationship
3. Know why people link
4. Give back to those that give

We will be concentrating more on link building psychology in the coming weeks.

Web 2.0 Link Building Service

A quick an easy way to build effective back links is to implement a Web 2.0 link building technique.

This simply involves:

  • Writing an article about your niche
  • Placing it on a web 2.0 property
  • Link back to your target URL
  • Link to your links and send indexing power to placed article

It’s a technique that has worked well for aged sites, working best when targeting the long tail.

If you are just starting out it makes sense to do this yourself, but if you want real power and need to scale it, you need to put a team on it.

Hiring and training a team takes time and skill, but can be done. But it’s much easier to outsource to a dedicated, experienced team already in full operation.

For over a year I have been running such a team and have now opened up the doors to allow anyone to hire it.

I first offered it to my Link building list, (you can sign up on the right) and they snapped it up.

It is now open to everyone else.

Here are the details

  • 1 x 500 word, human written article, written to be read (not spun)
  • Placement on a high ranking Web 2.0 property
  • Article is written within the context of the niche
  • Up to three links can be placed in the article, one to the target site and up to two to other articles placed by us
  • Links will contain keywords you provide
  • Full reporting of where articles have been placed with urls and keywords supplied.
  • Article is blasted using various methods to ensure indexing, after being published

Sites we use include:

  • Posterous
  • Weebly
  • Tumblr
  • Squidoo
  • Hubpages
  • Blogspot
  • WordPress.com
  • Quizilla

This is a short snapshot of the sites we use, we have over 40 sites in our database which are constantly reviewed. New sites are added when tested and pass quality control.

The price for all this is £15 per article/link

To order:

Email me at lyndon@cornwallseo in a spreadsheet format, preferably .csv or .xls:

  • Number of articles required
  • Keywords to include as anchor text
  • Theme or niche

I will then send an email back with availability and an invoice. Once payment is received we will process your order within the month and send a full report. Although the work can be completed in 7 to 10 days.

There is a minimum order of 16 articles, this technique works best with scale and regularity.

Email me if you have further questions.

Regards
Lyndon Antcliff

P.S Sorry, no porn, or illegal stuff or anything that is going to get me in trouble with Bubba.

I retain the right to refuse to accept any work for whatever reason whatsoever.

SEO techniques – Sun Tzu and Josiah Wedgewood

What the hell has your Granny’s china collection got to do with you trying to rank for “kitchen cabinets”.

A lot of my seo pals are into Sun Tzu who wrote a book called The Art of War, it’s a collection of the Chinese Generals thoughts on war and battle. It’s quite short and can be quoted on seo forums to possibly increase the perception of your knowledge and power. It’s not good for pulling chicks in coffee shops though, for that you need Hemmingway or Kerouac.

But this isn’t a blog post about picking up chicks in coffee shops so lets focus.

The Chinese military commander, born in 544BC came out with lines such as this.

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

As is quite apparent, his wisdom can successfully be applied to the implementation of not only seo but business and warfare in general. I’ve not actually read a blog post matching up his thoughts with ideas about seo tactics and strategy, it would be interesting though.

But, who I really want to talk about is the guy that enabled your Granny to have the china collection. Josiah Wedgewood.

Here is a quote from makingthemodernworld.org.uk

The founding of Wedgwood’s Etruria manufactory in 1769 saw him applying a high degree of work specialisation. Manufacturing was divided between ‘useful’ and ‘ornamental’ wares. Products passed from one specialist worker to another, each completing a small part of the overall production process. This improved quality and the dexterity of the craftsmen and also saved time.
Wedgwood divided work between design and production.

Before Wedgewood, stuff would be made by one or two craftsman from start to finished. This means the craftsmen cannot specialise, but must know all parts of the process. Wedgewood invented the modern factory line. One person, a specialist in one thing, would do that thing very well to a product and pass it along to the next specialist.

Seems a no brainer, as you then have the best talent working on all elements of the process.

He then got celebrity endorsement from the Queen for his line of China bits and pieces and made a fortune. Which is very interesting when you look at the seo tool market and how that works.

I encourage you to read up on the guy, there is lots to learn if you are interested in scaling it big and bad. Of course there is stuff that Sun Tzu can teach, but it’s a mistake to fall back on tactics everyone else is using. Best to suck in the juice from multiple sources.

So lets talk SEO.

With onpage seo you can basically get a monkey to do it. Or what in the seo business are called “interns”.

The part of seo that really matters is called “link building“. And this is where Josiah Wedgewood comes in. Because link building is not about art, it’s about the process. It’s about being able to implement a creative technique in a factory setting. In other words you need to grind it out, as fast as possible and at a consistent quality level. Being able to scale up and the flick of a mouse click when demand requires.

Having a seo production line means you can employ talent best suited to the individual task. Ensuring the best product possible is being produced and also at the required quantity.

Clever implementation of technology enables the individual to earn a crust online, but employing a team who are expert in the individual processes means you cannot only own the loaf, but also the bakery too. Leaving the lone blogger to make do with the crumbs.

The process and implementation of seo does not get talked about enough, you mostly get fluff and guesses presented as facts. Whilst you do need your technique tool box to be of the highest quality, you will be crushed if your competitor is using an army of seo factory workers to deploy his mediocre techniques.

Which is annoying, because then you have to pretend be nice to people and develop social skills. But that’s cool, because there are instruction manuals on that to.

When we talk about seo we are really talking link building

Should going Whitehat be an ethical decision or a Business decision

To Go White Hat or Black Hat SEO is not an ethical decision it’s a business decision

The aim of the white hat seo is to unnaturally manipulate the Google results page in their favour. The aim of the black hat seo is exactly the same.

Where it differs is the white hat keeps within the Google guidelines and the black hat does not.

Therefore it is inaccurate to call the black hat unethical as it is absurd to allow an American Corporation whose legal obligation is to its share holders to define what is ethical and what is not ethical behaviour.

It is not an ethical decision to employ black hat techniques, or white hat. It is a business decision.

Sometimes I use what is erroneously called black hat techniques, sometimes I use white hat. I use what works.

What works is defined by how Google works.

I would have no problem being 100% whitehat if blackhat made little business sense.

When I realised that many seo agencies who publicly said they were whitehat but were ranking by employing blackhat techniques I realised it wasn’t about slavishly following what Matt Cutts told us to do, in fact in some niches if you follow the Google guidelines you will lose.

When well known newspapers sell links for thousands of pounds with impunity you have to ask, what exactly is going on here?

I don’t do paid links as I have other skills which I can use. But I have to compete against sites which do buy links. I have no problem with that per se, but why doesn’t Google level the playing field.

Unload the dice and make the buying of links in line with the Terms of Service. Because right now it’s the big boys which can get away with buying links whilst the small guy is terrified of getting caught.

Now that is what I call unethical.

Link Building Machine Introductory Price ends 1st October

Note: If you have already ordered from Link Building Machine, don’t worry, you are locked in for one year at the introductory price.

The introductory offer for the Link Building Machine will be finishing on October 1st. Those ordering the minimum spend before then will be locked into the introductory price.

Why have an introductory price?

  • I like to reward those who sign up first
  • Uptake has been surprisingly high
  • Generates loyalty from those who sign up first
  • Highlights the inexpensiveness of the product, this is important when price is a buying trigger
  • An increase in price allows the potential for an affiliate offer
  • So many people have told me its too cheap, it probably is.

Order before the first of October and get locked into the introductory price for one year year.

If you have already placed an order, don’t worry about it, you are already locked in at the intro price for a year.

To order, subscribe to the email list on the right to receive preferential information on how to order.