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.
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.
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.
Usually it’s the new thing that grabs the crowds attention and sends them running in the direction that the Guru has just pointed them in, selling them an Ebook with a tasty recurring post sale offer of course.
Mostly the crowd moves towards the new thing because they are searching for something that will stop their pain. The thinking being that the new thing will more likely offer a solution than something that is older.
The reality is, it’s not what is one offer that is the problem. It’s the attitude of the crowd.
The Internet speeds up this natural phenomenon and creates this mob that is akin to a cyber pinball, made up of millions of identities, bouncing from one new thing to the next new, new thing.
I’m no anthropological expert but I kinda think there was a time when one human said to another, “Check out this rock, it’s really good for bashing our enemies heads in”.
“No, no,” says another, “Try my rock, it has a beveled, rounded base with a soothing blue gradiated colour within the rock.”
“Cool, lets all get one”.
Meanwhile the tinkerer, or nerd, or geek of the tribe is wondering what happens if he attaches a rock to the top of a stick. Creating a more effective head bashing tool.
The point being, it’s hard wired within us to look for more effective solutions. This is what creates a thirst within us for the new, new thing.
Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s effective
Here is my point.
This year I started an email newsletter, focussing on link building. It’s a low noise high signal newsletter, I’ve sent less than a handful of emails out this year. But, it has been extremely effective as a communication and sales tool.
In terms of the Internet Email is very old and un-sexy.
I sent out the latest newsletter today regarding the Economics of Link Building. It’s very different to writing a blog post, more immediate and with a more direct line of communication.
Don’t go chasing the new, new thing into the wilderness until you have given the old and crusty tools a chance to be effective.