Content Marketing Training or Linkbait Coaching?

I had a feeling it was coming about a year ago.

A new term to describe something that doesn’t really need a new term and yet at the same time is meaningless.

But lets put aside such semantic discussions for those who chose to burn time on such matters.

The term “Content Marketing” is here and lets embrace it like a long lost friend.

I don’t have to buy into the artifice that this is a new technique, all shiny and fresh. The readers to this blog are mostly hard nosed online marketers who know that knew terms like this are only created so the same old stuff can be repackaged and sold as a new marketing concept.

And so a writer, now becomes a content marketing consultant.

OK, it’s not exactly like that and there are nuances to the term and it’s meaning, blah blah blah.

The term “linkbait” went through a similar process when it stuck its mongrel head out the hole from whence it came. Lots of screen reading time was devoted to its true meaning and whether the £800 suited marketing exec of an International Corporation should be told he needed “Linkbait”, without implying it’s something found on a pavement after a crack addict has vomited on it.

And so it’s natural that the term, “content marketing” has kicked linkbait off the charts. Just like New Wave replaced punk, these things go in cycles.

I know what you are think, “yeah but linkbait isn’t anything like content marketing….” yada yada yada.

You are missing the point.

The reasons these terms exist in the first place is purely economic. They exist so we can sell stuff to clients who don’t want a two hour insight into the nuances of the technique.

The terms do not have defined meanings (a Wikipedia entry is not indicative of a defined meaning) and so when talking to a client the term can be shaped to suit the objective.

The term can now describe a range of things that were not bundled together before. Which is very useful when explaining things to a client, as they do not have the time to understand detail.

Maybe I am being a tad cynical, but I like the thought process to be transparent and it helps me when people say, “Dude, just get over it, content marketing is King“.

Now, as I train people in the dark art of linkbaiting, it’s not too much of a leap to repackage that training into content marketing training.

To my pals who agree with me that calling it “content marketing” is naff and really just a mind job, if the mainstream are running the term, may as well rank for it.

The process of going over to the dark side started last year, may as well embrace it and move forward.

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!