Content Marketing Without Marketing Is Just Content

Content marketing without the actual act of marketing is just creating content – it’s simply contributing more noise to the Web. So how can you leverage SEO, and specifically link-building, techniques to market your content?

There is already a glut of content online and more is being produced every day at a rapid pace.

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According to the above graphic, WordPress users publish 347 new blog posts every minute (and that was in 2012).

The tremendous amount of content being created has led to a sense of content fatigue for users, and if you are not actively and strategically marketing your content, you won’t reach your target audience.

As its name suggests, content marketing consists of two activities: creating content, and then marketing that content to your audience. Without the marketing portion you’re just producing content that will be buried online. Content exists to serve a purpose, and it is useless if nobody ever sees it.

In content marketing, content aims to support marketing initiatives such as:

  • Brand messaging
  • Building brand authority
  • Cultivating an audience
  • Garnering industry attention
  • Creating thought leadership
  • Helping potential customers/clients
  • Growing relationships
  • Etc.

In order to accomplish your goals and be successful, you must leverage the content you create through intelligent marketing practices. Again, if no one ever finds your content it cannot serve any of these various functions.

There are a number of methods and channels to promote your content to your desired audience.

Content Marketing Requires Actual Marketing

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To achieve your content marketing goals you need to actually market your content.

If you don’t intentionally and actively promote your content, nobody is going to find what you create. Even great content that helps your audience/industry will go unnoticed without intelligent promotion – nothing happens by magic.

You need to plan your marketing campaign, strategies, or tactics before you even begin creating content. Understanding your audience, your promotional opportunities, and messaging will all help guide content creation and generate ideas. To reach your industry, build authority, and disseminate your message you need to consider how and where you will promote your content before anything is created, since these factors will guide your decision making process.

One factor you should consider before crafting your content is which promotion avenues will be the most effective. Each channel or strategy is different and each has its merits. Some viable options include:

  • Social media
  • PR
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Display advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Retargeting
  • Etc.

Which method you choose to promote depends on your marketing plan and goals. You’ll need to consider your assets, resources, and past successes. You need to do what makes the most sense for your company, website, and audience.

Identifying the proper channels ahead of time will go a long way toward successful promotion later on down the line.

Today I want to talk about how SEO, and specifically link-building, can really drive the marketing portion of content marketing. I’ve had tremendous success in the past, and learned that link-building and content marketing produce natural and organic complementary marketing.

Link-Building as Promotional Marketing

Link-building can effectively aid the marketing portion of your content marketing strategy.

Real link-building involves promoting your content to a relevant and engaged audience that will genuinely benefit from what you’ve created. In regards to content marketing, link-building involves finding relevant websites run by real people within your industry, reaching out, and promoting your content to them intelligently and persuasively, with the primary goal of securing a link.

If your content is truly valuable people will have a reason to link to it. These are links you deserve, but will not receive if no one ever discovers your content. That’s where manual outreach comes in. Link-building at its finest is simply contacting other people with websites in your industry and letting them know about your website/page and how it will help their visitors.

Through your link-building efforts you can increase visibility for your content. Some ways links improve visibility include:

  • Increased rankings within search results – links remain at the very core of Google’s search algorithm and are a primary ranking signal
  • Taping into new audiences via referral traffic – links help new audiences find your content on other websites for increased exposure
  • Navigational routes to your content – links offer more ways for people to access your content

Along with increased exposure, links can also add credibility to your content. Links are often used as endorsements or citations online, and when others link to you it adds validity to your work, in both the eyes of that website’s audience and in Google’s search algorithm.

As you build more and more links to your content you are also building more and more authority and trust. Building trust and authority will extend the reach of your content and help it resonate with your audience.

Why You Should Couple Link-Building With Your Content Marketing

Link-building can be very effective when paired with content marketing.

As mentioned before, when you have something useful and valuable people will link more freely, and you should absolutely be seeking out these links. Content marketing and link-building work so well together because they can feed off one another.

Content marketing aids link-building because it gives you a linkable asset to work with. When done properly, it essentially gives other websites a reason to link to you.

Conversely, link-building aids content marketing through increased visibility, since the linking site is literally sharing your content with their visitors. Each link built will also add lifetime value to the content, increasing the content’s visibility in search for relevant terms. People who are searching for information your content provides will now find your content. Building links to your content creates a marketing flywheel of visibility.

While the primary benefit of promoting your content for links is increased visibility, link-building will also lead to other long-term benefits. Link-building practices lend themselves nicely to other marketing aspects beyond backlinks.

Real link-building leads to real relationships. The meaningful connections you make while building links will aid your future marketing efforts outside of link-building. For example, a positive relationship you build through link outreach can be leveraged later for increased social media amplification.

Building worthwhile links means dealing with real webmasters who have legitimate sites, and relationships are integral to this type of link-building. The relationships you build through link-building can prove invaluable in the long-run as you will be able to lean on them for marketing help far beyond just links.

Conclusion

Content marketing can be very effective for driving marketing initiatives such as:

  • Brand messaging
  • Building brand authority
  • Cultivating an audience
  • Garnering industry attention
  • Creating thought leadership
  • Helping potential customers/clients
  • Growing relationships
  • Etc.

However, people often get wrapped up in content creation and overlook the marketing portion. There has been a troubling “if you build it, they will come” type of mentality developing surrounding content marketing.

With the constant influx of content being created online every day, if you’re not deliberately promoting your content to a relevant audience then you’re simply adding to the noise.

Content marketing can only be effective when you have visibility, and unless you already have an established audience you must create visibility through promotion. Link-building can serve as a promotional vehicle for content marketing, and the two complement each other naturally.

If you’re going to invest in content marketing you need to also invest in visibility, and link-building can provide a means for that visibility.

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