On cycling, near-death experiences and content
Ian Lurie Jul 18 2012
I biked to work today. Which has nothing to do with this post, except that I biked back, too. My ride home includes a 500-foot climb that pitches up to a 10%+ grade in a few places. No big deal when I was 30 (or even 40). But now, at 44, with about 10 extra pounds of paunch to haul around, I find that my tongue starts flapping in my spokes about 2/3 of the way up this teeny little climb.
Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this.
Today I hauled my excessively-jiggly butt up Avalon Way, then got into the left-turn lane for some blessed rest time. Alas. An oncoming driver in a mini-van swerved into the lane, heading straight for me at 20-25 mph while mouthing something that looked a lot like “You fudge sing mediate”. He missed. Don’t worry. It was close, though. For a second, Ian-as-really-lumpy-hood-ornament and Ian-as-sarcastic-writer co-existed. In that flash, two thoughts went through my sweaty brain:
I am pretty damned tired. This way the ambulance can take me the rest of the way home.
I’ll die while everyone still thinks I’m an SEO.
I was sad. Because I’m not an SEO. I’m a marketer. And as a marketer, I obsess about content.
For some reason, though, every time I talk about content, folks assume I’m talking about SEO.
Content strategy is one discipline. It’s one tactic.
SEO is another.
Do they help each other? Sure. But content drives all marketing. If you’re still paying $10/article for stuff that wouldn’t get a ‘C’ in elementary school… Well, I was going to say “You’re behind the times,” but the truth is that great content has driven great marketing since we lost most of our fur and started coherently grunting.
You can’t do social media without a content strategy. If you do, you end up being the vaguely creepy person who walks up to a group, interrupts a conversation with a totally unrelated remark, and then just stands there, smiling blankly.
You can’t do a PPC campaign without a content strategy. You need to be on-brand, on-message and clear. Otherwise, folks give up.
And yeah, SEO needs content, too. Good content. If you’re still asking questions like “How unique does my content have to be?,” you’ve totally missed the point.
Content isn’t a thing. You don’t buy it. It doesn’t spring forth, all at once, so that you can paste it all up on your web site and then go back to pretending it’s 1995 and the internet is just a fad. Content is the sum of all communications with your audience: Videos, blog posts, comments, reviews, Tweets, Facebook posts, your replies to Facebook posts. Everything you say becomes part of your ‘content’.
I love SEO. But content is the heart of all good marketing. So please, if you remember nothing else about me after some idiot makes me into a pothole repair kit, remember that SEO is not content, and content is not SEO. They complement each other. But they’re separate.
Did you know that Monday’s my birthday? You didn’t? Well, I’ll forgive you if you donate just a teeny sum to http://mycharitywater.org/portentint.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More