Content Marketing, UGC and Storytelling = New SEO

Content Marketing As A Virtual Cycle

When the great curator Robin Good's feeds hit 1,000,000 views every content marketer should take note - curation is the key to successful content marketing. I created controversy recently at Phil Buckley's SEO Meetup, the largest such Meetup in the country, suggesting curation should be 90% to 10% creation for successful content marketing.

Curation isn't alone. My ratio left out important gears such as social (the blue gear above) and e-commerce (the green gear). Content Marketing's Gears create a "virtual cycle" where the gains and momentum of one creates gains and momentums in others.

Content Marketing's Gears, when balanced, function as a positive perpetual motion machine where any turn of any gear helps all gears. TIME is the most difficult dimension to illustrate. Content marketing has a longer gestation.

Time is part of Google algorithm. Your website creates expectations. New websites don't have millions of unique visitors unless they are exceptions to the math that drives the web and Google's SEO calculations. An exception that proves the rule, such as a movie star's new website, gets included on an "exception report" and checked by "editors" (i.e. humans).

If Google's editors can find an honest exception the traffic and authority points it brings stand. If there is no honest explanation the traffic and rank is removed. Before the social web became so PRESENT so called "black hat SEOs" could manipulate elements within Google;s math to create "false positives".

Not su much anymore

The Math Always Wins

A content network is a man made "universe" where the physics is so complex its simple. Google's genius wasn't in creating the world's most powerful search engine. Google's brilliance was in realizing they, like all companies, brands and people, are in the information business first and all other businesses second.

Win the information business to win the war.

The "Law of Large Numbers" is the magic key to any "information business". Google recognized how the MORE information they "processed" (fed through their algorithm) the easier life became. As the amount of information Google modeled got larger and larger patterns were easier to see, predict and understand.

Big Data's promise is to illuminate the mysteries of any businesses "deep space" much like sending a telescope into space did for our vision of what is "out there". The analogy is not as strained as it reads since the amount of information flooding over the ramparts is replicating exponentially.

"We create as much content every 2 days now as from the dawn of man until the year 2003," Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously said at the Techonomy Conference in 2010. I have no idea how such a number cold be calculated, but if anyone could perform such math it would be Google.

Graphic created for Saving the N&O, but applicable to all businesses. 

Social Media Changes Everything

Schmidt went on to correctly identify the "culprit" of our rabbit-like content multiplication - User Generated Content (UGC) via social networks. If you listened carefully to Schmidt's lament you could hear the pain.

Google was in trouble.

And then their brilliant engineer Navneet Panda rode to the rescue. Panda's faster machine code would have been useless UNLESS Google made the most brilliant decision of their young life - if you can't beat them join them. Google decided to collaborate at least long enough to assure their rule.

Google's decision to value social signals as confirmation PLUS Panda's faster machine code made the water threatening to drown the first company to truly understand the extent we are all in the information business now a friend. Water that once seemed life threatening lifted Google's boats.

Panda changed content forever.

SEO was too successful. When everyone can look behind the curtain there is no wizard. Google's entire existence depends on the honest democracy of links. If links are for sale then Google's democracy becomes a purchasable dictatorship. If Google's Search Results Pages (SERPs) represent MONEY not LOVE all is lost.

Vox Populi Vox Dei

Romans, the Google of their time, understood the voice of the people is the voice of God. Google's algorithm is built on Vox Populi Vox Dei. This truth is why curation should be the biggest gear in your content marketing.

Curation is LISTENING. Curation is listening with intent. When, like Robin Good, you curate an important pool of information such as "cool new social media and Internet marketing tools" followers can spend LESS time worrying about finding new cool tools themselves. We learn where to go WHEN we need certain kinds of information.

"Where to go" is AUTHORITY. Google looks for trusted authorities because Google's brand depends on the related engines of modeled relevance, speed and NOWness. A search engine whose algorithm brings back the most relevant information form five years ago violates the most important customer requirement for the most relevant information NOW.

Content networks have only one time - NOW.

When a handful of smart engineers saw a chink in Google's armor, when Google before GPlus couldn't keep up, they created the fire hose radio of the web known as Twitter. Twitter's creation confirmed Google's decision to use social signals as confirming signals. The combination of Twitter and Facebook taught an even more important lesson - all business are now SOCIAL information businesses.

Your Content Marketing

Putting theory into practice is where rubber meets road. Here is what the thousand words above mean for every content marketer:

  • Claims without confirming social signals do more harm than good.

  • Curation should be the largest content marketing "engine".

  • Don't pay for social signals as much as be influenced by them.

  • Collaboration & User Generated Content are IMPORTANT.

  • LISTENING more than your content marketing talks is KEY.

  • Rewarding and appreciating UGC is critical.

  • SEO is the efficiency of your gears, storytelling & UGC.  

The last bullet is our new "secret sauce" as content marketers. Content marketing isn't a secret anymore, so your marketing better disrupt and WOW or it will not generate the confirming signals required to survive and oil your content marketing gears.

Marketing's change is complete. Where once we invaded Russia in the winter with millions riding on speaking to ourselves about ourselves now we must win hearts, minds and advocacy. Listening and getting just a little smarter everyday is the NEW MARKETING :). 


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