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Is Content Marketing Doomed?

If you’re in the SEO business, or use SEO to grow your business, then you’re probably thinking a lot about content lately.

We’ve heard all the warnings. The Panda and Penguin updates were just the beginning. Google is changing its algorithm like never before. With semantic search on the horizon, the spiders will not only know the words you use on your site but what they mean.

So filling your pages with keywords no longer cuts it. You’ve got to be constantly producing blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, eBooks, whatever. Content is king. Content rules.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s been great for me. I make my living as a freelance copywriter.

That’s why I was a little worried about writing this post for my friend Duncan’s blog. When people are willing to pay you for the reams of content they want churned out, why scare them away?

But I had to listen to my conscience.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re basing your online growth strategy on content marketing, you might be unpleasantly surprised.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you don’t need content. So for those of you who were thrilled by the prospect of going back to your turn of the century keyword stuffing and Google games, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

The question isn’t whether you need content. That’s settled. The question is what kind of content you need, and for what purpose you’re producing it.

You see, nearly everyone’s jumped on the content marketing bandwagon. All of your competitors are out there cranking out blog posts and working hard trying to establish themselves as “thought leaders” (if anyone can tell me what that actually means, I’ll give you a quarter).

The problem is it’s hard to stand out when you’re doing the same thing as everyone else.

More importantly, online marketing is all about getting people to keep coming back to your site to check out what you’ve got to say so when they are finally ready to buy, you’re the one they think of first.

At one time in the not-so-distant past, there were just a few people out there who had the brilliant idea of blogging to build their businesses. It made them millions. By this point, though, they’ve all written books about their strategy and everyone’s trying to follow their recipe to a T.

It’s no longer enough.

So here’s my advice. Instead of trying to create a replica of Copyblogger or Hubspot, steal from some of the best content creators of all…

TV writers.

When the creator of a television show wants you to come back, what do they do? They end the episode on a cliffhanger. And you’ve got to return the next week to find out the answer.

Who says you can’t you do the same thing?

Tell real stories. Not the same old Challenge-Problem-Solution-Results case studies but stories with real human beings who want something. Make them entertaining as well as educational. And make ‘em come back again and again to find out how it all turns out.

Use that approach and maybe future online marketers will be trying to copy you.

Michael Schein is the Principal of Michael Schein Communications. He’s a copywriter, content marketer (the new kind), and MacMillan-published author. If you like the rant you just read, you can check out more of them at www.scheincommunications.com/blog.

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