Connect with us


How To Optimize for Search in 2023



How To Optimize for Search in 2023

Don’t expect Google to take a sabbatical this year.

Do expect SEO to be more nuanced than ever in 2023.

My best advice? Track your SEO key performance indicators (KPIs) more often to identify positive or negative trends in your organic results.

But don’t worry about every shift in search rankings because they fluctuate. Pages that drop could quickly rebound a month later, even if the fall happened because of one of Google’s frequent algorithm tweaks.

Instead, focus your SEO strategy on producing as much useful and original content as possible.

I stop short of saying “quality” content because that’s subjective. Google doesn’t give a good explanation in its guidelines championing quality content. Does “quality” refer to exceptional writing, the depth of content on a page, the design of a page, or other factors?

If you provide relevant, original content that answers searchers’ questions and addresses their concerns, you’ll be fine. Though companies may offer similar products and services, you still can create content that offers fresh insights, and perspectives only your brand can share (i.e., case studies, in-depth FAQs, etc.).

Of course, any website can suffer when Google algorithm updates lead its rankings to take a hit. That most likely happens when websites fall short of Google’s guidelines about avoiding hidden text, keyword stuffing, and other spammy practices. The helpful content update in August 2022 focused on the worst offenders.

TIP: This Search Engine Land article explores Google’s crackdown on websites that try to get around its spam policies. And make sure to read the October 2022 updated webmaster guidelines, now called Google Search Essentials.

Expect #SEO to be more nuanced than ever in 2023, says @MikeOnlineCoach via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

SEO rankings can drop even when you follow the rules

Unfortunately, websites can lose favor with Google even if they don’t intentionally violate any search guidelines. Some of my clients suddenly have seen a massive drop in many rankings even though the SEO elements on affected pages hadn’t changed.

No one knows the precise weight Google places on each ranking factor, from HTML headers to image optimization. In November, the search giant published a roundup document of its ranking systems (what’s in effect and what’s part of search history) that offers some insight.

You also could find several potential solutions to a drop in rankings in my article, How the Right SEO Plan Can Revive Website Rankings and Traffic.

Another potential boost to your rankings comes from Google’s introduction of continuous scrolling in December. Desktop searchers in the United States can now read up to six search result “pages” before a searcher has to click “more results.” Google rolled out this feature for searches on mobile devices in 2021.

It will be interesting to see whether searchers scroll past the traditional first 10 results. You may see 11th through 20th ranking results get extra clicks. Let’s hope so.

As you start the new year, try these eight tips to keep your SEO thriving.

1. Review your SEO KPIs

Rankings and organic search traffic data are relative. Consider adding critical metrics like leads, sales, and PDF downloads as key performance indicators. Even if a few pages aren’t at the very top of search engine results pages (SERPs), any reasonable ranking may prompt better conversion numbers.

If you monitor the competition, look across the industry’s content landscape. You may be tempted to evaluate only known business competitors. But think about your content competitors, too.

Any website ranking better than your site for your targeted keywords can be a digital marketing rival. Study the content of any website that takes a higher spot in the SERPs. What are they doing that you’re not?

Study any #Content that takes a higher #SERP spot than yours. What does it have that yours doesn’t? @MikeOnlineCoach via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Track your presence in SERPs

Pay attention to your changing SERPs. I call them shapeshifters. They don’t change right before your eyes, but they vary significantly from keyword to keyword.

It’s not uncommon for SERPs to appear differently for the exact keyword phrase from one day to the next. It happens when Google decides what snippets to show – everything from featured snippets to People Also Ask to videos to the Local Pack could appear.

Monitor whether your organic result falls below one or more of the snippet features on a SERP. In other words, your No. 4 ranking may not appear in the same position on the page when those prominent features push it lower.

You can get some insights from RankRanger, which charts trends in its Google SERP Features tool. The chart below shows how often each element appeared in Google SERPs between November 24 and December 22.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • People Also Ask appeared most often (in response to between 40 and 67% of queries)
  • Local Pack appeared in response to about 44% of queries (with one dip down to 31%)
  • Ads appeared on about 33% of SERPs, with a spike to 44% on December 10.
  • FAQ/ How-To Snippets typically appeared in about 22% of SERPS (with a drop to about 12% from December 6 to December 15).
  • Featured Snippets appeared on about 13% of SERPs (with one leap to 20% on December 19).
  • Knowledge Panel appears on about 10% of SERPs.
  • Things To Know only appears on 1 to 2% of SERPs.

3. Understand that backlinks may diminish in importance

I’m still a fan of pursuing backlinks for referral traffic and their potential influence on rankings. But backlinks’ impact on the Google algorithm could change, according to Google Search Advocate John Mueller.

In an interview on a 2022 Search Off the Record podcast, he said, “But my guess is over time, it won’t be such a big factor as sometimes it is today.”

Does that mean you should put the brakes on link-building? No.

Google may dial down its importance, but the referral traffic is still valuable. You never know how your next customer might discover your site.

4. Monitor page load speed

You shouldn’t overlook page load speed as an SEO factor. Google wants searchers to find what they need as quickly as possible.

Improve your website page load times to offer a great user experience. (Actually, don’t neglect any Core Web Vitals.)

But, remember: Websites that are deficient in some areas still rank well. Sometimes they have an edge because of a keyword in the domain name (yes, the words in a domain name still matter) or are packed with educational content visitors crave.

5. Don’t give up on page titles

Page titles (sometimes called SEO titles or title tags) describe a page.

I’m old enough to remember page titles from 1998 littered with keywords like: “Ball Bearings, Spherical Roller Bearings, Deep Groove Ball Bearings,” or “Jewelry | Fine Jewelry | Online Jewelry Shop.”

Fortunately, content marketers can create catchier page titles that pair keywords with a message. For example, Good Housekeeping has nailed title tags like this: “75 Best Gifts for Grandma 2022 – Thoughtful Grandma Gift Ideas.”

I don’t love using the same word twice in a page title, but it works here. As the table below shows, the URL ranks in the No. 1 position for “gifts for grandma,” “grandma gifts,” “gifts for grandma christmas,” “christmas gift for grandma,” “best gifts for grandma,” and “grandma gift ideas.”

Maybe the title’s inclusion of the word “thoughtful” isn’t critical for an SEO strategy, but it sells the page. And I doubt Google will penalize page titles that contain a few less valuable words.

Don’t ignore page titles in your SEO strategy. They still matter, says @MikeOnlineCoach via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Of course, the addition of non-SEO-focused adjectives like “thoughtful” do make a title longer. Some people argue that page titles shouldn’t exceed 60 characters. But that character count estimate is based on having the full title appear in search results –Google doesn’t cite any character limit for page titles.

I explore title tags in this CMI piece: Write Each SEO Page Title With Google Changes in Mind. And Search Engine Land has a good article about title tag length: What should the title tag length be in 2023?

Of course, titles don’t necessarily matter as much as they once did. Google’s sophisticated machine learning helps websites rank for keywords that aren’t in the title. (In the Good Housekeeping example, the word “Christmas” doesn’t appear in the title, but the content ranks well for keyword phrases that include the holiday.)

Also, in the last two years, Google increasingly hasn’t displayed page titles on the ranking pages. Instead, it usually replaces them with the header (H1 tag) on the page (typically, the page headline).

For now, keep optimizing page titles because Google still considers them in its ranking criteria.

6. Explore new-to-you tools

You probably know (or at least have heard of) popular platforms like Ahrefs, BrightEdge, Conductor, Moz, and Semrush. I recently scoped out a few additional ones to consider:

Suggest Machine

This free service provides long-tail keyword possibilities. While you should still use other tools, you can quickly discover phrases you haven’t considered. It lets you input up to 10 keywords or topics and pick the preferred language and country before returning suggestions and potential search questions.


This free service lets you input a topic, query, brand, or question. You pick where the resulting ideas come from – Google autocomplete, Reddit and Quora, Google’s People Also Ask, keyword discovery, or content explorer.

It returns the ideas in a couple of formats – a questions map and a list of topics under the categories of who, what, where, when, why, which, and can.


AlsoAsked taps into Google’s People Also Ask queries and explores relationships along diverse topics. Heavily focused on searcher intent, the results can help marketers structure their content and internal links.

It usually offers a few free searches but operates as a subscription service with plans starting at $15 a month.

In this example, a search for the keyword “stair treads” shows these results (each with a plus mark so users can click to see more options for that result):

  • Should stair treads be nailed or screwed?
  • Do risers go on before treads?
  • Do stair treads have to overhang?
  • How do you install stair treads over existing stairs?
  • Should I caulk stair treads?
  • Are stair treads worth it?



This free, bulk keyword tool shows related keywords and questions for the topics you explore. In this example, I input the keywords “metal prints,” “custom metal prints,” and “buy metal prints,” and it shared over 14 results (spelling and punctuation appear the way the tool returned them):

  • metal prints online
  • metal prints wall art
  • metal prints vs canvas
  • metal prints Costco
  • metal prints near me
  • metal prints reviews
  • metal prints shutterfly
  • metal prints walgreens
  • who prints photos on metal
  • wholesale metal prints
  • who sells prints
  • whats metal art
  • what are metal prints.”


7. Don’t neglect branded keyword phrases

With a company or product name as the keyword, your brand may not dominate the top results as much as you could.

Content, image file, page title, and other tweaks may improve your rankings. You can make slight improvements on a page without jeopardizing non-branded keyword phrases.

I offer some advice on pursuing this “low-hanging fruit” in this article: How to Use SEO to Boost Branded Keyword Rankings on Google.

8. Use schema to clarify content types

Depending on your content, you can use one of 30 schema types. Semrush has an extensive article: What Is Schema Markup and How To Implement Structured Data. Structured data lets Google understand your website information better and deliver better search results.

Chart your SEO course in 2023

SEO success in 2023 will require you to stay on top of your performance metrics and make frequent adjustments. Whether Google targets a small segment of one industry or plays with SERPs like a puppeteer, you can take helpful steps for better results overall.

New content that addresses searchers’ questions is your best SEO-strategy defense. It’s a tough road. Organic traffic may take some hits, but it’s still a digital marketing powerhouse.

All tools mentioned in this article are identified by the author. If you’d like to suggest a tool, please include it in the comments. 

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link


How to choose a content marketing automation platform



How to choose a content marketing automation platform

A 1917 poster says in bold capital letters: “I WANT YOU FOR THE U.S. ARMY,” along with the famous image of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer.

In 1917, most advertising was blunt and direct, but in the following 100+ years, consumers have become desensitized to typical marketing strategies. As a result, companies have turned to new forms of marketing to reach their audience.

One of these forms of marketing is content marketing: an indirect type of advertising that delivers blog posts, podcasts, and other forms of content to indirectly market a brand to consumers. Today, businesses can automate many aspects of content marketing, and choosing the right platform for content marketing automation unlocks new efficiencies and return on investment for companies.

Key takeaways:

  • Content marketing is a powerful way to reach customers by providing value through content.
  • Automation makes content marketing efficient and convenient.
  • Optimizely can help you take your content management to the next level.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a new strategy for reaching potential customers by delivering content they want to consume. Content marketing improves the brand’s image by providing useful or entertaining content which builds goodwill and brand recognition among potential customers.

Content marketing takes many forms: podcasts, digital video, webinars, articles, infographics and more. Creating and delivering quality content is difficult because it must deliver on multiple levels: it must be useful, entertaining and informative, but it must also inspire confidence and credibility. In other words, quality content marketing must be both good content and marketing material.

Why would a company spend its marketing dollars on content marketing instead of more direct forms of advertising? There are several reasons content marketing is a good choice for companies:

  • Content marketing improves organic reach by delivering content that customers want to consume. This can range from entertainment like TikTok videos or online quizzes to more serious informative content like how-to guides and video conferences.
  • Content marketing inspires confidence in your brand by establishing your company as an expert and key player in your industry.
  • Content marketing improves goodwill by delivering personable, relatable content that meets customers where they’re at. Rather than trying to make customers interested in your company directly, content marketing capitalizes on the things your customer is already interested in.

image source


How to automate content marketing

AI can’t host a podcast or present a webinar (at least not yet), but automation plays an important role in content marketing.

Social media

Social media is one of the largest opportunities for marketers. Social media is the second largest market within the world of digital advertising, second only to search marketing. Content marketing is uniquely poised to cover both categories as it can optimize content for organic search results and social media sharing.

This is where automation comes into the picture: automation can’t take over your social media presence for you, but it can take on some of the most tedious and error-prone aspects of your digital presence. Some key ways you can automate your social media content marketing are by scheduling posts, connecting various social media platforms to publish content on multiple platforms at once, regularly sharing your content, automatically promoting content and more.

Recently, AI has taken significant steps forward in Natural Language Processing (NLP), which makes AI chatbots a powerful way to connect with users on social media platforms (as well as on your platform).


Email marketing

A fan of the television show Arrested Development would finish the phrase “The money is in the…” with “banana stand,” but experienced marketers know that the right answer is “the money is in the list.”

This popular phrase refers to the fact that email marketing is one of the most important aspects of a marketing plan, and a longer list of quality leads is one of the most reliable ways to grow sales. Email newsletters are one of the most popular forms of content marketing but sending email after email is a tedious and treacherous process as it creates limitless opportunities for human error.

Automation revolutionizes email marketing by automatically sending emails. With a customer relationship management platform, email automation can automatically send emails based on milestones and timelines and personalize emails based on the customer’s name and history. This level of personalization is difficult for small businesses and impossible for large ones, but with automation, it’s straightforward and convenient.

image source


Tracking performance 

One of the keys to marketing automation is tracking marketing communication performance. Marketers should be performing A/B testing to see which campaigns perform the best and merit further expansion, but tangibly measuring the outcome of these tests is difficult without the right tools.

Automation helps companies track the performance of their content marketing by collecting data from various platforms, bringing it all into one convenient place and providing metrics about the traffic and conversions coming from each piece of content. 

Features of the right content marketing platform

Harnessing the value of these powerful automation options requires a quality content marketing platform. The right platform should include some qualities that maximize its usefulness.

  • Flexibility. One of the essential functions of automation is the ability to share content on multiple platforms simultaneously. While this is already a powerful option, it becomes more powerful with a headless API that empowers you to deliver content on various platforms.
  • Personalization. 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% become frustrated when companies don’t personalize their communications. The right content marketing platform makes personalization second nature with robust personalization tools that go beyond copy-and-pasting names. Content marketing platforms like Optimizely target personalized digital experiences to dynamic customer segments.
  • Capacity. Your business has unique needs, and your content platform shouldn’t hold you back. Rather than making your job harder, the right content marketing platform makes your job easier by offering a wide range of options and high-capacity storage for all your needs.

When it comes to content management, Optimizely is an industry leader. Optimizely’s advanced tools range from A/B testing, e-commerce support and headless digital experience management.

To learn how Optimizely can help you harness the power of automation and revolutionize your content marketing, request a meeting today to start the next chapter of your marketing journey.

Source link

Continue Reading


Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer



Skills to Look for in a Freelance Software Developer

According to Statista, the number of software developers around the globe is expected to increase to 28.7 million by 2024.

Freelance software developers benefit companies because of the ease and speed with which they can be onboarded and used as project-specific resources. This blog will answer the most asked concerns about using contract services.

Benefits of Hiring Freelance Software Developers

When hiring a freelancer, your first expectation is impeccable skills and expertise, followed closely by cost savings, or vice versa. Here are the most popular reasons why companies choose to hire freelance talent.


Full-time employees cost an organisation a salary, as well as added investments in training, equipment, perks, overheads of utilities and rented space, and benefits such as healthcare and social security.

Freelancers work remotely using personal resources; businesses reduce investments without losing quality.

Reduced Risk

Businesses reduce financial risk by working with freelancers on an hourly, monthly, or project basis. Setting a clearly worded contract that the freelance software developer agrees to and signs, mitigates financial risk and clearly stipulates ownership of intellectual property.


Freelancers with niche expertise such as software development company in London, provide companies with the best talents for their projects. Hiring freelancers for different projects allows businesses to match the varying demands of each project, streamlines workflows and ensures productivity.

Global Talent

Businesses choose professional freelancers expecting them to complete any given task with minimum input from the organization. You can access talent from across the globe on platforms such as UpWork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and Toptal, amongst others. Client reviews on such portals help in assessing proficiency and expertise.

Work Quality

A freelancer is as good as her or his portfolio. Successful freelancers achieve credibility by building long-term relationships and providing consistent quality. Freelancer work depends on referrals and good reviews, hence a potential contract employee’s work portfolio, and reviews showcase their abilities.

Skills of A High-Quality Freelance Software Developer

The first criterion for hiring a developer for your project is knowing what skill sets are needed. List your project specifications to customise your search and determine the expertise required for the project. Freelance developers may work on web development (front-end, back-end, or full-stack developers) or mobile application development.

Front-end freelance developers

Front-end software developers design websites and web applications and manage the graphical interface of websites. They use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and technologies like Foundation, AngularJS, Bootstrap, Backbone, DOM, and EmberJS to create layouts and graphics.

Back-end freelance developers

Back-end developers handle server-side processes such as website security, speed, databases, servers, application logic, and APIs. Back-end developers are typically skilled in Java, Python, and PHP, as well as SQL, Git, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Full-stack freelance developers

Full-stack freelance developers handle both the front and back ends of the website. They are responsible for everything from project planning to website coding. Front-end frameworks include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and backends employ NodeJS, ExpressJS, Django, Flask, and C++. Full stack programmers manage database systems (such as SQL SERVER, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle Database), version control, and web hosting.

Mobile app developers

Mobile app developers develop, create, and test mobile applications for iOS and Android operating systems. Mobile app developers have programming language skills such as NodeJS, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails. They must also be proficient in back-end frameworks, database management and security, and hardware interaction. They need expertise in UI/UX design, security, and the Internet of things (IoT) for mobile devices.

How to Locate the Best Freelancers  Online

Talent portals such as Upwork, People Per Hour, and Fiverr showcase many talented freelance software developers. Here are steps on how to hire talent from an online opportunity marketplace.

Set a Hiring Budget

Look for similar job postings to learn what are the current hourly rates for the work you require. Define a reasonable budget. Beware that a freelance software developer may have higher hourly rates than regular employees.  

Clearly Define Project Requirements

Freelancers can be effective resources when you provide clear details about your project requirements. Be sure to mention the following

  • Allocated Budget
  • Payment terms
  • Project start and end dates
  • Clear job descriptions
  • Project expectations

Shortlist and Assess Freelance Software Developers

Top software developers typically work harder and achieve results because client reviews are essential to their ongoing success. The details you post make it easier for them to determine if they fit your requirements. Once you begin receiving qualified responses, choose according to their ratings and reviews, your interview process, and any sample project to build software and check their skills.

Six Factors to Consider when Hiring Freelance Sofware Developers

Hiring a freelancer revolves around their technical skills, certifications and education, attitude towards work, and ability to deliver results. Here are some crucial pointers to help you find the most appropriate fit for your project.

Technical Expertise

Freelancers must be able to handle the technical requirements of the project. They should be well-versed in software stacks, coding, development and task management software, version control tools, and deployment processes. Freelance software developers may charge more for specific technical abilities such as mobile app development, web development, or project rescues.


Freelancers who have worked on similar projects will have come across pain points and solutions. Any relevant experience enhances their expertise for your project and boosts their ability to strategise toward productive outcomes. Note that a freelancer’s experience typically increases their pay rate.


Experience and expertise increase a freelancer’s worth, but their services must provide value for your money. Knowing current hourly or project rates ensures that you are connecting with the right candidates. Freelancers that accept less payment may be new to the market and want to create a client base. Or, are choosing to supplement their income with multiple projects, which may reduce their work quality.


Education and certifications improve a freelancer’s pay scale, but they do not signal a freelancer’s abilities. The easiest way to gauge work ethic is from social proof such as client endorsements and their portfolio. A professional freelance software developer will openly share these details, with their client’s approval, of course.


A reliable freelancer will have a long-standing client base, developed by consistent efforts and proven results. The more repeat customers a freelancer has, the better the chances of them being dependable. The following actions demonstrate the integrity of any freelance work and can be testified by customer reviews.

  • Following instructions
  • Regular updates
  • Quickly responding to queries
  • Willingly accepting critique
  • Meeting deadlines consistently


One of the best features of acquiring freelance talent is access to global resources. Ensure that your communication skills match. Also, check that the culture and holidays in the freelancer’s location do not conflict with project development. Location can also affect fees, where freelancers in the USA charge the highest as compared to their Asian counterparts.


Finding and hiring the right freelance software developers is easy when you have the necessary checklists in place. Software development work is complex, make sure you are vetting your candidates carefully to get the best fit for your project. Good luck!

Source link

Continue Reading


State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Continue Reading