content marketing, inbound marketing, sustainable advantage

Can Content Marketing Be a Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

And If Not, Why Not?

Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute recently published an interesting article titled

Is Content A Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

My initial answer was an unequivocal “yes”. Then I read his article and got his points.

Point #1: All Competitive Advantages are Transistory

This has always been true through all of human history. All competitive advantages last until new ones come along and render the old ones ineffective.

We’ve got perhaps 30 years (perhaps 40) when Content Marketing will be rendered ineffective by some new technology we’ve have not yet even envisioned.

Why 30 to 40 years? Where did I get that number? I plucked it out of thin air. It could be less. It could be more. Who can really know?

Point #2: Content Itself is Not the Advantage

And this is the most important point because while we do have 20, 30, or 40 years, we should take advantage of this great tool during that time. Content Marketing is a strategy, tool, etc that really does have the power to transform businesses.

The Origins of Content Marketing

Content Marketing become an effective tool because of a few technological advancements which created serious economic disruptions.

The Cost of Publishing Plummeted

Because the cost of owning an operating a website plummeted. You can now bring up a WordPress website for $75 a year, split between your domain name and your hosting provider.

Anybody with an Internet connection and a laptop can now publish. Hundreds of millions do.

Search Engines Came Into Existence

With so many publishing so much, better ways of finding things on the Internet were needed. Dozens of search engine companies sprouted up in Silicon Valley.

They worked with various degrees of quality, until finally Google showed up. Their search results were so noticeably better that within one year of the domain name being registered, Google was named the search engine of choice by PC magazine, reporting the Google “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results”.

So Now the Goal is to Rank High with Google

Ranking high in Google can make or break your company. A high enough search ranking bringing with it a high level of traffic can present you with an ideal problem. Too many leads.

The lack of a high ranking in Google can mean the exact opposite. Insufficient leads and a slow death. Why so dramatic? Because people now start looking for things online.

How Do You Obtain a High Ranking on Google?

Publish articles and stories that your desired audience finds interesting and (most importantly) useful, do so at very regular intervals (more than once a day) and keep doing so forever and ever.

There are over 220 search signals which influence how well your webpages rank.

The top five are:

  1. How many webpages are published on your website?
  2. How good are they from both a human and SEO perspective. From the human perspective, they need to be useful. From the SEO perspective they need to be formatted in a very SEO friendly way.
  3. How often do you publish? More is better. Multiple times a day is best.
  4. How long have you been publishing? Longer is better.
  5. Who knows you? Which in SEO terms means: who links to you? who comments upon your posts? shares your posts via social media?

Of Those Activities, What Do You Control and What Do You Not?

The first three items are completely within your control. You can always publish more posts, better posts, and you can publish more often.

The fourth is not within your direct control. You can’t speed up time. So while the best time to start publishing to your website is 10 years ago, the second best time is now.

This next statement may sound strange, but you can control the fifth one to a surprising extent.

How Do You Control Who Links to You?

You control (actually influence) who links to you by joining a community of like minded people working to increase their online presence in the same way you’re working to increase yours.

Who knows you (especially who links to you) is very important to the Google search ranking algorithm. It’s a strange dynamic that in order to be found online you have to have already been found online.

The members of this community “find each other” by which I mean they link to each others websites, comment upon each others blog posts, and share each others posts via social media (GooglePlus gives you the best SEO boost).

Need to Boost Your Online Presence?

Download the eBook: The 7 Fundamentals of Being Found Online

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