SEO is Dead, Long Live Content Marketing

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably seen some variation of this headline in the last year. Just recently I came across the following articles in my Twitter feed: “Is SEO Dead?” and “Why Content Marketing is a Definitive Method for Success in 2014”, almost back to back.

Old school SEO practices have been declared dead so many times, you’d think they were some sort of zombie horde we’ve been trying to put down with head shots in order to make sure they don’t get back up to bite us.

But let’s be clear, content marketing is also SEO and at least some good SEO practices can help content marketing. Content marketing is what Google always hoped people would do when they wanted to build organic search traffic and talked of SEO. Create interesting and relevant articles, videos, and images and your audience will come. It’s the marketing Field of Dreams.

While the phrase content marketing may seem fresh, the concept has been around since people have tried to sell something or attract an audience. And if you’re in the business of creating content, you’ll want to make sure search engines can find it. It’s not about trapping people where they don’t want to be, but guiding them to the right place. Think of SEO like making the road signs to your museum of relevant art works. If you want people to see the Mona Lisa, you have to make sure they know how to find it and guide them when they come searching. SEO should not be a dirty word or a zombie you’re trying to put out of its misery, but a partner to more and better traffic.

SEO vs Content Marketing

Alternatively, think of SEO as the foundation your house of content marketing has to be built on. Now that you’re writing and creating amazing content, you still want to make sure titles are relevant, navigation is user friendly, and people can easily find everything you’re sharing. You wouldn’t want to build a $1 million dollar house on a crappy foundation.

SEO is the foundation for content marketing

But let’s get back to the marketing buzzword of 2014: content marketing. There are new studies, surveys, and polls released every day that indicate, without a doubt, that content marketing is on the rise and if you’re not doing it, you should be or, at the very least, you should be thinking about it.

Based on an Aol & Nielsen study, 23% of social media messages today include links to content. That’s about 27,000,000 pieces of content shared each day around the Internet. No matter what your industry is, you don’t want to be left out of that conversation.

And it looks like most marketing professionals agree. According to a recent eMarketer survey, in 2013, 34.8% of marketing professionals considered content marketing their top focus. That’s almost double 2012’s number of 18.9%. Similarly, in a recent report, Marketing Profs stated that 93% of B2B marketing professionals use content marketing.

But of course, you don’t have to do something just because everyone else is doing it. Perhaps you’d be more convinced by the results they’re getting.

  • Because 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company. (Source: Custom Content Council)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, but delivers 3 times as many leads. (Source: Demand Metric)
  • B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Source: Social Media B2B)

Below, I (not a designer) used SmartDraw to create a handy infographic to prove to you not only that we practice what we preach, but that visuals really do speak louder than words. I bet some of you didn’t even bother reading all this and have just skipped straight to the big, colorful obelisk of graphical information in this article. I could be revealing next week’s winning lottery tickets in these paragraphs and you’d be missing it because it wouldn’t be in eye-catching chart form.

Content Marketing Infographic

How can SmartDraw help you? Statistics have shown over and over again that people like visuals better than words. Photos get more clicks, videos get more views. and so on. See for yourself in our Visual Communication infographic.

We at SmartDraw believe in visuals. We make it our business to make creating visuals easy, so you can add them to your own presentations, articles, and content marketing pieces.

In this coming year, we hope to continue to provide you interesting, relevant content to help you succeed in whatever you’re doing whether you’re a project manager, a fellow marketer, software engineer, or an entrepreneur. If you think of a topic you’d like us to cover, feel free to mention it in the comments or drop us a line.