Two Controversies That May Disrupt Industrial Digital Marketing Plans

by Achinta Mitra on January 23, 2014

in Content Marketing

In the past week, I have read several blog posts about two content marketing controversies that have set the blog world on fire. Mind you, these bold predictions are not put forth by some obscure blogger looking for his/her 15 minutes of fame by publishing something controversial.

First up is “Content Shock” by Mark Schaefer. Mark is a highly respected and accomplished marketing consultant. I read his blog posts often. Here’s the graphic from his post that summarizes his theory.

Definition fo Content Shock by Mark Schaefer

As I said before, this is not a post written purely for the purpose of shocking his readers. Mark has given this a lot of thought and has provided strong points to support his point of view. Do take the time to read his complete post, “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” There are over 300 comments that provide even more insights from both sides of the argument. The people commenting read like a “Who’s Who” of the content marketing world.

I found three very well thought out rebuttals to Mark’s position. They are:

  1. Six reasons there will be no Content Shock by Shel Holtz
  2. The Big Flaw with “Content Shock” and the Way We See Content Marketing by Marcus Sheridan
  3. Surviving “Content Shock” and the Impending Content Marketing Collapse by Sonia Simone

I don’t see a “content shock” from my perspective as an industrial marketing consultant. I agree there’s an abundance of the same old product datasheets and self-proclaimed statements like “We make the best widgets using world-class manufacturing processes.”

On the other hand, I find engineers and technical buyers wanting more and more helpful content written by subject matter experts. They want content that will help them specify the right component/part and make a strong business case for selecting your product/service/solution to their decision makers and functional buyers.

Manufacturers and industrial companies are just beginning to accept the fact that their buyers are demanding different kinds of content from the same old promotional fluff. So I don’t see the death of industrial content marketing any time soon. On the contrary, I see it accelerating for the foreseeable future.

The next controversy is from none other than Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team. If you have anything to do with SEO and SEM, you better listen when Matt says something.

In his recent post, “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO,” he flat out states…

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.

This too has generated a lot of comments (401 as of the date of my post) from some well-known marketers and SEO experts. Make sure you read the comments.

A few days after publishing his original post, Matt added some clarifications as to his intent. For one, he added “SEO” to the title of his post. I’ll quote Matt again, “I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

Here’s a video where he explains the dos and don’ts of guest blogging from Google’s point of view.

YouTube Preview Image

My take on this is simple – you are abusing guest blogging if you use low quality articles and post them all over the Internet to gain a backlink. It is easy to spot posts that are thinly disguised promotional articles. That was never the intent of this particular content marketing strategy.

I believe in the practice of creating a good guest post written first and foremost for human readers and letting the search engines follow. Not the other way around. Posting such articles in respected industry portals provides good exposure and helps to establish thought leadership for my clients. This approach has always worked and will continue to work no matter how many Pandas and Penguins Google decides to release in the future.

I have shared my opinions on these two controversial content marketing predictions from my perspective of industrial marketing. Don’t be shy about expressing yours.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom Repp January 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

I agree Achinta. Just as a few industrial marketers start to become comfortable with the concept of content/inbound marketing, a well-respected industry expert trumpets, “content marketing is not a sustainable strategy”. Wow!

Will…you are right. Rebuttals by Holtz, Sheridan and Simone are correct. Particularly for the industrial market. Quality trumps quantity. For the industrial buyer or engineer, great, helpful content that is well done will be consumed by a grateful prospect.

You could use Schaefer’s theory on industrial sales, industrial advertising, industrial trade shows, etc. The good stuff always bubbles to the top and is consumed by our customers. Further, because industrial marketers have such a long list of long-tail keywords and subjects to attract readers…the opportunity is as ripe as ever. And for a long time.

“Tom Repp”

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