Are You Really a Content Marketer or Just an SEO?

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In recent months, especially after the so called Google Penguin update many people in the SEO industry not only increasingly embraced content marketing but they tried to join the bandwagon and rebrand themselves as content marketers. Many articles saying “we’re all content marketers now” have been written and a few articles have been published that express the opposite conviction too, that content marketing is a bit made up as a term, that it’s just old wine in new bottles etc.

For years I have been struggling to deal with the pretty negative reputation of SEO. Still I decided to stick to it even though I also attempted to create my own flavor of it, SEO 2.0

After a few years it’s clear that while the term SEO 2.0 hasn’t caught on many of the things I was hailing as SEO 2.0 throughout the years have caught on and are industry best practices right now. In most cases I wasn’t even involved in that change, it was just the evolution of the Internet that made it necessary.

With every new term that comes describing my work up I always wonder, is it me, do I still practice SEO? Or do I practice social media marketing for example (that was the most popular term for a time)? Last year inbound marketing was the most popular term it seems. This year it’s content marketing. The focus is always on marketing it seems.

I never wanted to limit myself to marketing, or to practice advertising and only care for sales. Optimization for me is far broader than marketing and encompasses disciplines that solely sales-oriented marketing does not.

So while I was watching the rising popularity of the term content marketing, especially among (former) SEOs I was wondering myself: are you really a content marketer or just an SEO?

In a way I was always a content marketer because I was blogging even before I became an SEO. Additionally business blogging and creation of flagship content was my one of most important means of getting links along relationship building. On the other hand I was mostly blogging. I didn’t create

  1. white papers
  2. presentations
  3. videos
  4. webinars
  5. infographics
  6. print magazines

That’s all part of content marketing though. All of these media types are widely used in content marketing. Just blogging or creating content to get links doesn’t make you a content marketer. There is certainly an overlap. For example creating infographics has been widely practiced by SEO agencies. I say agencies not practicioners because as an SEO consultant you won’t in many cases have the skills to create an infographic yourself. You at least in need a graphic designer.

You will probably like to add a statistician to your team so that  the data you display  is meaningful as well. I have helped teams to create infographic but  would not create one myself. Yes, I blog, yes I create flagship content to get links and beyond. Yes, I even focus on audiences not search engines when creating content (aka writing) but still that doesn’ t make me a content marketer.

OK, so you are part of an interdisciplinary team, you create all of the above mentioned media types. You focus on audiences of real people, not search engine bots. You might be a content marketer.

Still if you have created a name for yourself in the SEO industry you might think twice before changing your profession to a full fledged time content marketer. Why? Just look up in Google who you are competing with. There is not even one search related publication that ranks there despite them writing about the topic as well. You have to compete with Wikipedia, Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger, Mashable for attention.

 

So in case you do

  • keyword research
  • onsite optimization
  • content creation
  • link building or earning links
  • social media optimization
  • analytics

keep calm and go on. You are an SEO. You blog most of the time? Then you are still a blogger, a business blogger probably unless you are just a hobbyist writing privately. There is no need to follow the latest hype. Adding more media types to your content production is a good idea though.

 

On the other hand: in case you are a “copywriter” you better follow the lead of Copyblogger and rebrand yourself as a content marketer or better strategist. Copywriting was always a bit narrow but on the Web it just doesn’t suffice anymore. I would choose content strategy myself but most people seem to prefer marketing though.