Content Marketing That Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy

Social Media Week Chicago Scott SmithNick Papagiannis and I had the opportunity to kick off Social Media Week Chicago with a presentation titled “Content Marketing That Wins: Making Brands, Readers, AND Google Happy” to a packed house at Morningstar in Chicago. If you missed it, we’ve created a Storify for the event hashtag and embedded the livestream and presentation below. Thank you to everyone who made it out and/or participated virtually – I’m really looking forward to continuing this conversation because content marketing has a lot of potential…if we don’t screw it up first.

Seemingly everywhere you look, there’s content marketing tips, tricks, and hacks. During Social Media Week Chicago alone, there are at least 16 sessions on the topic. But remember when content marketing consisted of publishing a blog post a week? Now, with consumers constantly bombarded with news and content via an ever-expanding array of media and social platforms, brands have been pressed into a “content arms race” that has them posting to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. every single day. They’re even using automated content creation and curation platforms to feed the beast and stay at the top of search rankings. But how much of this activity actually serves a brand’s business goals? Or truly engages consumers?

Just like the hammer in search of a nail, marketers are spending more and more of their time and energy reducing every conversation, article, and photo to a piece of data, all in an effort to maximize their ROI and deliver the most eyeballs at the lowest price. Instead of a world where brands are creating content that solves problems, adds value, or creates deeper relationships with customers, we are perilously close to a world where more simply equals better.

Here’s the thing though – we don’t have to do things this way. We have the data and the tools to scale actual conversations and relationships. We have the tools to talk with people directly now. We have the ability to precisely target only those customers who will care about the content. Content marketing gives us the opportunity to rethink marketing – let’s stop trying to game the system and optimize every piece of content and instead think about how to best optimize our relationships with our customers.

The big takeaway from our presentation is that content should be beneficial to your customer, reflective of your brand, and optimized for Google, in that order.

If you don’t want to watch the whole recording, you can check out the slides here.

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About sradick

I'm an SVP, Senior Director at BCW in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (

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6 Responses to “Content Marketing That Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy”

  1. SEO Socratic Says:

    most trendy on social media marketing was using hashtags.

  2. Zach @ ReferralCandy Says:

    Steve – (I posted this on SMT, but wanted to reach out to you directly too). Thanks for the talk, slides and video. Unfortunately I was not able to attend Social Media Week, but viewing it online is a great alternative.

    Content marketing seems like it’s becoming a ‘dirty’ word (gasp!) because of the mess of shallow articles out there. To find quality pieces that stand out is hard as you have to sift through the garbage.

    But with talks like yours, it looks like the industry is slowly coming to the realisation that spamming shallow pieces of content may not be as useful as it once was. I’m especially heartened by industry players such as Moz leading the charge to focus on ‘big content’. Google and other search engines seem to have adapted to this as well (maybe Google’s recent move to not releasing search data is in response to this.)

    In fact, dare we go a step further than what you proposed and state – Content should be beneficial to your customer, reflective of your brand. Once you achieve that, search engine optimisation should be taken care of.

    Food for thought.

    • Steve Radick Says:

      Thanks for the comment Zach – glad that you took advantage of the video option. Saves a lot in travel costs too! I like your mod of the phrase, although I do think it’s idealistic. Yes, ideally, that would be the case, but unfortunately, I think it’s a losing battle as there will always people trying to game the system. Anytime you rely on machines and algorithms, that’s always going to be a danger.


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