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Growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s, my first computer was a Commodore Vic-20. The Vic was the less powerful version of its bigger brother, the Commodore 64. That thing could do just about anything it seemed. And then, a couple years later, the company came out with the Commodore 128! I remember discussing it in high school like kids discuss, I guess, the stars of Disney shows now? None of us could fathom it – a computer with 128 Kilobytes of memory?! And you could even expand it to 640K! Who would ever need that much memory?

Of course, the paragraph I just typed, both in my word processing software and in the website server, takes about 140K of memory. You’ve probably seen the vintage pictures of a dozen men and a forklift loading 5-Megabyte IBM drives the size of a freight elevator. Or the Univac computers that helped us get to the moon that literally took up rooms of space – and still could do less than the simplest iPhone.

Somebody Has to Be First

It’s always interesting to be on the front end of a new technology or business approach and then watch to see if and how long it takes for the rest of world to catch up. For every Facebook and Twitter, there’s a MySpace or Yahoo Groups that has to adapt or die. And you’re never guaranteed that newer and better will survive. Just look at the much higher quality Beta vs VHS recording and playback decks.

But sometimes you do get to be ahead of the game, succeed and wait for the rest of your industry or niche to catch up. And while I don’t often do posts that pat ourselves on the back, I get to do that today.

You see, more than 20 years ago, David G. Johnson started this company, as Epiphany Marketing, teaching people about content marketing and beating the ever-changing Google algorithm with strategy, not keywords. Maybe it was the pandemic and people looking for new answers to keep afloat. Maybe it was Google announcing the latest huge algorithm changes. Maybe it was the various new privacy legislations and the death of cookies. Or…

Maybe it was just time.

Whatever it was, some of the top Google searches for marketers and businesses last year were phrases involving “Content Marketing Strategy.” Almost 10,000 a month! With another 34-thousand searches for related phrases like “Content marketing examples,” “B2B content marketing,” and “content marketing plan.” Clearly, there is now a growing interest.

And while job postings and chatter on the Internet still include phrases like “SEO Performance” and “keyword management”, they’re being defined more clearly – and more often – with both content and strategy. In fact the top three job skills looked for are Social Media, SEO, and ability to take a strategic approach.

Digging Deeper

A recent study, commissioned by SEMRush, gives us more insight into what people want when they’re searching online. Clarity, relevance, and detail are all at the top of the list – and in one place.

While many of our clients focus on 300-900 word content blog posts, we know in many instances 1200-3000 word posts do better. But now we’re seeing that 7000+ word posts trump even the previous long length standards, with three times more views and 43% more shares. Clearly people are looking for one place to get all their answers.

Adding headline structures and lists can also increase visibility. And it helps you gain that coveted top spot on Google where they share your list, even if someone doesn’t click your link. You might think that’s a bad thing, but it adds credibility and usefulness, both with the reader and Google.

When you look at Twitter, strategy is, by a large margin, the most discussed marketing topic, especially when you add the additional parameter of content marketing. People want to know how to strategically market, how to measure, how it works best, and what their competitors are doing.

The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words is true too. Or in this case 240 characters or the 2000 on Insta. Images and video convey so much more information than a simple tweet or Facebook update. And that leaves more room for whatever #hashtags you’re using. Pinterest is also growing past wedding planning and arts and crafts. You can check out my deeper analysis of that platform, if you’d like.

Another top concern for approaching effective online marketing is analytics and measurements. We’ve done several posts about this in the past, but next week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to best leverage Google Analytics.

Past Performance; Future Results

I don’t often advocate looking backwards. The past is the past, and usually it should stay there. But there’s a Lewis B Smedes quote that seems appropriate here. “We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” 2020 was rough. 2021 isn’t getting any better – not quickly enough, anyway. But we can use the lessons we’ve learned from the past and use them to chart a better future.

Take the time now to learn how content marketing works best. We have literally years of posts and millions of words that go in depth right here on the website you’re already on. We will be launching our free online training sessions, #StrategyStreams again shortly. And we’re here for you. We built our business teaching and assisting other small businesses succeed at strategic content marketing. We’d love to help you too. Please reach out.

Regardless of how the industry got to where we are, we’re here now. Make the most of it and together we’ll Grow the Dream.