Friday, December 11, 2009

Whither Web Content?

Since the story about AOL's pay-to-play model broke last week, several more stories in the blogosphere raise the question, "What's happening to web content?"

This post on the SEOmoz blog, "Great Content Equals Great Rankings, Right? Wrong." is followed by a long string of comments where quite a few SEO pros argue that content is not king--links are king; quality content doesn't drive traffic.

HubSpot's blog post, "What Google's Launch of Real-Time Streaming Search Means For Marketers" paints a picture of a world where marketers generate content in real time to satisfy real-time demand. The blogger advises:

Keep working to transform your company website from stagnant pages into a mini-publishing house that produces timely, interesting content that your prospective customers are searching for right now, at this very moment, somewhere out there.
She doesn't advise on how to manage the costs of running such a mini-publishing house. My hunch is that quality may suffer in the race to publish the next tweetable article.

As a purveyor of quality content, I find this trend difficult to ignore but difficult to accept. Underneath the retweets of retweets and rehashes of aggregated blog posts, driving the unwieldy engine of social media, there must be content that people want to read.

(I'm reminded of the old story with the punchline: there must be a pony in here somewhere.)

Without quality content somewhere in the fray, the unwieldy engine will stop turning. (In fact, bloggers are above average in education and wealth; one might assume that many of them have something to say that's worthwhile--not simply laden with search keyphrases.)

Look at TV--the supply of programming includes a lot of crap, but also some ponies. In fact, there's a case to be made that at the high end, the bar is pushing higher. Yes, we have Bromance. But we also have Mad Men.

So my prediction for 2010 is remains optimistic for content. While the average marketer will continue on a downward trajectory, the leaders in 2010 will differentiate themselves by caring less about open rates and page ranks, and more about changing the game. They will be the ones who use content to carry big ideas and to create clever, memorable and useful content that gets read, remembered, shared, and appreciated.

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Comments:
More on the same topic, compliments of Copyblogger:

<a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/fast-food-content/" target="_blank>Should we be worried about fast food content? <br>
http://www.copyblogger.com/fast-food-content/</a>

Bottom line: Keep creating content that has value to readers, and don't be scared by the hype.
 
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