I’ve been wanting to say that for 15 years. As a stalwart for anything organic (yip, food too), the last couple of months have really amplified a business’ need to deliver on their organic marketing strategies. From search engine optimisation to organic social media content, the tide must turn to natural search.
There are 100’s of reasons why I am such a huge advocate for organic content marketing and organic marketing channels. I’m going to attempt to give you some of the biggest. This is a summarized view of the 360-degree turn marketing will need to make in the coming years.
Search engines shifted how people were being marketed to. Google leveraged off this and revolutionised the way people could find information on the internet. One of the ways they did this was by moving from old school sitemap and directory style search engines to, well, Google today.
Google is a functional search site that really can deliver contextual and relevant results. This was an incredible leap in terms of marketing to people. Organic search rankings brought high-quality content that answered internet users' queries without paid media to the world.
One of the biggest leaps was the shift from “push marketing” to "pull marketing. In other words, “I’ll show you what I’m marketing wherever and whenever I can in the hope that you will take notice and eventually buy my product." Or, instead, pull marketing, where people were delivered marketing ads only when they searched for them. Revolutionary!
This amplified the need for “Right message, right place, right time”.
Facebook, on the other hand, had figured out how to leverage off connections and recommendations. They brought people together to create and share organic content. The difference? Massive! It was all about creating a platform that allowed people to tell their stories in real-time and for others to share in those experiences.
Both models were FREEMIUM models. Both models were revolutionary. Both models were built on organic content.
The problem with paid media is it literally turned companies into "push" media channels. Companies like Google, who own YouTube and lord knows how many other companies. Companies like Facebook, who own WhatsApp, Instagram, and 30 other companies. And every other website in the world that uses their marketing platforms to place ads have inadvertently been converted to push channels.
Only Google Search Ads stand apart as truly organic, but the vast majority of social and digital channels now push ads.
Those Ads are noise. Those ads drive people mad. Those ads are the ones that you start turning a blind eye to. The ones Google and Facebook are always trying to convince people are not ads at all.
Here comes the big deal. The only way to enhance paid media results and improve on it was to collect data for all ads used, placed, and clicked on by people. Companies do this so they can learn about user behaviours and start to deliver personalised ad experiences to consumers.
It is incredible how big data has managed to do this. The challenge these guys have is that there is a fine line between collecting data and breaching data privacy. There is also a fine line between collecting the data and what you use that data for.
Lastly, the average user has become more concerned with what these companies intend to use this data for, how this data is shared with other companies, and what they might use it for. It’s not just Google and Facebook that do this, which is why personal data privacy has become such a big issue in online marketing in recent times.
Data privacy is becoming a massive problem, and the EU’S war on transatlantic data sharing is only just beginning. I highly doubt it with the EU legislation on third-party data. One country starts the trend, and the rest will follow. It’s also a nice way for governments to make more money from tech giants.
Let me explain why these 4 organic content marketing questions are so pertinent to the future of business and digital marketing.
BUYING MY FIRST HOME: I’ve decided to test my first paid media channel. I don’t have the money to invest in multiple channels and I’ve been told organic search and content marketing can take up to 6 months to see returns. Too much initial outlay, and I don’t have the time or the money. I’m going to test Google Paid Ads.
SETUP COSTS: In the immediate short-term, it’s awesome! For a lump sum fee upfront, you’re able to get a new account setup, campaigns setup, ads created, and you're driving business from day one. It’s a little pricey and you’re not happy about paying the setup costs, but you know it’s needed.
MONTHLY MORTAGE REPAYMENTS: After a couple of months of doing this, you are not even aware of the costs associated anymore because leads are flying in. In fact, that money is ignored and is debited every month
ESATE AGENTS: Brand awareness is up, value of my business is up, there is no competition, and at my current rate of growth I envision only greater success. Why would I invest in any other forms of marketing?
BUYING A SECOND HOME: I decide after a good couple of months of returns that I’m going to put more money into Google Ads. Increase the channels from just search, to display and remarketing. Start testing the waters out to get more leads. Might even really go out there and splurge on other channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. I am hungry for leads.
INTEREST RATE HIKES: Throughout the year, competition heats up. Christmas time, Black Friday, Mother’s Day, and Easter all seem to come with increased costs. I am starting to find certain times of the day and days of the week are a lot more expensive than I’m used to.
I’m also noticing my competition isn’t happy with my results. Other people appear to be targeting the same audiences I am. This is starting to drive my costs up, along with my cost per click, cost per lead, and cost per sale. I am going to have to either increase my budgets or start managing my spend a little more carefully.
DEFAULTING: I have run into a bit of a pickle. I’ve diversified my channels, spending large sums of money on driving leads. But my sales cycling is slow, and now I’ve got these massive marketing costs. The only way to survive in search engine land is by slowing down my spend and reducing my costs. Maybe I even start shopping around for an agency that can improve my results for less.
This metaphor explains why owning your own content is like owning a house that’s either paid off or bought cash. It took longer to get there than a mortgage would have. But once it’s paid off, it only needs a little maintenance and attention each month to ensure it doesn’t fall apart and to ensure that you get sustained growth and value out of it when you decide to sell it.
Paid media, however, is like the banks owning your property. Stop paying, and they’ll take it away.
If you aren’t already, it’s time to focus on a content marketing strategy built around organic growth. It’s time to own your content and enable the platforms you own to deliver that content to your clients. If you’re going to use social media, focus on driving engagements and conversations through great content.
Build up an audience that loves you for what you produce and what you say rather than one that clicked on an ad because they had nothing else to do.
Focus on a proper organic search strategy & SEO strategy that allows you to drive your website rankings up over time for organic search listings. The more organic traffic you get, the cheaper your ROI (return on investment). Once the hard work is done, it’s about finding new angles, getting creative, and sustaining that competitive advantage you have over everyone else. Rely less on paid.
Absolutely not. Paid media, all forms of paid media, have their place and time in the digital ecosystem and we have incredible success out of using paid media to drive business results. Both Facebook and Google's algorithms are designed to reward companies using paid media, since they're making money. But paid adverts cannot replace the value of owning your own quality content.