In this edition of expertCoach, we talk to marketing and social media guru, Martin Butters ofMarkITWrite!
Introduce yourself, your company, and what you do!
Hi, my name is Martin Butters and I'm the Social Media & Marketing Director at markITwrite. I'm responsible for developing marketing strategies for our client base, as well as the day-to-day management of ongoing campaigns. I work closely with the Content Director and the rest of our social media team to ensure that our clients obtain the best results with their content marketing campaigns.
What made you want to focus primarily on content?
A great question that gets right to the crux of everything we do at markITwrite. Almost a decade ago, my wife, our late founder, suggested opening a content marketing agency.
At the time, she was frustrated that despite the area we lived in being home to a wealth of great writers - many coming from the local university which has a national reputation for its creative and professional writing degree courses - there were very few opportunities for those looking to choose writing as a career.
What's more, as a writer herself, she was also frustrated at the countless content agencies out there that seemed to be doing little else than offering "grey hat" strategies for business clients - strategies that were basically nothing more than exercises in keyword stuffing, paid backlinks, and other questionable practices that promised to "get your company on the first page of Google". She could see what was going on, how the SEO tide was turning in favor of high-quality content, and that companies needed a professional and authoritative voice as they took their businesses online.
In your experience of content marketing, what is one inescapable truth that you have learned?
Quite simply, there is no substitution for expertly written, engaging, thought-provoking content. Everyone and their neighbor thinks they can write a blog - but if your writing doesn't stand head and shoulders above the plethora of other content creators out there, you'll disappear into the abyss.
Great content can position your company as a thought leader in your industry, instill confidence in your brand, rapidly increase your online presence, and put your business on the map. More and more companies are realizing this, too, so competition is high.
What is one mistake that you see companies make when it comes to their content?
Not understanding the value of high-quality content.
While more and more companies are making all the right moves, there are still many that publish blogs that you make you cringe. 300-500-word pieces of poorly-written keyword-stuffed fluff. The misinformed believe that this kind of content will boost their company's domain authority and improve their website's discoverability - in reality, they're doing more harm than good to their brand.
How has the industry changed since you started?
The industry has had to change, and we have the likes of Google to thank for that. Google has made its feelings on grey hat practices clear and has taken action to crack down on websites that pay for backlinks, deploy cloaking and hidden text techniques, and publish thin content with little or no added value.
Companies now realize that to make an impact online, they have to compete with content. And this means it's vital to employ experts - otherwise you're either left trying to make a bodge-job of it yourself, or suffering at the hands of unscrupulous providers offering cheap, dubious services.
What was the last thing you searched for on Google?
"Game of Thrones cast responses to the finale."
No spoilers, I promise! I had read that the GoT cast was as disappointed with the ending as I was, but were contracted to adopt a positive attitude when quizzed on the subject. A cursory glance at Google suggested this may be true. I won't bore you with my entire feelings on the GoT finale, but I will say I felt it fell far short of the exceptionally high standards the show is known for. They should have employed better writers!!