The Trouble with Tribble-ish Content Marketing

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Category: Content marketing, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Writing 3 comments

Star Trek Kirk TribblesBack in 2001, I connected with a fellow from InternetViZ and interviewed him about email marketing. A few months later, a client closed his business. It was one of the primary sources of my writing income. That taught me the importance of having a variety of clients instead of one or two that make up the bulk of your income.

Discovering content marketing

I came to a crossroads in my writing career where I had to decide whether to get more business or let it wither away and be a corporate woman for life. Not wanting to give up, I started writing an email asking people if they needed writing support to help their business.

While writing this (I still remember it as if it happened yesterday. And goodness knows I’ve written many emails.), my stomach knotted and I debated whether to do this. Finally, after re-reading the message many times, I hit “Send.” (Good thing Gmail and its “undo” feature didn’t exist or it may not have made it.)


The fellow responded and connected me with his business partner, Hank Stroll of InternetViZ. I’ve worked with Hank ever since. (He’s in Minn. and me in Texas. We met in person in 2007 and it was like old times. Still is.)

Little did I know he would launch my career in content marketing long before this fancy name came about. He figured it out — before most people did — that companies could better connect with clients and prospects through email newsletters and valuable content instead of marketing their stuff.

The content marketing secret’s out

Now every marketer is in on the secret and trying to churn content. (A lot of content is crap.) Multiplying like the “Star Trek” Tribbles. Even as a writer for more than 10 years, I get stumped for fresh ideas. How many articles have you seen that give you ideas for content? Zillions.

I blog less often than I should. However, I’d rather not blog than recycle something that others have said many times, many ways. Like “Green Eggs and Ham” — these articles have been delivered on a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train. OK, more like in a blog, on a SlideShare, in a video, in a tweet.

Finding a fresh take on popular content topics

So how do you provide a fresh take on a popular topic you need to cover? Yes, there’s a catch. It means reaching a smaller audience.

The secret: Write about the topic with a specific focus.

Let’s say you need to write about content marketing. Here’s how you’d get specific:

  • 7 Ways B2B professional services companies can use content marketing.
  • How content marketing boosts your luxury car dealership.
  • Content marketing lessons from a information technology research firm.
  • Is content marketing worth it for the oil and gas industry? Yes!
  • Team up marketing automation software with content marketing.
  • 5 ways to promote your tech support services with content marketing without sounding like an ad.

You get the idea. True, not many people will seek articles on oil and gas and content marketing. The magic comes in feeding search engines by having the keywords in the headline and link, such as (This is a fake link. Any resemblance to real links, living or rotted, is purely coincidental.)

It may not mean much traffic for the article. (This is where social media rocks. Link to the article from social media and email newsletters.)

This link  boosts keyword power for “b2b professional services” especially if the company’s other content uses those keywords in other blog posts and page headlines. While few may search for “b2b professional services content marketing,” “b2b professional services” in the headline and link pump the site’s keyword muscle.

This narrow focus content approach …

  1. Lets you produce fresh content for your website. (Search engines <3 that.)
  2. Strengthens keyword power for your site.
  3. Allows you to give away your expertise for free — which builds credibility and trust.

“But, Meryl. Doesn’t adding keywords like this come across as phony and smart search engines will catch on to such tricks?”

As a writer, I’m more sensitive to keyword fakery in web content. You probably have lots of stories you can tell about your business. Turn your story into an example and those keywords will fit naturally. Don’t force it. Just write conversationally. Edit and tweak. Repeat. (Not too many times, though!)

Watch self-mentions

One more suggestion: Skip mentioning your company, product or service in these articles.

Competitors and fans of competitors won’t link to your article. In searching for articles on niche topics for clients, most of the good ones mention the company, product or service. While a competitor or its fans may not want to link at all, they may be more willing to share because it’s important to them to be a trusted resource. (Great article on this: Why You Should Link to Your Competitors.) When an article promotes something, then that’s a little much.

How do you find content ideas that have been rehashed many times?

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Links: Father’s Day 2010 Edition

Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 11:25 AM | Category: Links, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Tech, Writing 2 comments
Dad with Parents

Meryl's Dad with his parents

My dad wasn’t an outdoorsy beyond playing sports. Yet, he once took me fishing at a nearby lake. I don’t recall the lake or the actual time spent fishing. The picture that comes to mind is us leaving our home and getting in the car. We also had a great conversation because he taught me a new vocabulary word. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the word — just the experience of being with him and learning something.

I asked my mom about it. She said he took me to Lake Weatherford to swim and maybe Benbrook Lake to fish. (Both in Fort Worth, TX, area.) I learned something new about my dad. He liked fishing and used to go deep-sea fishing with his Uncle Abe and David in Atlantic City (Dad was from Brooklyn).

Brain food…

And for fun because we’re allowed…

Share a memory of your father or a male role model.

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Links: Happy 11th Birthday 2010 Edition

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 9:59 AM | Category: Business, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Tech, Writing 3 comments

Sunday is my middle child’s 11th birthday. The biggest of my three babies, he weighed 9lb, 1oz and measured 21 inches long when he made his arrival one Sunday morning. This big guy (he’s the older of two boys) loves sports cars with his favorites being the Lamborghini, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Aston Martin and Saleen.

Vote for your favorite books on writing.

Nominate a favorite social media book.

Brain food…

And for fun because we’re allowed…

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
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Links: Independence Day 2009 Edition

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 8:18 AM | Category: Blogging, Books, Business, Leftovers, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

Happy 4th to Americans and Happy belated Canada Day.

Email going around with this. “At 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4 a.m.,on the 8th of July, this year, the time and date will be:

04:05:06am on 07-08-09

“This will not happen again until the year 3009.” You can say the same for the ones coming in the next three years:

05:06:07am on 08-09-10 (2010)
06:07:08am on 09-10-11 (2011)
07:08:09am on 10-11-12 (2012)

It’d be cool to have one of these birthdays.

And for fun because we’re allowed…

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Links: 26 June 2009

Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 8:49 AM | Category: Blogging, Books, Business, Links, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing No comments


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Taking the Socks off

Friday, April 16th, 2004 at 7:55 AM | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

WWDN was fearless in writing Dancing Barefoot, so I returned the favor in the book review.

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