I recently found myself commenting on a piece published on eConsultancy and ended up ‘going on a bit’ in typical fashion. Still banging that same old drum! No matter how much certain aspects of this industry drive me crazy at times, I can’t help feeling the passion rise and the ideas start to tumble out once I get on a bit of a roll. Maybe I’m just frustrated. I think I’ve come to realise over the last couple of years that I really wanted to be Sir John Hegarty all along.

Anyway. Here’s the link to the eConsultancy piece, which is concerned with the future role of SEO and its relationship to content marketing – something upon which I myself have strong opinions.  

And for those too lazy or disinterested to click the link, below is my comment. Saves me writing a blog this week! Tim Ferris would be extremely proud of my time management skills.


An interesting read.

It can’t be denied that a lot of what is being passed off as ‘content marketing’ at this moment is complete junk. What would be referred to as ‘spam’ in other channels. And of course there is sometimes the commercial imperative to try to cut corners and maybe find a way to ‘cheat’ your way to success.

As per my latest blog piece, I think what we have here is an industry in complete turmoil, in which almost no one, be that clients, agencies, consultants, SEO people, PR people or whoever, completely ‘own’ or necessarily even understand the landscape.

We have ‘digital’ agencies now finding that ‘digital’ just isn’t all that special anymore – its just how things are done – and maybe they just need to be ‘a marketing agency’. We have PR people, often with zero digital credentials but with a natural grasp of campaign mechanics and engagement, plus the media relations to make things happen.

We also have ‘traditional’ agencies finally realising that they need to take all of this digital stuff seriously and start to think about putting some kind of properly effective offer together – often with no clue as to how to achieve this. But maybe with great in house creative and real commercial marketing savvy that most of the digital boys still can’t quite lay claim to.

As the author says, there is a pretty undignified scramble going on out there and its not just SEO people, looking to repurpose their redundant link building teams.

In the middle of all of this we have the poor client, clinging to last year’s marketing plan, perhaps wondering if maybe they should invest a couple of hundred quid in one of these new fangled infographics that everyone says will drive hordes of hungry visitors to their doors. Yes I am being facetious (as usual) but the point stands. Confusion reigns supreme. And confused people – clients – tend to freeze up and stick to what they know.

Its a very interesting space out there right now and one from which I believe entirely new agency models will evolve. The old structures and combinations of skills just don’t cut it anymore. The whole superstructure of the marketing services sector needs to be flattened and fundamentally reconfigured before we see things starting to settle down. Otherwise there will remain this unproductive infighting between what are essentially entirely compatible services.

How can you do PR today, without social media?

How can you do SEO without content marketing?

How can you build a brand without engaging consumers across multiple channels, with consistent, joined-up experiences?

The answer, of course, used to be to keep spending more on above the line advertising. Just keep blasting away.

But most people are finding out that doesn’t work any more.

Interesting times ahead!