I was lucky to get into internet marketing early.
It was around 1999. Google was in early beta. And I was the director of marketing and strategic partnerships for a commerce company, now long out of business. There were LOTS of companies, money, and people coming and going back then. It was exciting, volatile and eerily similar to today’s online marketplace in some ways.
I managed to keep this booklet from my early internet years, published in the spring of 2000. It was actually a phonebook-style directory containing all the “best” websites in a variety of categories: books, clothing, cars, baby stuff, gifts, etc. You could get them branded (like we did) and hand them out as promotional materials.
This was a fun guide to the internet, before search engines really got traction — and before we knew what the heck was going on online. Today, it is mostly a memorial to a bunch of sites that just couldn’t sustain themselves, swallowed by bigger, smarter, better-funded companies.
The second part of my job description 16 years ago was Content Marketer. One of the mantras that I heard back then, and still hear today, is that “content is king.” (That’s right, we were saying it 16 years ago.) My goal was to find like-minded sites to share content with, since we were too small and cash-strapped to create our own.
I was looking for articles, product reviews, outdoor cooking recipes, trail reviews — anything that could supplement our outdoor equipment catalog. We knew that content made us look bigger, which contributed to traffic (everyone wanted traffic), which meant we were legit and would hopefully land our site some juicy sponsored banner ads from a network.
Sound familiar? Today we use terms like SEO, trust, engagement, revenue channels, content marketing. But it’s very similar to what we were trying to accomplish in the early web. What we really wanted back then is the same thing that we try to deliver for ourselves and our clients today: relevance and value.
Give users the information they want, information that solves their problems, and then you become relevant and valuable. They tell others about you and you become a trusted resource, and your reach expands. Continually updating your content and providing ongoing value is key.
This is as relevant today as it was when I was starting out: when you invest time and resources in creating and sharing quality content, buyers respond. A recent Hubspot report confirms this pretty clearly: the more you post, the greater your traffic and the greater the impact on your number of inbound leads. We knew it in 2000, and now we are seeing it firsthand with our content in 2016.
Can’t figure out how to create or track valuable content? We’re ready! Give us a shout.