Before we start, let’s establish one truth. There’s no definitive answer here. What you should do depends on your goals and the needs of your business. There are certainly benefits to focusing on link building, and focusing on a wider range of content marketing efforts. Rather than telling you what to do, this piece will provide you with the information you need to make an insightful decision for your company.
First: What’s The Difference Between The Two?
What is Link Building?
Link building focuses on boosting SEO and traffic by motivating others to link back to your content or providing those links yourself. These backlinks serve several purposes. This includes:
- Driving traffic directly to your content from those links.
- Increasing your search engine rankings.
- Building trust with your target audience.
- Helping you to develop thought leadership.
- Increasing trust.
When you earn a backlink from a trusted source, that’s an important endorsement. Someone who links to your content is telling their audience that you have something to offer that is so important they should leave the page they are currently on to check out your offering.
How do You Build Links?
You build links by forging relationships with bloggers and influencers so that they link to your content in theirs. You can also use guest blogging, write articles for relevant publications, post in forums, and link to your content is social media comments.
What Are The Downsides to Link Building?
First, with link building quality matters as much as quality. If your backlinks come from disreputable sites, that’s not going to help you reach your goals. Likewise, if you write guest posts or articles for sites that are saturated with low-quality, guest content you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
There are also some black hat techniques that have led to a resistance to link building. There’s a very thin line between a link that is welcome and one that is regarded as spam. It’s imperative that you are certain your link is relevant and welcome wherever you leave it.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is, well, everything else. Here the goal is to build an audience of interested followers, and to nudge them through the sales funnel by offering them a steady stream of relevant content. If your audience finds your content to be interesting, useful, or entertaining, that’s a good start. If they feel motivated to move forward towards conversion, that’s even better.
What is Involved With Content Marketing?
Content marketing includes writing and creating a variety of content to attract an audience. This includes:
- Blog Posts
- Slide Presentations
This content is then distributed or shared across various channels in order to attract and engage target audience members.
How do You Choose Between Content Marketing And Link Building?
Take the following into consideration before you decide where to focus your energies.
What is Your Current Team Best Able to Achieve?
If you are leaning towards content marketing, remember that it takes qualified people to create engaging content. If you don’t have the staff to support that effort and can’t justify hiring more, outsourcing to services like WowGrade.net could be an option for you. Otherwise, your ability to create content that drives your audience to conversion is limited to your creative talents and that of your team.
On the other hand, link building is more about distribution and broadcasting. That is something that can be helped with the use of tools. By adding link building tools to your arsenal, you can automate the process of getting your links distributed.
What Are Your Goals?
If you’re focused on more immediate results, you might consider concentrating on link building. You can begin your link building efforts with the content you have available now. It’s also easier to see the results of link building in the short term. For example, you can answer a question on Quora, and link to your website. Then, use analytics to track the amount of traffic that you get from that source.
Content marketing is more of a long-game strategy. It takes time to build up a robust collection of content, and an audience to consume that content. However, once you begin to get positive results, those tend to last quite awhile.
Final Thoughts: Both Strategies Don’t Have to Exist Separately
Each of these strategies leads to a different set of benefits. They also require different levels of effort and resources. That doesn’t mean you have to choose just one or the other. In fact, they often work best when used together. It’s much easier to earn links when you’ve created great content. Link building also helps you to build a following for the content you spend so much time creating.
Yes, at various points in time, you may need to focus on one at the expense of another. However, the best approach is usually a combination of the two.