I’ve written before about how SEO can be an all-consuming, burning desire that can take over a website and cloud all other marketing goals. People are so desperate to be found, they don’t stop to worry about what happens when someone does search for them. They  forget that not everyone who comes to their website is a stranger or a first-time visitor. And when that happens, they lose sight of what content marketing is really supposed to do.

Content marketing is not about gaming search engines. High search engine rank is a side benefit of great content marketing. But in and of itself, your blog and other online content are an incredibly important tools for selling your goods or services. Let me give you an example. We’ve been working with a company for about six months on their blog. We talk to them regularly, and based on our interviews, we put out blog posts offering up-to-date news, information and tips on their industry. Has it moved them up in the search rankings? Absolutely. They now rank on page one for many competitive terms. Their phone rings more. That’s all important. But earlier today they called and let us know that during a sales call, a major prospect raved about their blog. It made him feel so much more comfortable with them, he said. It really gave him confidence that the company could do what it said they could do.

That’s why content marketing is critical in all stages of your sales process, not just discovery. With enough time and energy, even a crappy blog can rank well on search engines. It happens every day. But only a truly great content marketing effort is going to make a customer like you more. Only consistently good information is going to put a client at ease and make them more open to your suggestions. That’s why you need to be blogging.

Stop getting stuck into a rut of thinking the only way to measure content marketing success is through SERPs. Instead, find success through how your work influences people around you. Don’t be afraid to send prospects, clients or even potential employees links to your blog. Show them who you are and what you believe in. Show them, rather than telling them, why you’re so darn awesome. That’s when you’ll see great things happen. Like more money in your bank account and more customers in your Rolodex.

Yeah, you’ll probably rank better on Google, too.