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Content marketing: Reputation trumps begging

January 2, 2012

Magic City Post

I have railed against the excess begging in social media before: It does much more harm than good to brands and to nonprofit organizations.

I simply shall not ever promote causes via “slacktivism.”

But fret not, for a better option is out there.

Most awards and recommendations I’ve ever received are cataloged on my LinkedIn profile. I didn’t request a single one. The recommendations on my work have flowed in over the years for two reason: I know good people, and they know my good work.

Perhaps the best example of rewarding such excellence came last week. Friday, the Birmingham News announced the results of the Birmingham’s Best 2011 readers’ poll. Back in 2009, my site Wade on Birmingham was a runner-up for Best Website.

I always thought the winning site, AL.com, should recuse itself from the process since it is both host of the online survey and sister company to the promoter of the poll. Plus, I thought that no way in hell could any site trump Alabama’s No. 1 online destination.

Was I wrong.

Because my site, Magic City Post, launched in October 2010, won Best Website!

I was shocked. We never mentioned the poll to our readers, or linked to the ballot. We never begged or cajoled or whimpered for votes.

What we did was continue to promote positive things in Birmingham, add posts daily from our team of terrific writers, and interact with people.

It is an unintended but wonderful result of advanced content marketing and development. And it took only 439 days and 668 posts.

But really, we owe everything to our readers who voted for us, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. How else to explain this underdog victory for a site that has a tiny, tiny fraction of AL.com’s traffic and audience.

Something to consider the next time you’re asked to click click click for the cause.

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