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Exactly. Great content gets you like 95% of the way. The advanced, fiddly tactics are for the other 5%.

Great content gets you like 95% of the way

File this away next to "A good product is 95% of marketing" and other patently untrue things engineers like to believe.

Quality content and linkable content, for example, are not coextensive sets. You could write the world's best guide ever to cross-stitching school uniforms (did I just make that up?) and you'd get less links than DHH gets for not cursing during a Rails keynote. If you're doing SEO and you haven't figured out that linking behavior is very different in different audiences, I'm as worried for your future as I would be for a salesman who was doing high-touch enterprise software sales for rooms full of third graders.

There are also easy ways to shoot your great content foot off, and I really wish I could pull in examples from clients here. Hypothetical example: suppose a YC-style company is founded by a noted industry expert who has a great personal brand. They produce a ten-page guide to a particular new technology their startup uses. The guide is, far and away, the best quickstart guide on the Internet with regards to that technology.

Q: Their startup benefits from this a) a lot, b) a little, c) virtually not at all?

A: I don't know. Where did you post it?

Q2: Come again?

A: Like, physically, on which page does that best-in-class guide exist?

Q3: Oh, our Posterous / Github account / etc.

A: facepalm

Maybe, but your product markets itself when its sold.

If it markets itself as bug-ridden excrement piled on refuse- Well then! you're hosed next time your customer goes looking for a solution.

So this is why A/Bingo is hosted on bingocardcreator.com?

Yes, this is exactly why A/Bingo is hosted on BCC. I love Github, don't get me wrong, but successfully marketing Github does not pay my rent.

So why do you blog on http://www.kalzumeus.com/ ? Those blog posts get lots of links, so why not blog on http://www.bingocardcreator.com/blog and get loads of links to that domain?

This would have been an excellent idea (along with blogging at my own site, rather than a subdomain of Wordpress (!)) back in 2006, but I didn't do it in 2006 because I had no clue that I would ever been anything even approaching as modestly successful as I am today. Doing it today doesn't make a whole lot of sense because my business is bigger than BCC and the prospects for best growth in the next couple of years are decidedly not dominating the elementary education bingo card market.

Pithy, but I'd be interested in your thoughts on whether a great product is necessary but not sufficient, or simply not necessary. By "great product" here I refer to one that solves a pain point--in other words, great in terms of the metric of customers willing to give you money rather than the metric of developers think it's cool.

More succinctly: can a poor product succeed with good marketing? For the long term?

Not an engineer. You can't promote something that sucks.

You can't promote something that sucks.

Perhaps, but I think 'patio11's point was that even if the product is great, it could be worthless without the right marketing/promotion/SEO/etc.

So you could be anywhere from 0% to 100% of the way there with just a great product.

I'm pretty sure homeopaths and Microsoft would both disagree with you.

I didn't understand a word you wrote.

clearly you've never actually ran an advanced SEO campaign. I can rank a shitty, spun article higher than most people's great articles with those "fiddly tactics" without ever touching the article itself.

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