Published On: Sat, Jul 30th, 2011

Econsultancy’s Content Marketing ‘Experiment’

I was interested to read this week about the innovative content marketing ‘experiment’ that Econsultancy is currently running.Econsultancy normally charge several hundred pounds for a white paper, but on this occasion is giving away the Internet Marketing Strategy Briefing for nothing.

Free content is nothing new, but instead of payment, Econsultancy is asking members who download the briefing to publish a story and link to the white paper, using the link anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy. Econsultancy will then turn the ‘experiment’ into a piece of content, as a case study for members

I see this as less of an experiment and more an excellent SEO campaign by Econsultancy. It’s a link-building exercise that will drive traffic, increase online conversations and most importantly, generate good quality inbound links; all of which will improve Econsultancy’s SERPS. With search engines ranking as the first place people go when searching for information, scoring highly on Google has never been more important.

In addition, Econsultancy deserve credit for leveraging its member’s blogs to improve search and the outreach by its CEO, Ashley Friedlein which incentivises and engages is worthy of praise too.

Here is Ashley Friedlein’s  full email:

We’ve just published a 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing which is free to download. It analyses five key current trends:customer centricity,channel diversification,data,social media and content strategy.It’s a bit unusual for us to make something like this free. It’s an experiment in ‘content marketing’ – a hot topic in digital marketing and something we examine in the briefing itself.

Of course we’re interested to see how many visits and downloads we get,the tweets and social mentions,but we’re most interested in getting links to this page (ideally with the link anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy) to see how this impacts our natural search rankings for the phrase ‘internet marketing strategy’.

Currently we’re nowhere near the first page of Google,or other search engines,for this competitive search phrase. But could we be with a bit of ‘content marketing’? And what value might that drive to us?
We plan to publish a mini case study with the results of this experiment which hopefully you’ll find interesting and which might help put more concrete value to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of ‘content marketing’.

You can help with our experiment…
Of course we encourage you to download and read the briefing itself (we think it’s very good) but,ideally,you would send a link to this page (not the file itself – little SEO value there…) to relevant contacts or,even better,you’d link to the page from your blog,via social media etc.

In an ideal world you’d even use the anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy to the link to the page.
I’m sending this email to around 30,000 of Econsultancy’s members globally so,if you do your collective bit,then we should stand a good chance of building some great,and relevant,links…?

Will we shoot up the rankings as a result? Or get punished for the suspiciously quick build-up of links with the same anchor text? Who knows… watch this space.

Obviously we’re not incentivising you to do this in any way because that would be “paid links”.

All the best and thanks for any help.


Ashley Friedlein

As someone who is curious about alternative systems of payment and has explored using search to pay for content, I’ll be fascinated to find out the value of this SEO campaign versus the potential revenue lost by making the white paper freely available.



About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

Displaying 3 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Thanks for the coverage and the nice link!

    So far the results are encouraging. We’ve jumped from ranking at around 90 on Google for ‘internet marketing strategy’ to 6th. Interestingly this happened within 3hrs of me sending out the email which shows me just how fast Google now is at updating its index (thanks to Caffeine no doubt).

    We’re waiting to see if we drop back down the rankings (as can happen with PR type stuff) or not but we’ve held steady for a while now.

    The report itself has had almost 8,000 downloads which is pretty good. We also want to look at the volume and value of traffic that the phrase ‘internet marketing strategy’ brings us over time.

    Finally, also interesting to note that I found this blog post by searching on ‘Econsultancy’ an d you came up 10th… 😉

  2. Ben Cotton says:

    No probs about the coverage, Ashley.

    As I mentioned, I thought it was a great SEO campaign, rather than an ‘experiment’ supported by some nice outreach.

    I’m pleased to hear it’s had such a fantastic and immediate impact on the ‘internet marketing strategy’ SERPs and will make a good case study.

    I’d be interested to know, say 12 months down the line if the SEO benefits have outweighed the potential revenue lost by making the white paper freely available and how you are measuring this campaign.

    It’s also nice to know that my own SEO campaign is working well and Social Web Thing ranks highly when searching for ‘Econsultancy’.

  3. […] someone who is curious about alternative systems of payment and has discussed using inbound links to pay for content, Crackbird should be applauded for such innovation. Diners can get free food, whilst Crackbird gain […]

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