The PPC industry has been around for nearly 14 years now. We can no longer call this an industry in its “infancy.” The search marketing industry as a whole has been around even longer. This industry as a whole has always been one that was open to sharing knowledge. Much of this started in forums, but extended into blogs and conference settings. As someone who has been an active part of the SEM community for a while (8 years is a while, yes?), I can honestly say that the seed of shared knowledge continues to take root and blossom.
As new folks take jobs in PPC their world view is immediately colored by the community. Bloggers, speakers and strong social media communities. From that base these future PPC pros are building their own interpretations of what shared knowledge looks like.
When I joined the PPC world there were very few PPC-only voices being heard. Folks like Brad Geddes, Andrew Goodman, David Szetela and Perry Marshall were a growing voice, for sure. But they were mostly drowned out by our much louder SEO comrades. That’s why Pat East, Joe Kerschbaum and I started PPC Hero. PPC content was needed and we agreed on one thing, “who better to create it than us!?!?” This passion and DIY spirit continues and has taken on a new life in varied formats and flavors.
Exponential Growth of PPC Blogs
These days it would seem that being a PPC agency is synonymous with maintaining a PPC blog. For many agencies (including my own), writing for your company’s blog is a job requirement. Not only does creating strong PPC blog content serve as a marketing vehicle, but it serves far more important needs as well. Writing content relating to your job forces you to stay on top of your skills and seriously think about what it is you are doing for your clients. And for as much as we learn from our peers, it is only fair that we reciprocate and return the favor with our own content.
Not only do agencies have blogs, but the top publications in the SEM industry (this fine establishment included) have ramped their PPC content over the years. This is how we preach PPC to the masses!
This growth in content is a double-edged sword. On one side there is an abundance of content to read, learn and stay abreast of PPC news. On the other side there is A LOT of noise now. Articles that repeat the same subject matter over and over. Articles that spread misinformation or out-dated information. For some folks and newbies, this can create problems in determining what content is quality and what is pure junk.
Out of the PPC blog rabble has risen some tremendous PPC resources. There are still more than plenty of “intro to…” style articles, but the quantity and quality of advanced topics continues to grow. Not everyone is giving away their “special sauce (and they shouldn’t be required to), but the quality content is appreciated and much needed.
Community & Crowd-sourced Support
Want a forum to learn from your peers in real time? There’s an app for that! Matt Umbro‘s #PPCCHAT group on Twitter has become THE go-to community for PPC professionals. The benefits of this powerful resource continue to manifest on a weekly basis.
In years past literal forums (Webmaster World, etc.) served as a resource for asking questions and getting help from the community at large. These were great, but the feedback loop was often delayed. The impact of social media on building and growing the PPC community has been huge. Ask a question on #PPCCHAT and chances are you will receive an answer within minutes. The community comprises individuals from around the world and in every stage of their PPC careers from newbies to the top-of-the-line experts. Powerful stuff.
PPC has had a place at the table in SEM conferences for years. However, the SEO and social media topics dominate the panel sessions and even attendees. The PPC industry isn’t ignored or mistreated, but it isn’t always given highest priority either.
As this industry has matured, the need for more prevalent PPC conference material has grown. Enter HeroConf. PPC (and it’s related fields of display and social advertising) have finally been given their own platform. The PPC community’s adoption of this conference has been incredible to witness.
What’s more, the leaders of the PPC panels at the big-name conferences (Jennifer Slegg, Brad Geddes, Matt van Wagner) are becoming more and more selective in the topics, presenters and final presentation content for these panels. PPC sessions may be the minority at SMX or ClickZ Live, but you can bet money that the quality of the content will be top notch.
MOAR CAWNTENT PLEEZ
Beyond conferences, blogs and the strong social community, PPC-specific content is manifesting elsewhere online. Webinars are just one example. Webinars are popping up on a weekly basis on an insanely wide variety of subjects. Even better, most of these are recorded for on-demand consumption.
If webinars aren’t your thing, the timely convergence of the growth of PPC conference activity and SlideShare’s rise to prominence has been a boon to PPC content. Missed the last HeroConf, SMX or ClickZ Live? Head on over to SlideShare and see if your favorite presenter’s slide deck is available to download or review!
The PPC/SEM industry has grown significantly since its inception. Through this growth we have now arrived at a period of time where the wealth of PPC knowledge and sharing is at an all time high. PPC pros are helping each other growth-hack their way to success like never before.
It is my sincere hope that this trend continues. My participation in the PPC community is reciprocated daily with feedback in the way of news, helpful suggestions and new ideas and skills. My PPC career, as that of many others, is intrinsically tied to the community. And friends – I wouldn’t have it any other way!
For the record – this article and many of the ideas shared here came from my wonderful associate Michelle Morehouse. Thanks Michelle!
Now go forth to participate and learn!
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