An Internet Marketing Textbook Must Be Digital

Too Slow Joe!

Stukent is too fast for print.

Google & Bing change too fast. Internet marketing best practices change too fast.  I want to keep up. I want to help college professors and students keep up. The only way to provide an internet marketing textbook that is up to date, is to update it frequently in digital format.  Print versions of SEO / SEM textbooks are outdated within weeks of coming off the press so a digital format is the only way to go.

Here is a perfect example of why we have to make our online marketing textbook digital to keep with with the ever-changing world of SEO:

Just yesterday Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Web Spam Team, said that guest blogging is a practice that should be discontinued when being used as a tactic to build links to rank higher in Google. Our textbook is not complete yet (it will be in April), but if we had printed a textbook in December 2013 about guest blogging as a viable way to build lots of genuine links, our book would be outdated by January 20th, 2014, and professors and students that don’t follow SEO news, would be learning incorrect information from a book that I helped write and publish! That just can’t happen. My reputation is on the line.

For that reason, if I ever do print a version of our book(s) for a demanding customer, the book will have a MASSIVE disclaimer page talking about how it is more than likely out of date and no longer can I vouch for its accuracy.

Are you a digital book hater?

Digital Books Aren’t THAT Bad

I have a goal to read 12 books this year. One per month. Lofty I know. You know what they say, “shoot for the moon, you might land among the stars.”  I read tons of other blogs and news sites on the daily, so it really is a lot for me to find time for an additional 12 books.

Well, my plan is to “read” all of those books in either digital format on my phone, or on my Surface, or listen to them using my Audible app.  In 2013 I truly converted to digital reading. Before that I tried, but it never felt right. Now I am converted. I’m probably not going back to hard copies, except for a few books that I purchased and still haven’t found time to read. The fact is, so often when I find some free time to read, the book is on the shelf and I am nowhere near the shelf, but my phone is right in my pocket with other reading material readily available.

Every good marketer knows that their preferences do not mirror the preferences of the market. When I founded Stukent I planned to provide a print version of the book for that exact reason. I knew that while I preferred a digital book, some of the Stukent students and instructors would prefer a print version, and I planned to cater to those customers. Now I am not so sure.

Considering the Professor and the Students Needs

Professors and students want to know the latest and greatest about internet marketing, and we will do our best to always provide that to them, but I know that it will not be easy for them for a few reasons:

  1. Most professors teach more than one subject. Not only that, but they have to plan what they are going to teach months in advance, and that is hard to do if the content changes multiple times per month.
  2. Students and professors need to know that they are reading the same thing. It is hard to test students on reading material that changes! What if the professor reads the text before the semester, and then assigns the reading to the students, only to find that the text has changed in the mean time.
  3. It is hard to cite content that doesn’t stay the same.
Not everything about internet marketing changes every semester. In fact, a great deal of the basic principles of internet marketing are the same as they have been since 1999.  I only estimate the need to make 5-10 minor changes per semester to the content.  That is a lot for the professors and the students to keep up with. It is asking them to do something they have never done before, but I am confident that we can do it, and I am certain that it will make Stukent students more prepared to keep up with the fast paced industry and job force they will enter upon graduating college.

My Vision for Textbook Updates

When “changes” are made to the content of the textbook, they will occur as flagged content that shows on the sidebar of the text.  If the new content conflicts with the words in the textbook, that content will link to the new content that is flagged in the sidebar so the professor and students can read that content.
Any time new content is added or replaces old content entirely, professors and students will be notified where the changes have occurred so that they can review the changes and be given ample warning that the textbook has evolved, just like the SEO & PPC industry do.
What are your thoughts? Are we headed in the right direction? Any advice or ideas on how I can help academia catch up and keep up with the online marketing industry?

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