Tag Archives: Content marketing

2, Not 250

I was listening to one of the many podcasts to which I subscribe yesterday. The speaker was rambling on about the subject of content generation and he said something that made me rewind the podcast so I could be sure I heard him correctly. He was opining that the only reason that companies are spending money on content creation today is to generate data.

His statement made some sense. After all, brands today don’t think of themselves as sponsors of other people’s content. They’ve been sold on the idea that they need to have their own content creation hubs which can populate multiple channels such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. I encourage that in some ways with my clients since who knows the brand better than the brands themselves?  Who better to speak in the brand’s voice? Who ought to know the customer and the customer’s interests and to reflect those perspectives in their content? But in retrospect, I couldn’t disagree more and here is why.

I might be way naive about this, but I think audiences want to be educated and entertained. I don’t think they want to be tricked into being tracked and giving us data. I think when they are offered a list, that list ought not to be on 25 pages so as to squeeze out every last page view and ad exposure. I think they want to feel emotions – awe, wonder, joy, excitement, rage – and not just kill time. When I read articles about how I can create titles (People love lists! People love “epic”!) to lure people to my blog, I get sad.  I understand that many people are intellectually lazy.  I get that there is a reason for the use of TL;DR as a standard retort on the web but maybe that’s a commentary of what passes for most content these days rather than on the specific content.  People have become overwhelmed by crap and they’re weaning themselves off that crapacious diet by minimizing consumption.

I don’t think greatness is anything is measured by the volume of consumption or traffic numbers.  Thre are still fewer iPhones in the world than Android.  There are still fewer meals served at Per Se than at McDonald’s.  If we all do our best not to post 250 times a day but to post 2 great, enlightening things – however long that enlightenment takes – maybe we can stop the downward spiral of attention spans and intellectual curiosity.  If “stupid is as stupid does”, how about we upgrade what we do?


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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?

How’s That Going?

Sometimes when I meet people and they describe their work lives to me, I’ll listen as they tell me what they’re doing and then follow up with a simple question: “how’s that going for you?” You’ve probably done something similar, and I bet that you rarely get “I don’t know” for an answer. I certainly don’t, and it concerns me when I do since how can you not have some feeling about so important a topic that occupies much of your waking day? 

What made me think of that was a report put out by the folks at Rundown. It took a look at how companies feel about their content creation process and the subsequent content marketing. It’s instructive to any business regardless if you’re doing content marketing or not. You can look at a summary of the report here.

Almost 80% of the surveyed content marketers agree or strongly agree that their team “makes awesome content that our audience loves.” That’s great, except for that pesky follow-up question – “how is it going?” You see, 52% of these same people disagreed that ” My team has a clear understanding of what works and why.” 55% disagreed that they knew how much each type of content costs to produce, and an astonishing 82% disagreed that they have a good understanding of the ROI on the content creation and marketing investment.

I’m not going to pontificate about in which activities a business should or should not engage.  I will say, however, that no matter which ones they are, it’s imperative that there is a handle on costs as well as some measure of ROI.  I am cringing as I think about answering any of the people for whom I worked with “I don’t know” when asked about what something cost or how it was impacting our goals (revenue, engagement, whatever).  Resources are precious.  So are measurable, actionable data about the results of activities we undertake using those resources.  Saying you make “awesome content” (or anything else) doesn’t resonate with me unless part of “awesome” is moving the business forward.  You?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media, Huh?

Quite Content With Content

I think I may have misspoken.  Well, not misspoken, exactly, but perhaps I’ve conveyed the wrong idea about my feelings on content marketing.  The fact that you’re reading the screed today should tell you that I’m a fan of real content marketing: it’s native advertising disguised as “content” that pisses me off.  If I haven’t made the differences between the two clear, let’s use the next minute or so to rectify the issue. 

I’ve railed more than once about advertising masquerading as content.  Frankly, now that the FTC is watching this carefully, my displeasure is the least of anyone who is engaged in the activity’s worries.  It’s not hard to distinguish when you should or shouldn’t notify your readers if it’s “native” content: if some entity paid you to put the story up, or of they wrote it and bought the space where it’s running, it needs to be labelled as advertising.  Let’s leave it there for now.

True content marketing is what you’re reading.  I don’t think I’m letting you in on a secret when I tell you that part of the reason I write this blog is to show potential clients that I have a decent grasp of marketing, media, and digital.  Hopefully, as you read this every day (you DO read every day, don’t you?), you’re learning something or seeing something that makes you pause and think. I try to keep it informative and entertaining.  It’s one form of content marketing.

In addition to blogs, you might have given a company your email in return for a white paper on a topic of interest to you. Maybe you listen to a company’s podcast because it teaches you and informs.  Maybe you downloaded an e-book.  As the Content Marketing Institute defines it:

Content marketing is a strategic marketingapproach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

I am a huge fan of this sort of marketing.  It is something of value given away, generally for nothing more than an email address.  It works, too.  Research has shown content marketing to be 62% less expensive per lead than traditional outbound marketing. Unlike native, it’s transparent too. Don’t have the resources to generate this sort of material?  Call me – we’ll make it happen.  So what are you waiting for?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media