Content Marketing Takes a Turn for the Worse

When content marketing was first hailed as an initiative for brands to reach customers, marketers and consumers alike couldn’t get enough of it.

But in the past couple of years, content marketing has turned down a dark path.

We’re now producing gobs of articles and podcasts and social posts that mostly repeat each other.

They annoy rather than inform.

Many of my marketing friends and colleagues have swallowed the koolaid that the more words they produce, the better their marketing will work.

Our gurus – and there are plenty of them – urge us that “content is king” and “write attention-grabbing headlines” and other nonsense mantras that don’t hold water.

More, more, more! scream the so-called experts.

But what ever happened to quality over quantity?

My past six years as a freelance and professional content producer – everything from newspaper articles to product descriptions to blog posts to email marketing and more – have ingrained in me the intrinsic value of thought-provoking, well-researched content.

At one point, I was required to post daily blog updates! Of more than 600 words! With quality, well-researched information!

That kind of content production is foolish, and doesn’t help anyone.

In a world where attention spans are zero and inboxes are crowded, no one has time to ingest content coming at them so quickly.

And when you aren’t zealous about bringing something new and eye-opening to the table, you lose your readers’ trust.

You haven’t helped anyone, not even yourself.

The sales teams I’ve had the pleasure of working with read and follow the direction of a book called Integrity Selling, the primary tenet of which is to be up front with the person you’re selling to at all times. If the product isn’t a good fit for their timing or budget, you tell them.

I vote as marketers we bring the same kind of integrity back to our content. Take a deep breath and walk with me through what that might look like.

Imagine producing one piece of content a month you’ve had weeks to research and prepare. You’ve interviewed three different people for their perspectives. A designer has mocked up images that complement your thesis perfectly, translating those images to stunning social posts.

When you hit publish on that content, you take the time to ask influencers to share it with their networks and you dedicate a week of time to promoting it in your email marketing, on your website, and on your other channels.

This is the basic process I follow as marketing manager at Orderly. My measurement of success is that I never publish anything I am not 100 percent proud of or that I know without a doubt will help my audience in the independent restaurant industry.

When I take the time to make sure others in the industry know about the helpful info I’ve put out there, it’s invigorating when they get excited about it, too.

Sure beats the drill of over-publishing under-appreciated content.

This is what I tell the students at General Assembly who sit through my content marketing classes because this is the perspective I want the new generation – young or old – to have about producing content.

As I’ve urged and encouraged them, so I do the same to you: Stop shooting yourself in the foot with over producing shoddy content.

Instead, concentrate on what matters: research, SEO, depth, images, share-a-bility, influencers, and conversations.

Remember, people don’t buy from content or websites or blogs. People buy from people.

Bring the personality, sincerity, and empathy of a person back to your content marketing.

What do you think about that?

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