Content marketing started as part of an SEO strategy. There were so many websites where there was simply not enough content. There was nothing for the search engines to actually search on, nothing to read. Beautiful designs, great animations, wonderful images, but not a lot of substance.
So we went around telling clients to put some content on the site.
Video slowed the consumers down, and made them stay on the sites for longer, so we got clients creating video’s.
White papers provided quality information to our customers – it made them regard us as experts and so buy our products.
So we created decent content to be read by consumers on our web sites, to be engaged with, to give them information and drive us up the search engines.
Now that seems to have changed.
Now, it seems to have developed a life of its own, content seems to have become a goal in itself. People create content by the bucket load, they write blogs, white papers and e’books.
And you have to start to ask why?
And, why is so much of it CRAP.
Well, I think that it’s because, frankly, the people doing it are not very good at it, and also, most don’t really know why they are, or how they should go about it. In the rush to put out “awesome content” they have not answered the fundamental, first question you should always ask before you do any marketing – “What’s the point?”
Many so called “e’books” are pulled together from other content in a few weeks – sorry but that is not an e’book!
Many podcasts sound terrible, and are full of people talking amongst themselves about how “cool” they are.
Most of it has no real point at all!
If you can’t answer “What’s the point” with any clear, measurable business answer, then perhaps you need to reconsider doing it.
You need to know why are you doing it? Who is it for? What is its purpose? And so fundamentally what is the point?
Most content is the purest form of marketing masturbation – it’s self-indulgent, of limited long term value, and ultimately you would struggle to explain to your boss why you are doing it in the office.
One way to check that you are on the right track is to put your content through the “is it crap?” test.
C is for correct – both factually and stylistically – spel anyting wrong and peple will turn off pretty damn quickly. So if you are not very good at spelling, then please use a spell checker, the same with grammar, get it right, or at least so right that people don’t notice. Then ask yourself, is it actually correct? Are any figures you are quoting correct? verifiable? meaningful?
R is for repetitive – How unique is what you are doing, is there at least one idea, or is it a rehashing of news stories, or you tube videos, or other peoples content? How many times have you regurgitated the same ideas in slightly different ways? What you are doing has to be fresh. Log on to any of the article sites and you will see thousands of articles which are all pretty much the same, that cannot be good marketing.
A is for amateur – is it badly written (we all do that – we are not after all novelists!), everything might be spelt right, but it could just be dull, clunky or long winded. If it’s a podcast, does it sound professional? Is the sound quality good? Remember nothing sounds more amateur than two blokes recorded on an iPhone trying to recreate the chatty zoo format. You are not Steve Wright or Chris Evans, nor are you as funny as Dara O’Briain, if you were the you wouldn’t be doing content marketing. What makes you and your mates laugh, probably sounds pretty naff on a podcast. So much that is out there is badly written, badly recorded rubbish, that it does not merit being uploaded and certainly does not deserve reaching the consumer
P is for pointless – when you have finished reading it, what do you feel? What have you learned? There used to be a saying in marketing that you should have a single, central idea. An advert needed to be built around a concept, a direct mail piece needed to be creative and considered. Now marketing people seem to throw out almost random content with no ideas, with no concept behind it. You should never do marketing that is pointless, and, just because you want to do it is not quite enough of a reason.
So, does your content pass the CRAP test? If not, perhaps you should rethink.
If you want to talk to us about how to do it in a meaningful, interesting way, that won’t take up all day every day, then call martin on 07785 406530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, do you disagree with everything I have just said?
If you want a free review of your content strategy, they just email me at email@example.com and we can go through what you are doing well and what can be improved.
mcm2 – content marketing experts based in Cheshire and the North West