Yes, I said it, “I hate content marketing.” Why do I hate it? Because so much content marketing being SPAM’ed, posted and delivered these days is just so awful. When no one responds to their awful content, they spray even more in the desperate, yet hopeless attempt that someone will respond. The only response they are inclined to receive from me is an opt-out request of future communications.
Why is so Much Content Marketing so Bad?
The awful content marketing that I’m referring to reads, “ME, ME, ME”, all about the company that is spraying the content in every direction. The values they portray in their content are the values which they perceive, not the values which I as a prospective customer would perceive. This content is often internally focused such that it appears to have been developed within their most inner sanctum of their organization. I shriek to imagine that the person or team developing this content has never actually spoken with a live, breathing customer. I’m sure they attended fine schools, are well educated and know their products and services quite well, but they sure don’t know their customers.
I was once in a situation where we developed a product based upon our internal requirements. This product was going to outperform every product on the market at the time. It was going to be highly reliable and have an extended lifetime with flexible configurations. The problem was that this isn’t what our target audience wanted. They were cost conscious and wanted something that was cheap in a fixed configuration that could be thrown away when it broke and a new cheap model could be mailed overnight to our customer’s customer.
This is the same problem that I see all too often with content marketing. Every landed on a company’s web site and you can’t figure out what they do or have to offer? Too many marketing organizations are building content from their internal perspectives. Unfortunately, they are the only one’s in the market that think their content is great.
Content is King
No doubt about it, content is king. Your content has to relevant to your target customer audience. The values represented in your content have to be the values of your customers, not your perceived values. To create truly valuable content, you must invoke emotion. In terms of content, emotion is equivalent to power + longevity, the more emotion you can invoke the more powerful your content will be over an extended period of time. The benefit of increased longevity is given to the fact that emotions create more memorable experiences.
When I refer to emotion, it’s not the “Wow” factor, but rather something significant that your customer relate well to. When you do this, you’ll find that your customers become your advocate in the market by distribution and sharing your content with others, not because you asked, but rather because they are inclined to do so. When this happens, you know you are producing great content.
What to Do
So what do you do if your content is awful, no one is viewing it and your opt-out are exceeding you positive response rate? Stop developing content from your internal point of view. Have your content developers go talk with your customers to understand what they value and what they don’t value in terms of your products and services. Gain your customers perception and understanding of you and evaluate how this compares to your own perceptions of your organization. When perceptions vary, understand that your customer is always right. Now, there are two reasons why they might be right, one is because they truly are “right” and the other is because you just haven’t communicated well yet to your customer audience to understand the truth.
Write and publish case studies. I often find that when I don’t understand what someone is offering me or what their value is, I ask for a case study or two. Fortunately, most case studies are with a customer and include the customer’s views of the solution offering and values. By definition, case studies should always be customer focused.
Hire your own bloggers from within the industries your organization serves. But don’t have these bloggers write post about your organization. Rather, have these industry experts with their experience blog on topics related to your customer audience. By providing advice and insights for your customer audience, your prospects will return again and again to your corporate blog for content they value.
The biggest human emotion is the human experience. To the extent that your company can impact the human experience in a positive way, then do so and don’t be shy about it. Share the positive human experiences that your products and services can create and your content will be king!
What do You Think
What do you think? Would you agree that a significant amount of content marketing just “plain bad” because it speaks doesn’t relate well to the target audience? Too often organizations are promoting themselves from their point of view and not the point of view of their customers?