Puh-leeze! Don’t Talk To Me About “Content Marketing”!

By | February 9, 2012

This headline features pretty dramatic words, especially coming from a content marketer. But it’s true: I’m sick of content marketing. Thank heavens, finally, somebody has explained why this once useful approach to sharing with current and prospective customers has become so tiresome.

In mid January, Target Marketing featured a great article by Jeff Molander titled “Never, Ever Outsource Your Content Marketing Strategy.”

In short, Molander debunks the content marketing frenzy that has filled search engines, websites, and eBooks with repetitive, thoughtless, rehashed stuff. I love this post and here’s what I’ll add to it.

Effective content is less about “outsourcing” than about insisting upon content that’s created with an original, thoughtful, informed voice, outside or inside the enterprise. Tell your readers something they don’t know or haven’t quite thought about. Connect some dots. Go out on a limb. SAY SOMETHING. Content is worth squat unless it’s filtered through a thinking mind.

Take Seth Godin, for example. [Full disclosure: I actually don’t want to take Seth Godin because I don’t like the Seth Godin online persona. But he’s an “influencer” with eyeballs and ears, followed by most marketers.] He thinks about interesting stuff, outside the box. Granted, since selling yoyodyne for $30 million in 1998, Mr. Godin would appear to have the resources to think, which he does rather well, displaying something of a sixth sense for the “Zeitgeist.”

Anyway, as fate would have it, Seth Godin introduced me to The Technium blog titled “Better Than Free” written in 2008. The fundamental notion supposes that when copies are free, you need to sell things [content] which cannot be copied.”

Technium goes on to list “Eight Generatives Better Than Free” — all of which give teeth to my “not-new rant” about content marketing, to wit: If you’ve gotta clone it, you’ve blown it.


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7 thoughts on “Puh-leeze! Don’t Talk To Me About “Content Marketing”!

  1. Nancy Scott Post author

    Thanks so much for taking time to comment. Your tweets are a great example of keeping it original! I’m following!

  2. Patrick Whelan

    What a great article. My company is an outsource for content but we meet the criteria you list. I couldn’t agree with you more. The rehashing, retweeting, repurposing of content just for contents sake will in fact do more harm to a brand than good and in reality, people quickly learn to tune those messages out.

  3. Nancy Scott Post author

    Hi, Patrick. Nice to meet you after seeing your name in so many places. You’re great at networking, which is one of the keys to staying plugged in and “better than free.” Thank you for commenting!

  4. Jeff Molander

    To your last point, Nancy, isn’t that what’s been going on in the music industry? I share an office w/ a composer/musician. He writes for children-focused clients (theaters) and lately himself (just released his own album). I’ve been trying to explain to him that he MUST get into performing– because it cannot be copied (for one reason).

    “Content is worth squat unless it’s filtered through a thinking mind.”
    Although I agree w/ the sentiment we need to remember: Quantity does factor in. So long as Google continues to dominate the world as the “go to query machine” then quantity will matter–but to a degree. What I disagree with (and argue… have you been back to see comments at the article you linked to? it’s quite interesting) is this OVER-focus on quantity as the sure-fire means to win the “content marketing” game. The result: Failure for most people who produce content. My main message continues to be: “Content that engages… FOR WHAT?” If you don’t **do something** with the engagement what’s the point? Content must be designed to capture leads. “Quantity of content” MIGHT get you the attention you’re looking for but quality of content design kicks in (to get you the lead you’re looking for). Cheers!

  5. Nancy Scott Post author

    Good morning, Jeff: Agreed, “Content that engages FOR WHAT,” is the right question. Granted, quantity does make some difference in Google ranking, but *original* and current content is increasingly important, not just for our readers/customers, but for ranking. As TechCrunch put it, “This [Nov. 3] “freshness update,” is an extension of what Google begin last year with Caffeine, an under-the-hood improvement that, among other things, helped Google index content quicker, so results were more realtime. This year, Google also brought out its Panda update, which was meant to decrease the rankings of so-called “content farms” – SEO-optimized entities that critics said filled Google with low-quality results … Now, it’s clear that Google understands that the most relevant search result is more often the one that’s relevant now – the one that’s bringing you new information.” Also agreed: The comments in the Technium article are worth reading. In fact, comments can be just as important as the original post. Thank you!

  6. kit hamilton

    Great post – if we all aren’t thinking about what we’re posting, why should expect readers too? Content management has value, but only when there’s good, solid thinking behind it.
    Thanks for this!

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