Crap Content Is Dead. Long Live Quality!

13
Jan 2015

crap content

First, the good news: 2015 is the year content marketing will claim its rightful place in the marketing mainstream. So if you’ve been reading this blog and following my advice, you’re on the leading edge of a huge wave. Don’t you look smart?!

Now, the bad news: By the end of the year (more likely much sooner) just about every business on the planet — from megacorporations down to your local dry cleaner — will have added content marketing to its strategy.

Now, the good news: Most of them will suck at it.

Why is that good news?

Countering the Deluge

To answer that question, let’s go back to the early days of what we now know as “content marketing.” (Yes, it’s true that the practice has been around forever, but let’s focus on this recent incarnation.) Brands started to realize that consumers were becoming immune to their traditional marketing wiles. So instead of waiting until after the sale to be helpful to their customers, they moved that usefulness up to the top of the funnel, in the form of value-driven content.

Yes, in those early days, “good enough” was indeed good enough. We all latched on to the quick-and-easy top 10 lists and other memes just to cross content off our to-do list and get back to our “serious” marketing.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re the only one — or one of a select few — doing it. But when everybody’s on the bandwagon, the game changes. It has to.

So how do you stand out in a world where every microbusiness has its own blog, email content program, and social media presence?

One word: Quality.

Why Quality?

Believe it or not, it was two years ago that Velocity Partners came out with their viral SlideShare titled “Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge.” where they predicted this exact scenario.

As Doug Kessler and his team so eloquently put it,

The winners will be those who build Great Content Brands. […] A Great Content Brand is a brand that’s famous for producing intelligent, useful and entertaining content that’s always worth consuming.

In other words, the winners in today’s overcrowded content market will be those whose hallmark is uncompromising quality.

Why quality? Because after interacting with your content, your audience has to feel served.

Served by something that was created just for them — with their specific values, concerns, and hopes for the future firmly in mind.

Served by something that was researched, designed, and developed with all the diligence of a master craftsman, not just “cranked out” to meet a deadline.

And served by something that they can’t get on any street corner (or the online equivalent).

That’s an experience that “just-get-something-out-there” content simply can’t deliver. You have to dig deep and go for quality.

Sounds Great … But How Do We Get There?

Building a great brand isn’t something that happens overnight with products and services, and it sure-as-shootin’ doesn’t happen overnight with content. But everybody has to begin somewhere, and here are a few good starting points:

1. Stay on the Leading Edge

In preparing to write this post, just for kicks, I did a Google search for “how to get more followers on Facebook.” Not those keywords — that exact phrase. Here’s what turned up:

Google Search on How to Get More Followers on Facebook

That’s an actual screenshot: My search for that exact phrase turned up more than 203,000 individual pieces of content.

How did it get to that point? Savvy little marketing gurus, SEO companies, social media consultants, and, yes, content marketing shops did their research and discovered that everybody and their dog wanted to get more Facebook followers. So they created content to meet that need.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that … unless you’d rather not be one out of 203,000. If that’s the case, you need to rise above what everyone’s talking about right now and focus on what they’ll be talking about tomorrow.

Take Action: Stay on the leading edge of your industry. Read. Attend conferences. Listen to podcasts. Subscribe to content creators who are focused on “what’s next.” Then commit yourself and your team to interpreting that leading-edge information for your target audience.

2. Research

It was way back in 1982 that John Naisbitt penned his now famous quote “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”

He was right then, and today he’s righter than he probably ever thought he’d be.

As content marketers, we can be that resource that gathers the latest and greatest information and distills it into true sources of knowledge.

Did a groundbreaking report just come out that deeply affects your target audience? Don’t just link to it on social media; analyze it, interpret it, and create an outstanding piece of content that helps your audience understand the issue, rather than just passing on information.

Take Action: Treat your next piece of content like a mini–term paper: Do your research, distill the facts, and draw an actionable conclusion that delivers true value to your target audience.

3. Ask the Right Questions. Then Listen. Then Respond.

As content marketers, we all know we need to keep a finger on the pulse of our target audience. And if we’re going to up our game, we need to take that practice to the next level.

We need to go beyond our audience’s basic values, challenges, and aspirations and really get down to what they need from us. That’s something that can’t be fully understood through a poll or a general request for feedback. It requires a conversation.

Take Action: Figure out how you can get a conversation going around how you and your team can better serve your target audience. That might look like a Google Hangout with 10 of your best customers … or it may come down to individual phone calls. Whatever method you choose, make sure to dig deep and find out what your audience needs from you. Then give it to them in a way that no one else can.

OK, your turn: How are you and your team “upping your game” in terms of content quality? Tell us about it in the Comments — we’d love to hear from you!

B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom LineCalling All B2B Content Marketers!

Join us for our next free VIP webinar, B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line, to learn

  • Why B2B and B2C content marketing aren’t as different as some “gurus” make them out to be
  • Key differences to remember in creating your B2B ideal client profiles
  • How to map out out the content assets to drive engagement at each stage of the B2B sales process

Register Now

2 Comments

  1. […] I pointed out in last week’s post, 2015 will be the year that content marketers will have to dig deep and go for […]

  2. […] I pointed out in last week’s post, 2015 will be the year that content marketers will have to dig deep and go for […]

Our Clients Are Saying

  • Added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks

    Rachel took the overwhelm and stress out of writing content for my marketing campaign! When I approached Rachel, I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to focus on writing copy for a lengthy marketing campaign that included sales pages, solo emails, newsletters and social media updates. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I hired Rachel because I couldn’t have done it without her support and expertise. I loved how she used my voice and words to craft content that helped me reach and attract my ideal client. As a result of working with Rachel, I added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks, hundreds of new social media followers and exceeded my sales and list building goals! You know your marketing copy is working when you hear someone say, “I see you everywhere”. Thank you Rachel for helping me not only get seen by my ideal clients but get paid!

  • One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

    My company had little or no time to spend on social media. Our needs were to ensure a steady stream of posts across three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by harvesting and re-purposing content from our own site and news streams. So I contacted Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing.

    The result was two-fold. Not only did our ranks of followers grew steadily, the steady drip, drip, drip of content helped us train our personnel and direct their own individual social media efforts.

    Rachel and her team are extremely organized and open to discussion and new ideas. They deliver a rapid response to new opportunities — and an overall feeling of being on the same team. One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

  • Increased our likes and interaction rates

    Working with Rachel was a delight. Not only does she communicate very well, but she provided valuable insight about our social media platforms and followers. We have much better engagement with our fans and followers, which increased our likes and interaction rates.

     

  • Produced ROI Result

    Form.io needed someone who could grasp the complexities of our product, capture the subtlety of our differentiating value propositions, and convey them in the right voice for an exacting customer audience…. Resonance delivered, by crafting a multi-faceted online content marketing strategy that drove traffic and conversion, producing the ROI result we were looking for….

  • Increased website traffic, New Lead Generation

    We were experiencing a lack of internal resources to consistently maintain the Ustream blog. So we turned to Resonance Content Marketing to write blog posts on current industry topics while maintaining a consistent tone with the brand. The result is increased website traffic, new lead generation from gated assets on blog, and better educated/qualified leads. And I now have more time to spend on marketing strategy with the confidence that the content we push out is extremely well written and engaging.

    Rachel is an amazing writer and has really managed to create engaging and relevant blog material on topics that aren’t always super interesting. On many occasions, she has been able to quickly turn around one-off requests and the results are always top-notch. She has also helped guide our content strategy based on her expertise in content marketing, which has been a huge asset to our team.

  • Social Media Ranking Better Than Ever!

    We are so happy to have hired Resonance for our social media needs. We spend most of our time serving our clients and studying our field so we can provide the highest quality possible. We no longer worry about our social media, as we have total confidence in the wonderful work Rachel and her team have accomplished.

    Our social media is active, promoted, and is ranking better than ever! People often comment about what they see on our Facebook page. Resonance has added a creative, and artistic twist to our social media that is appealing and captivating to our audience. This has allowed me more time to work with my team and clients, so I can focus on service towards the people that help our business grow.

    I know there will be wonderful content on Facebook, and that Rachel will answer to posts, comments and questions as soon as a comment arrives. I am often impressed at how quickly she responds! Thank you Resonance! I highly endorse Resonance and encourage companies who need social media strategies to work with Resonance! You won’t regret it! 

  • Professionalism and Sincere Desire to Help

    I just didn’t seem to be able to find the time or the right words to explain what I offer and how my company helps people accomplish their goals. Rachel was able to ask me some questions, do some research and capture my voice while writing my website copy exactly as I needed it to be written.  Now, the copy on my website is much more professional than what I would have created and having this task handled by Rachel and Resonance freed up my time to complete other tasks I am better suited to do.

    It was a joy to work with Rachel. Her professionalism and sincere desire to help was apparent from the first communication until the final delivery. I will definitely use Resonance again and highly recommend their services.

  • Event Sold Out Two Years In A Row!

    Rachel worked with me on creating a content marketing calendar and content for the Big Social Media Summit (Big SMS) three years in a row. She is very organized and knows just the right amount of posts on social, email newsletters and content to send.  Her content marketing efforts helping us sell out our event three years in a row!  I am expecting the same for October 2014.

    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

    When I work with Rachel, I have total peace of mind.  I know that she is on target, on time, reliable and delivers over and above the results I expect.

    I trust Rachel totally with her ideas on strategy, marketing and the content used to not only promote our events, but also post on my behalf on social networks. I have been doing social media for 8 years, and I hire Resonance to post on some of my social sites as it saves me time, and keeps my social sites relevant and current. They always post great, engaging content that gets my social properties likes, comments and shares.

     

Free Tips
learn more...