Consider this, from some recent research on content marketing:
Consider: blog output by brands has increased over 800% in the past five years but organic social share of blogs has decreased by 89% and about 5% of content gets 90% of engagement. An estimated 70% of the content generated by Marketing is never used by Sales reps and a similar percentage of the leads generated disappear into a “sales lead black hole.”
Yes. That same article also attacks the “you must send emails on Tuesdays” philosophy, which is also complete bullshit.
Anyway, I’ve been saying this for a bit now. I’m not smart or anything, but I’m moderately logical. To wit:
But we need leads!
Right. It’s usually a metric for marketing. I get that. I’ve worked within it many times. The thing is, the methodology around how we approach the idea of blogs/blogging is so flawed. Here’s why:
- We usually assign some 23 year-old about $50 to write it
- He/she just Googles the concept and copies from the stuff already on Page 1
- Someone low-to-middle in marketing “owns” keyword research
- They generate an Excel of keywords
- In reality each of these keywords has 5 Google ads attached to it, so maybe there’s 7–9 spots on Page 1 for organic results
- Your 530-word blog post on “customer-centric analytics” probably isn’t gonna make those 7–9 slots
- No one really goes to Page 2 on most Google searches
See how this part is flawed?
Same deal with “white papers:”
“White papers” and “eBooks” are the same thing to most people, so same concepts apply.
EMail marketing should be conversational, but typically reads like a used-car salesman trying to get you in bed — and in the process all it does is point you towards these crappy blogs above in an effort to “nurture” you.
So what’s the answer?
I’m not some vetted 10x marketing expert, no.
But I have been by myself work-wise for the better part of three years and I make ends meet and have a life I want to have.
OK, back to how.
To make content marketing work, it’s actually pretty simple.
You have to have actual things to say and discuss.
You need actual viewpoints on topics.
That’s the only way you cut through digital noise and get supporters/fans/tangible leads.
People need to like what you’re saying and HOW you’re saying it.
Most marketing teams just copy whatever everyone else is doing.
That’s not going to work.
I’m unabashedly myself on here every single day. Some people hate it. Some people throw money at me. It works in some respect, then.
Have something to say.
Understand the difference between a “blog” and “a sales document”
Blogging started because people wanted to discuss thoughts and ideas and see if like-minded people out there found it and it resonated.
In that way, it was a pretty pure form of digital communication and story-telling.
Blogging has since been completely co-opted by essentially “This is a sales document for the thing I do and every post will be a sale that I claim is informative.”
I’ve pitched this idea to people here and there:
You sell widgets, but maybe you blog about the notion of failure one day. Just to be different and draw people in.
I get laughed out of every room I say that in. Here’s what I get back:
“No, we want a post on six reasons you need our new plug-in.”
Absolutely no one in the world wants a list of reasons to use a plug-in. If the plug-in looks like it works for what I need, I’ll install it. A blog? Pass. But a blog from a company about their internal failings and how they grew from those? I’d read.
Blogs shouldn’t be sales document. But they often become that and we somehow call it “content marketing.”