Today’s Tuesday 2¢ falls on Halloween and in the great tradition of seasonal marketing content, instead of the normal rant, I shall stick to the script and share with you three nightmares that scare the bejesus out of marketers.
Aside from avoiding the cheese before you go to bed, I’d like to suggest some reassuring words to tell yourself when the terrors strike and, you know, these creatures come in search of blood to terrorize your neighborhood.
#1 – Nobody is Reading Your Content
As marketers, we are creatives, we may even consider ourselves artists, but there is no time in this industry for the sentiment of the misunderstood artist; “it’s art they’ll understand it when I’m dead”. Well, no, our art needs to be understood today. Right. Now.
I could share some scary stats about how much B2B marketing goes unread, but that won’t help you sleep tonight. Instead consider the idea that content has to be understood by everybody is a fallacy, it only needs to be understood by the people you care about. If you want to write popular content, consider a career writing celebrity gossip or making cat videos, the important thing is not to have a nightmare about vanity metrics.
As a content marketing consultant, I once worked with a very large B2B enterprise, we did all the audits, looked at the content versus the standard vanity metrics (page views) and discovered a dusty corner of their site that was apparently unloved. Going back to the business we discovered that the audience for this particular subject was very small, but the product they were promoting contributed millions of dollars of revenue and the audience, while small, was highly engaged. To kill that content, would have killed that business.
It’s especially true of B2B, but it’s the same deal with B2C, we have to understand that not everyone likes us.
To hit the big numbers on vanity metrics, you write popular content that people consume and then walk away. But, we need to reach the people that like us, the people in our tribe and we want them to really like us. Today people are looking for relevant content, that speaks to them, solves their specific problem that they will engage with.
Doing this, being very relevant, will drive deeper engagement and revenue but, of course, the web analytics may take a dip as we stop being popular and feeding the content vampires that download our popular content but say “meh” to our brand, product or service, and instead focus on a smaller group of people that care about your content.
#2 – The Fear of Aging
Woooooo… the specter of aging! I don’t mean you, I mean your marketing.
Some new fancy agency/ninja/blog post comes to your boss’s attention and asks you why we are not doing this new hipster/agile/social/tantric marketing or why we don’t have a page on ‘Facechat’ that everyone is talking about.
Yes, we need to stay contemporary and there are some bloody good ideas out there and new ways to connect to consumers. But, I just watched a Seth Godin video from 2003 and the fundamental challenges he talks about are alive and well in many organizations today (by the way, I also happen to have a 1997 copy of Don Peppers “The One to One Future” and Joe Pulizzi “Epic Content Marketing”, 2014 edition currently on my desk).
Digital marketing is just marketing , social marketing is just marketing, agile marketing is just marketing and content marketing, being a content consumer centric publisher, is a marketing methodology that has been relevant for decades.
The idea of understanding the content consumer, operationalizing content product and systems and then publishing relevant, useful content to the channel of their choosing is basic marketing sense. If you are doing those three things, in the context of the new channels and new tools we have today, you can call yourself a ninja (if you really must).
While I am on the subject of age and content, we are obsessed with youth when it comes to content, would you share anything on Twitter that’s more than a month old? Consider this in your content marketing strategy, don’t be scared to recycle content, refreshed and sipping from the fountain of content youth.
#3 – The Hamster Wheel
This isn’t a nightmare that happens during the night, this is a waking, living nightmare for many marketers. It may sound innocuous but the hamster wheel is the scariest of them all.
You know you are on the hamster wheel when your boss hands you a press release that you know nobody (aside from him) cares about, when someone in the product team gives you a dull feature list that you need to create a story out of, that your bloated website is a shanty town of competing ideas, ‘one size fits all’ content. Added to this, the decision making for what goes and what stays is based on competing internal, dare I say fragile, egos of who should be on the homepage and the processes to get anything done are bogged down in the silos of systems and processes.
The nightmare is however fast you run, despite the best intentions, you just spin this stuff out faster. The consumer of the content, the audience, is forgotten. There is no time. The VP of Everything is insisting that the PDF that nobody cares about goes live 5 minutes ago.
The key to getting off the hamster wheel is data, even the most stubborn VP of Everything understands data and having highlighted the folly of vanity metrics earlier in this post find an engagement metric that shows what content your audience cares about and connect this with a metric that your business cares about.
So, there you have it, I guess that’s my 6¢, three Halloween rants against just three of the modern-day marketer’s nightmares. If you have others, agree or disagree with anything I have shared here, then please drop us a comment below and you can catch-up with the other subjects I have covered in the Tuesday 2¢ column here .