Startling Revelation: Content Is Crap

November 5, 2015

I read “Content Is Crap and Other Rules for Marketers.” The source of this gem of an idea is the Harvard Business Review. Intrigued with this scholarly premise, I printed out the item and highlighted a couple of passages.

Here’s the first:

there is mounting evidence that most marketers’ content efforts are failing.  The Content Marketing Institute reports that although the majority of B2B and B2C marketers have some kind of content marketing program, less than 40% find those efforts effective.

The go to source is the Content Marketing Institute. This means that two thirds of the information pumped out by marketers is effective. I like to look at the bright side. My perception is that about 90 percent of the information flowing to me is baloney. I assume my litmus test is different from the Content Marketing Institute’s approach.

The second point I highlighted is:

Publishing is different. It’s not a promotion; but is more akin to product development. That means clearly defining an editorial mission, identifying benchmarks, and establishing a clear structure. Unlike a TV campaign or digital, where you can expect an immediate benefit that dissipates almost as quickly, brand publishing establishes an ongoing, trustful relationship with consumers that lasts beyond the present sales cycle. Most of all, marketers need to create a compelling experience.

I like that idea of converting a blog post into a “compelling experience.” The idea that one has to peck away, not swing for the fences, is fascinating as well.

I came away from this article with several thoughts. Note that these are not part of my process, just ideas:

  1. The Harvard Business Review seems to be chasing clicks and relevance. Content is crap seems a bit down market for the HBR.
  2. The suggestion that 60 percent of marketing information delivers high value information strikes me as a fantasy. Read a couple of the vendor profiles on my Xenky site and then compare the marketing approach of a couple of today’s search and content processing vendors. Same old tripe.
  3. The parental tone of the article seems oddly out of step with substantive analysis.

The net net: Save the platitudes.

Stephen E Arnold, November 4, 2015


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