‘Content Marketing’ Is No Longer Enough

Most content marketing isn’t all that great.

We talk about content marketing like it’s the something we just discovered, a new tactical approach to digital marketing that will draw a crowd, get people to take notice and, ultimately, boost revenue.

Content is king, they say. Create and publish good content and the people will come, they say. The reality may be more in line with a recent piece published to the Harvard Business Review website:

Content Is Crap, and Other Rules for Marketers

In his piece, Greg Satell argues too many marketers are publishing content for the sake of publishing content when, instead, they should be focused on creating a compelling experience.

Today, marketers need to build an ongoing relationship with consumers and that means holding attention, not just grabbing it. To get people to subscribe to a blog, YouTube channel, or social media feed, you need to offer more than a catchy slogan or a clever stunt. You need to offer real value, and offer it consistently.

To do this, brands need to start with a clear mission and think seriously about the experience they want to create. Success will not come from putting a clever spin on facts, but rather by uncovering powerful stories and telling them well.

I couldn’t agree more. But what do those stories sound like?

Good content marketing is inspiring, educational and efficient. More importantly, it produces experiences that deliver value. These stories can be as simple as an easy-to-complete transaction (think signing up for a class or completing a contact form) or as complex as multi-channel campaign.

In the end, the success of the story may be measured in pageviews, likes and shares. However, the true measure of merit is the value it brought to the reader. So in the words of Albert Einstein:

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

Value can come in many forms. Think about some of the brands you like and the value they offer:

  • The Weather Channel offers detailed weather information for the weeks ahead.
  • Google offers to quickly scour the Internet for you and deliver relevant results.
  • Amazon offers you a convenient place to purchase consumer goods.

In all three cases, the content they produce further delivers on the value they offer. It doesn’t feel forced and it doesn’t feel like I’m being link-baited beyond where I want to go. So the question we should ask ourselves becomes clear:

Does the experience I’m creating offer value?