Download this: your crap content isn’t king

How many times each week do you read that creating and distributing content is the greatest marketing strategyever!!!

The notion is simple and appealing; instead of blapping people over the head with your boring sell, you provide them with something of value – a white paper, article, infographic, survey results etc etc – and give it to them free, or at least in exchange for their contact details…..which you can thereafter use to blap them around the head with your boring sell. Which you’ve earned the right to do or so the theory goes.

Well OK that’s selling the strategy a little short..what you should do is keep giving them more value adding content until they respect you so much they buy from you or at least refer you to somebody who does.

Makes sense, right? The recently created ‘content strategists’ will tell you it does, any way. And nobody has taken up the strategy like B to B services, especially technology-related ones where, it must be said,  there is much to be explained.

And so it is that I’ve signed up to many companies offering free white papers about all sorts of things. And so it is that I receive many links to more white papers through Twitter. And still more through Linked In. And so it is that every day I spend 10 minutes deleting emails offering me fabulously important information – content – about all sort of things.

If content is king, it seems the bloody royal family must be bursting at the seams! I couldn’t agree more with Carl Johnson CEO of Anomaly, (hot ‘new model’ marketing services agency), who, when asked if content is king, replied:

“I don’t agree with that,” he said. “I think it sends you down the wrong track. I’d say the emphasis is on relevance and usefulness. …the most powerful thing you could do to me as a brand if I went to [a music festival] is you could chill my beer for me. If you pursue ‘content,’ you won’t come up with that idea… I think content steers you away from that. I think content is a subset of that, if it’s relevant and useful. But the more fundamental thing is for brands to have a meaningful relationship and engagement with their audience.”

I’d add to that: the other danger with content is that there is just sooo much out there, and as any economist will tell you oversupply isn’t good for demand or value. The chances are unless you are really good, your content is probably not really adding value after all. And if it doesn’t, your prospects might just be doing what I do…deleting you whilst being increasingly irritated by you.

Which undermines the whole strategy just a little don’t you think? But don’t just take my word for it….

When content strategist Margot Bloomstein posted her rules of content (itshould be: Findable, Readable, Understandable, Actionable and Shareable) she forgot one thing. It should be good. And most of it – IF you can be bothered wading through it all – simply isn’t.

And since this post just wouldn’t be complete without an infographic, please enjoy the anatomy of the royal family of content (thanks Tristan Higbee of Blogging Tips):

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