I encourage my team to read a lot of marketing and branding articles. To make sure I am not preaching and not practicing what I preach, I have been perusing many different types of content lately in an informal survey. Reading 4-5 blogs, articles, Tweets, etc. a day for the last year has led me to several conclusions.
There is Very Little Originality
I used to click on links to articles with great titles or wonderful social media revues with anticipation of learning some new concept or idea. Those days have passed. There seems to be a glut of lists and infographics that are re-hashed, re-formatted, and re-everythinged. Information and topics are repackaged throughout the electronic media universe touting new, revolutionary ideas. In the end, the content of the piece ends up being the same old theories, topics, and pitches from 2005.
Self-Promotion is Driving Content
The boundary between legitimate content marketing and bad content marketing is as large as it has ever been. Most of the pieces I have read are blatant infomercials or PR pieces touting the subject’s expertise. “Influencer” seems to be the ultimate goal of most writers on the web today. The methods they use to attempt to achieve this goal are transparent and obviously self-serving. There are some very well crafted pieces that convey relevant information on valid topics out there that are good and interesting content marketing pieces – there just very few of them.
There is No Direction
Marketers know that web is a powerful tool. Their ability to harness its power has been more miss than hit. I have read about theories and ideas and practices that will drive marketing to the next level. Most of them sound on their face, but either they are too revolutionary or were not researched enough to show their flaws.
Quantity Over Quality
Content is supposed to be driving everything now, Google set the president. But an unintended consequence, I believe, was the proliferation of poor content as marketers have raced to the apex of key-word stuffing and plagiarism. I have read an article and gone on to another one of the same topics that was almost word for word like the previous one – under a different authors name.
These are just some observations. This is why I emphasize to my team that writing something interesting and fresh is much more important than worrying about marketing. Their writing is far better, more engaging, and much more relevant to the target audience. This is what good content marketing is supposed to be.