Doug Garnett’s Blog


My 100th Blog Post. Feeding The Beast & The Dark Side of Content Marketing

WordPress tells me this is my 100th post (the celebration commences immediately). So is there a more fitting topic than content based marketing’s need to “feed the beast”?

Want a higher Klout score (thinking it actually means something)? Then work, work, work. Read more, comment more, pass along more, write more. And connect with people you don’t know, but who have higher scores. (By the way, don’t ignore all that other work you have to do – or your family.)

Want more visitors to your blog? Post more, work harder on what you post. Then fight hard to find places to publicize your blog. (And don’t forget to sell product, answer the phones, create new things, make ads, and all that other marketing.)

Want Twitter followers? Then Tweet constantly and find highly provocative things to Tweet about. Isolate those meme’s that drive people to sign up to follow you. (And, don’t worry that the best meme’s have to be simplified so far that they end up separated from truth.)

Steve Schildwachter posted about the beast recently in an interesting post titled Five Reasons Not to Fear Social Media Burnout.

He covers some well known people who complain about the burnout factor. (One of these being AdAge’s eminent industry commentator Bob Garfield.) Some have even dropped back to lurk rather than actively participate.

Steve rightly reminds us social media is quite young and still ill developed. (I agree with Steve’s points – except the idea that we should take heart because companies are spending more in social media. Companies are like lemmings and will increase spending on new media options just because everyone else is – not because that’s where the money delivers the best results.)

For Companies, the Risk Isn’t Personal Burnout – It’s Idea Burnout. While agreeing with Steve, I think companies who rely too much on social media are taking a huge burnout risk. Not because individuals burn out – but because their ideas burnout.

Look around and you’ll see that companies who were the early darlings of social media are falling off the radar. Remember the “Will It Blend?” campaign? Those videos still exist, but they’ve dropped off the radar despite the fact that the company keeps making new ones.

Remember the Old Spice guy? W+K has a big challenge keeping that campaign in front of people. They may have to invent another one to try to get the same level of viral action. (Fortunately TV advertising drove the viral response – so maybe they have a formula they can re-use.)

Informative Content Offers a Bigger Challenge. What about informative content instead of entertainment content? Corporate informative content seems to keep getting worse – and most lacks any real value.

It’s not much different from where printed content has come. Brochure’s decayed over the past 20 years to where most lack anything fresh – and don’t get read. (Car dealer brochures are the worst – offering nothing significant except a list of features and colors that are probably out of date.) Is your content too much like a deadly-dull brochure?

Even worse, examples in a magazine I recently read about corporate content marketing looked like those boring company magazines written in the 1970′s.

Perhaps the problem is content farms. Too much content farm work is as meaningless as dairy cows mooing on the way to be milked.

And Then There are Corporate Facebook Pages… Talk about meaningless drivel.

I’ve written that most people really don’t want to be your friend. Seems that we can now conclude the primary corporate post people want to see on Facebook starts with “30% off on …”.

There Is Hope. It’s really not as bleak as I’ve dramatized. Personally, I love finding a topic I care about and developing what I hope are thoughtful comments about it. While saying this, I also know that dedication to writing something meaningful creates longer gaps between posts than I like. But I think that’s what’s needed – content that’s meaningful.

So here’s a recommendation:

Limit content marketing to be only a portion of your marketing mix.

Merchandise well written bits over longer periods.

Develop a BS meter that filters out the ideas that lack insight.

Don’t get caught up in social media scoring. Klout scores probably don’t measure anything important (unless you’re a Klout score consultant).

And good luck. I think I might have a grasp of what this means. Yet it’s a strange new world we all live within.

Now…what should I do for my 101st post?

Copyright 2011 – Doug Garnett – All Rights Reserved

Categories:   Brand Advertising, Communication, Consumer Electronics, consumer goods, consumer marketing, Human Tech, Innovation, marketing, Marketing Research, Media, New media, Retail marketing, Social Media, Technology Advertising, technology marketing, Video


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