Jump Off the Content Marketing Bandwagon


As marketers, we like being hip. I doubt accountants obsess about the latest and greatest like we do. The beauty of being trendy is that we marketers quickly adapt to new opportunities and adopt changing trends. The danger is that we all go off the same cliff together.

Content marketing might be a cliff if you aren't careful. Here's why. As a marketer, you only have so much time and resources to impact your target audience. Herd mentality causes us to take off our thinking caps and charge after the latest bright and shiny object. When I was running marketing communications at a large telecom company, I kept getting asked "What's our Second Life strategy? We have to be on Second Life." Some of you might be scratching your head wondering what "Second Life" is. Well, it is still out there, www.secondlife.com, but it is now in the graveyard of over-hyped marketing trends. Thankfully we didn't spend a minute of time on it.

Content marketing needs to be measured with a cool head in terms of how it ranks up according to other marketing strategies you could enact.

Let's make this real. Imagine you could spend $15,000 on a direct mail campaign to 1,500 prospects. This generates 3% response rate and 1% in sales, of 15 sales. Those are pretty doable numbers. How would you evaluate that versus spending $15,000 on a content writer to put out a few blog posts or articles that you syndicate out through social media, that hopefully someone happens to find, and happens to read, and that happens to push them in the direction of a sale?

To be sure, content marketing can be a powerful marketing tool. It embodies the noblest purposes of marketing: to provide your customers useful information so they can make better decisions and form a deeper relationship with you. One valuable piece of content can attract customers like bees to honey.
On the other hand, keep in mind you are competing with a mindboggling amount of content generation. Domo recently reported that every minute:

  • Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Email users send over 200 million messages.

So, what's the right answer? Of course it always depends on your market, but here are some quick tips to get the most out of content marketing.

  1. Go for quality over quantity. Quality will build trust with your audience. We often survey our customers' potential customers and ask them, "What would you like company XYZ to talk about?" Also, avoid just hiring outside writers to generate your content. Nobody knows your business and your customers like people within your company. It will be more authentic if it comes from you. Be careful about hiring freelance writers off the street to generate your content.
  2. Map your buying cycle. Identify the content that your potential buyers would want at crucial points in the buying cycle. Create that content for your buying cycle and then repurpose that content through social media. You are essentially killing two birds with one stone.
  3. Take risks. Be provocative. Be thoughtful. Think something new. Do something different and tell everyone about it. I remember one company who decided to take their business desktop phone product and throw it against the wall to see who could actually break it. The video of phones exploding and not exploding was fun to watch and made a great point about the durability of their phones.
Mark Mitton
written by MARK MITTON

Mark Mitton is the president of Carbon8, bringing his passion for creative, strategic branding and deep experience in digital marketing to Carbon8 clients (and employees!). Mark founded Carbon8 with the knowledge that, in today’s digital age, beautiful creative and smart strategy must be supported by a strong programming team.

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