This week, we look at content marketing, what makes for good content, and why so much of it sucks.
I’ve recently discovered Help Scout, and besides their excellent help desk SaaS, I have been very impressed with their own marketing content on their blog. They’ve written out 25 Principles That Power Their Blog, and while it reads like a checklist of reminders and encouragement, what it really boils down to is what we focus on here at BuzzShift: know your customer.
The thing we ask here the most before we produce any video, visual, or text is, “who is the audience that we want to see this, and will this provide any meaningful value to them?” The first handful of principles in Help Scout’s blog post all focus on the “why” and the “what.” As you scroll down the list, you get to more tactical, but still very relevant, things you need to consider as you produce your own blog pieces and content. While I would have organized the post a little differently, the fact is that these are some very powerful principles for creating content, and their strategy is, overall, very sound.
On media content today:
This is a very compelling commentary on the state of the media and the marketing industry, and why quality content matters so much. To quote Topolsky at the end of this article, we are only interested in making interesting things for interested people.
While we agree with the premise of the article, there is one piece that is totally missing from the author’s proposed marketing mix: any marketing content related to education and consideration. This is very typical of the PR and traditional marketing communications mindset. What didn’t exist 10-15 years ago, and what traditional marketing and PR people fail to realize, is the ability for normal consumers and buyers to educate themselves to a strikingly high degree, simply by using Google and the vast resources of the internet. Look at his chart: nowhere does it include things that, you know, actually add VALUE to consumers’ lives without overtly calling them to a “buy now” action. Adding this education-without-selling component breaks his model a little, and it’s why the use (or misuse) of “content marketing” has risen in the past couple of years.
Like the previous article, this author riffs off of Dan Lyon’s new book Disrupted (a great read if you haven’t already picked it up). However, she talks about the broader cultural implications of bad content and our willingness to consume it. The thing to ask ourselves, as marketers and brands, is: are we complicit in furthering bad content (and clickbait headlines), or are we working to make quality videos, visuals, and copy that can educate, amuse, and help us achieve our business objectives? It’s a tricky equation, but it’s our job to solve that challenge everyday.