Content is crap.

content is crap

In a recent article published in Harvard Business Review Greg Satell put forth that “content is crap.”  As a writer and as the person who runs the content division of consulting firm Fronetics Strategic Advisors, Satell’s article caught my eye.

Here’s the thing – I read Satell’s article and have to say that he is spot on.  Satell nailed it.

When it comes to leveraging content to drive profitable customer action you need to make sure that you are not creating content just to have something out there.  Rather, you need to make sure that everything that is written, produced, published, curated, and distributed is valuable to your customers and to your prospective customers.  Every piece of content should provide your customers and prospects with information that is relevant, helpful, and engaging.  Every piece of content should also be thought of as an opportunity to establish and foster trustful and ongoing relationships with customers and prospects.

Unfortunately, I have found that the majority of companies don’t think about content in this way.  Rather, they think about churning out poorly written blog posts, writing about topics that are not relevant to their customers, or writing everything as a sales pitch and therefore, turning customers and prospects away.

Satell offers that “marketers need to shift their mental models and think more like publishers.”  I not only agree, but would also go one step further.  Marketers need to align their efforts with the strategic and business objectives of their company.

The majority of companies, B2B and B2C, use content marketing.  However, as Satell notes, the majority find their efforts to be ineffective.  Drilling down, the lack of success is not surprising.

Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that only 38% of B2B companies that use content marketing report their efforts to be effective.  Here’s the thing – only 38% of companies report that they have a documented content strategy and only 42% report that they closely follow their strategy.  When it comes to B2C companies, the picture is very similar.  Just 27% of B2C companies report that they have a content marketing strategy and just 34% report that they closely follow their strategy.

Would you operate your business without: 1) creating a strategy, 2) documenting the strategy, and 3) following the strategy?  No, you wouldn’t.  It is; therefore, not surprising that the majority of companies who use content marketing fail.

To be successful in content marketing it is critical to avoid the mistakes outlined by Satell, as well as to create a strategy that is aligned with your company’s business objectives, document the strategy, and follow the strategy closely.

I’ve previously argued that the majority of companies using content marketing should stop their efforts immediately.  For the majority of companies using content marketing their content is crap.  However, this doesn’t need to be the case.  Satell writes that we need to “treat our editorial mission as seriously as we do that of your brands.”  I would agree.  For those companies who are willing to embrace this it is likely that their content marketing efforts will prove fruitful.  For those companies who don’t – my suggestion would be to just walk away.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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