Simple products, simple services. They help us get things done. Simple words help sell them. I love simple. But many of today’s content marketing experts are simpletons who are evolving into charlatans. How can we know which content marketing experts to follow? Advancing your career or building your content marketing business means asking two, serious questions in 2014.
Is this person telling me what I want to hear—or what I need to know?
Is the term content marketing a risk to me?
Is this a term people will scoff at in the future? Are they scoffing at it now, as they are “social media expert?” Do you want this term on your resume or in your biography?
Many believe you don’t. I am one of them.
The term ‘content marketing’ is stifling us
“Why on earth have we all collectively agreed to label our messaging as ‘content’—which brings to mind nothing more than inert filler, largely there just to take up space?” asks Stephanie Janard.
I wish Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi or Marcus Sheridan would stand up and answer this one. I’d like to hear these respected content marketing experts do battle with any of Stephanie Janard’s logical, razor sharp reasons.
I’d like to learn where she might be wrong … because I think she’s dead-on.
“If there is one profession that should understand above all others that messaging matters, it’s the field of marketing,” says a critical Ms. Janard, a copywriter by trade.
Indeed, effective social media copywriting creates behavior. Not likes. Not followers. Not more shares of content. Worthwhile content marketing creates behavior that benefits buyer and seller. This is what I teach in my paid and free social media copywriting courses.
Engagement is the starting point (not the goal)
There IS a crowd who understands as much. Folks like Sonia Simone and Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com. They make a living at teaching folks how to create messaging that creates behavior—not just engagement, which is the outcome most content marketing experts recommend.
Want to generate a lead or sale with social media? Stop believing engaging customers is the goal. Stop investing time in creating it and calling it a day.
Start making engagement the starting point of an effective, repeatable process—powered by effective copywriting.
This is how to start getting customers to buy online. Start making engagement the part of a process that is already proven effective!
Be assured, investing time in learning a process is not brain surgery. But it is not for simpletons and rarely preached by charlatans.
Why your future is at risk
Let’s keep it real. Many of us have “content marketing” in our job titles … on our marketing materials! But Ms. Janard makes it clear what is at stake:
Your ability to keep clients and advance your career by writing in ways that drive behavior.
In Ms. Janard’s words, many of us are “making the deadly mistake of over-estimating the ease of capturing your prospects’ interest.”
Are today’s leaders over-simplifying?
“… just look at some of the advice out there from the ‘content marketing’ experts,” says Ms. Janard.
“Over and over I see the suggestion that marketers re-purpose older Web copy and blog posts to use for other ‘content marketing’ pieces like brochures and white papers.
Never does this recommendation remind marketers to heed the target audience’s current stage in the buying process, the audience’s level of technical understanding, or for that matter, any other qualifiers.”
Ms. Janard is right when she notices this is standalone advice.
Tell a good story. Be authentic. These are among the first tips offered. Hell, if it were this easy we’d all be getting-rich-quick! But nobody stops to question these un-intelligent, overly simple ideas.
What about effective copywriting?
Ms. Janard says this kind of advice “is giving marketers the impression that as long as they put something out there for prospects to read on a regular basis, the qualified leads will follow.”
That’s a perception, she says, that cheapens the value of your marketing message. And if you don’t value your own message, do you honestly think prospects will?
What do you think?
Photo credit: Planetc1