content marketing

I recently read an article in an online business magazine that declared “content marketing is waning among B2B marketers.”

I’m not totally sure what to make of that. Oh sure, a lot of big companies have thrown a gazillion dollars at the Content Marketing Shiny Object, just like they did to the Social Media Shiny Object, the Banner Advertising Shiny Object, and the Super Bowl advertising shiny object, but I’m not convinced the B2B market has embraced Content Marketing as much.

That said, it could just be that businesses tend to use new marketing tools incorrectly. How many companies attacked social media as if it was their own free playground for blasting pure advertising messages, completely ignoring the operative word “social.” Of course, this doesn’t even include the continued insistence of using email the same way. Let’s remember something. Your email inbox and my email inbox is PERSONAL. If your email subject line reads, “Don’t Pass Up Theses Prices On DM 52VL and DL 22LB!” or “Introductory Pricing on Techniks SFS12 ShrinkFIT Tooling!” then I’m talking to you.

In case you don’t know, my stated objective is to help my clients and BFFs clearly separate themselves from the competition by becoming uniquely different in some fashion and then being better marketers than the competition. Our collective objective is to become Uncopyably Superior and Content Marketing is one of the valuable arrows in our quiver helping us accomplish that.

But as I pointed out in my last post, too many companies don’t seem to truly understand what Content Marketing really is. They think it’s just a different version of, “Let’s share a lot of content explaining how our product helps the customer be better off!” Isn’t that called sales?

I was reminded of this futility again today when I read another short article on LinkedIn’s Pulse page. Tony Zambato’s How to Lead with Customer-Focused Content is a quick read, and well worth it.

Tony points out a possible new problem facing some content marketers. Apparently the poorly targeted, overused and abused, and just plain it’s-NOT-useful-content-it’s-just-a-sales-piece has forced many business people to incorporate a new “content gatekeeper” to block and filter what’s really useful from the trash. Tony writes:

The bar has now been raised for marketers to make it through the eye of the needle of customer attention.  The novelty of content has worn off its shiny coat for many customers and potential buyers.  With gatekeeping in effect, whether it be manually or digitally, gaining the attention of buyers today will become more difficult.  Requiring marketers to thus become more precise.

Personally, I think the last word “precise” should be “authentic.”

It’s pretty simple. If it looks like a duck, walks, like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Don’t try to kid yourself into thinking your target market desperately NEEDS your product and, therefore, the thinly veiled sales pitch should be construed as content marketing. It’s not.

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