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The Curse of Content Marketing

Every time I scroll through Twitter, each time I go onto LinkedIn, I’m bombarded by links to articles about content marketing.  I get endless emails about it, I overhear conversations on trains about it, I myself am often in conversations that start with the words ‘let’s talk content’. It seems that everyone’s got a point of view: ‘Why you need a content strategy’, ‘Why small businesses should value content’, ‘10 ways to get the best out of content marketing’, ‘How to write a compelling content marketing strategy’, ‘Content will answer all of your marketing issues because the word content sounds important’ – it’s a bandwagon and there are lot of passengers.

Halo is not exempt from this of course. If you’ve seen our work on the critically applauded Festie Guru campaign for Ticketmaster you’ll know we like planning and executing a damn fine content strategy, but can we all stop talking about it now? Including me. This will be my last time. I promise.

This time I mean it.

Of course content is important, it’s about creating the stuff your audience, your potential customers or clients are interested in and getting it out there through appropriate channels (or inappropriate channels, go on, be disruptive) and doing this on a regular basis. We can all endlessly go on about the many and varied ideas, processes, best practices, techniques, hints and tips that come with the territory but all this chatter is exhausting. It’s as bad as marketeers writing endless reams of copy on how to use social media. Actually, they’re probably getting the graduate intern to do that, but whichever way you skin it, enough is certainly enough.

So, because this is my (almost certainly) last article about content marketing, I’ve written a list about it. My top 10 things that everyone puts into a list about content marketing. This is important for you, the reader, because it means you can scroll down to the bit with bold titles and less text and get all the info you need without having to engage with the boring ‘wordy’ bit that started the piece. That’s probably a tip right there that should have made the list. Consider it a bonus – let’s do this:

1. Be Interesting

Write about interesting, relevant things that your customers want to read about. For example, if you sell content marketing, write endlessly about the subtle nuances that define the subject. Don’t write about how boring the whole thing has become.

2. Use pictures

Put stock library photos at the top of an article to bring a splash of colour to the page, maybe someone on a laptop drinking a latté? Or an egg with arms and legs wearing a tie and holding a briefcase? (this image actually exists)

3. Social Media is REALLY important

No list on content marketing, or indeed, any form of marketing/ PR/ advertising would be complete without social media getting a very big mention. Encourage every single business in the world to have a Facebook page; because I for one am always delighted when a company who sells garage doors gets a Facebook page so they can post up pictures of new garage doors or their team wearing matching company polo shirts fitting garage doors, or someone hanging from a noose attached to an open garage door after being subjected to too much garage door ‘porn’.

4. Twitter

At some point, even though social media was already covered off as important it’s probably worth giving Twitter it’s own special mention. Twitter is a great way for your links to articles about content marketing to be ignored because there’s so many of them. They’re like snowflakes in that respect. Each blog post is both unique and individual, but together they form a blanket of pure white nothing.

5. Don’t just talk about yourself

In content marketing it’s important to remind people not to go on and on about themselves. They will of course. They’ll start off writing about something interesting and current, maybe form a few opinions here and there, then they’ll just blog about new business wins and local press articles. They’ll probably retweet some content marketing articles (but they won’t read them).

6. Use case studies

This is really vital stuff when you talk about content marketing. You know how you really love reading case studies on how successful something was? You know how you’re always wondering how you can keep a potential customer in the buying cycle and are itching to know how ‘content’ made this possible for a company you’ve never heard of and don’t care about? Didn’t think so.

7. Spelling

Probably not mentioned enough. Not to me anyway.

8. Good for Business

‘When I read that blog article on how a regional solicitors won more business with insightful, regular articles about divorce law, I knew I had to build a consistent content marketing strategy’ – said no one ever.

9. I’ve run out of stuff to say at this point

But that’s ok because most readers got bored at number 7.

10. End with a joke

Q. How many content marketeers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A. Click here to subscribe for the answer.


Good content gets read. It makes sense that it helps win new business. But if that’s the only driver, then you’ve missed the point.

The old adage of advertising still resonates: be emotional, be empathetic, be entertaining.

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