Crashing the content party

July 23, 2023
July 24, 2023

There are lots of aspects of content marketing that seem intuitive, but which many businesses get wrong. It can be difficult to see the wood for the trees, to separate the means from the end, and to keep track of a campaign’s success – or failure. This can happen at all stages of the content marketing journey, right through from inception, when the goals and target audience of a project are being determined, to the final stages of post-campaign reflection and analysis.

Perhaps this is because many of us see ‘content’ as a nebulous concept – it can at times feel like an amorphous blob of matter exponentially expanding to absorb the entire internet, the planet, the universe…. ‘Content’ encompasses so many mediums, from the very small (a single emoji posted on social media) to the very big (a multi-platform, multi-pronged fictional universe); it can be trivial or weighty, throwaway or thought-provoking.

We also project so much of ourselves into the content we consume that, like an enchanted mirror, it throws back a warped version of our expectations and desires, provoking delight, interest, scorn or anger in line with our moods and prejudices.

The end result can be a meaningless babble of noise, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

For businesses attempting to harness the power of content to spread a message or sell a product, trying to be heard over the babble can be difficult and, when time and resources have been devoted to a campaign with no clear strategy or outcome in mind, it can be costly and even counter-productive.

All businesses have the capacity to get content right though, simply by rethinking the context within which that content is being created and proliferated, and by following some simple principles that hinge on honesty, substance, originality and relevance.

Imagine for a moment that you’re at a party, surrounded by a group of potential new friends you’re keen to get to know better. Would you simply repeat what the person next to you is saying, but louder? Would you stand in the corner and whisper so that no one can hear you? Would you make up a story that could easily be proved untrue? Would you change the subject constantly until people start to back away in perplexed concern?

Perhaps if you’ve been hitting the punch bowl a little too hard your answer to some or all of those questions will be yes – but if you’ve got a modicum of emotional intelligence you’re probably more likely to try to add to the conversation rather than to dominate it, to listen to the people around you, to say things that are likely to be interesting and appropriate to them, and to be honest if you ever hope to have any meaningful relationship with them in the future.

For most of us, this type of behaviour would come as second nature – so why, when it comes to marketing, do so many businesses crash the content party speaking an entirely different language from their audience, at the wrong volume, all the while standing a little too close for comfort?

To help businesses avoid getting ejected from the party early, we’ve launched our new free Guide to Content Marketing. We’ve set out a simple nine-stage plan to getting content marketing right, beginning with thinking about what ‘content’ actually is and what it can achieve. It takes things step-by-step, from establishing your goals and intended audience, to thinking about your message and the best way of expressing it, to promoting that message and finally assessing its impact.

Feel free to download it, give it a read, and use the checklists and other materials at the end when building your next content marketing campaign – it might just help your business avoid being ‘that guy’ at the content party.

Content marketing can be deceptively difficult. It's all too easy to head off in the wrong direction if you don't think carefully about what you're trying to achieve. We've launched a new Guide to Content Marketing to help you get it right.
Richard Young
If you’ve got a modicum of emotional intelligence you’re probably more likely to try to add to the conversation rather than to dominate it