Feb 272013
Too much content!

Overload image courtesy of eladalid.com

This week I read two stories talking about content marketing that got me thinking. One was from Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation, and the other from Justin Case at  his blog Justin Case You Were Wondering (clever title, Justin)!

Both are worth a click and a few minutes of your time. To paraphrase, Mitch writes about a possible content marketing crash, as brands overestimate how much consumers want to interact and try to make content marketing another kind of advertising. Justin suggests that corporate America is finally ready to tell their brand stories via content marketing, and he worries that the production quality of those stories won’t be high enough.

OK, both make sense to me as far as they go. But I came away thinking – who is telling these companies about the culture shift that effective content marketing requires? As I’ve written on previously, effective content marketing requires an organization to think like a publisher.

Content marketing can be an effective sales tool when companies stop thinking about selling. What they need to do is start teaching, start adding value for the visitor, start strutting their thought leadership in a persuasive way. Yes, you need to tell your company’s story in an effective and (if possible) entertaining way. But it better not be too much about you.

Thinking like a publisher is a different way of thinking about marketing, it’s not just mastering a new set of tools. Treated like just another marketing channel, it will fail every time.

Both Joel and Case work for consumer companies, not B2B clients as I do. That’s a big difference, and I think they are correct in what they say. Consumers are increasingly overwhelmed with opportunities to “interact” with brands that offer little value, and most companies definitely need to do a better job at storytelling.

Consumers are more empowered by information than at any time in modern history. They are in charge, and they are skeptical. Thinking like a publisher is the best way to address this new reality and make content marketing effective.

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