The Problem With Content

I’m in San Diego today speaking at Social Media Marketing World. The message of content marketing has certainly taken root in the digital and social marketing space and as the message of content, content, content grows louder and louder so too does the level of frustration.

content marketing

photo credit: Exothermic via photopin cc

Producing content actually requires some work. Producing lots of content requires even more work and, well, let’s not event talk about the work required to consistently product high quality content.

But here’s the semi ironic thing. The problem with content is not that you don’t have enough, it’s that you have too much. In an attempt to feed the content beast many marketers have lost focus on the narrative of who they are, why they do what they do and why their customers are attracted to their brands.

In effect, we’re attempting to write about everything and in doing so connecting with nothing.

Before content will truly serve as an effective community attracting and building mechanism, it must be laced with a potent dose of focus.

That’s not to say that a good 50 Ways to do X post won’t always draw eyeballs, but so will wearing a really short skirt into a bar – the question is, does that lead towards building a supportive community and achieving your objectives?

Content must spring from the one true thing your business stands for and become a story that becomes a greater narrative that lives on in your community with no real end.

You do this by telling fewer stories – over and over again. You do this by using clarity, the one real thing you’re business stands for in the mind of the market, as a filter for voice and message.

You solve your content problem when you use content to:

  • Narrow your focus to an ideal client’s unmet needs
  • Share stories that build trust and expose vulnerability
  • Help define problems your customers don’t know they have
  • Give your customers a way to collaborate and personalize
  • Help determine the real intent of your prospective clients

I happen to believe that the highest objective of any business is the building of a vibrant community. Start sharing less and focusing more on the content that signals why someone would want to join your narrative and you’ll start to witness how community actually forms.

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  • Helena Alkhas

    Love these tips. Your posts are always rich and I think the image of the tractor “show” your work! Looking forward to an awesome event in San Diego and your session! #SMMW13

    • ducttape

      Thanks Helena hope to see you there.

  • Joe Large

    Great post John, getting ready to set up my own web site. Guess I should include these things for what I do for my clients. Appreciate your post.

    • ducttape

      Thanks Joe – I don’t think we can share why we do what we do, or what led us to wanting to what we do enough.

  • mlbinsidesource

    Excellent post John. We always like to focus our content on one keyword phrase, and target it as if we are writing to our best customer… similar to when using Yoast SEO for WP for blogging.

  • Stephen Lahey

    In a world full marketers churning out more and more content, personal communication (and truly personalized service) is ever more powerful and valuable. I say reach out to one of your ideal clients and help them to solve their particular problem — then write about that.

  • Brad Patterson @ Evercontact

    Very, very well-said.

    Excellent reminder I’m adding to the top of our blog calendar. Thanks, John!

  • Linda Credit

    Great post!!! I have bookmarked this already. This is truly helpful as I update my blog everyday.

  • KristinZhivago

    One of your best posts ever, John! I will be tweeting this one and sending to clients. Good work. In my ongoing interviews of buyers, they are making it very clear that specificity and relevance/helpfulness trumps any other type of content. If it even hints at being “marketing speak,” they jump off the train and go elsewhere looking for content that matters.

  • Deb Dutilh

    Thanks for a great post, John. Why make things complicated with too much when simplifying with a few things that are well thought-out and established is more effective? Your advice to share what we do and what led us to wanting to do it makes the most sense to me, too.

  • Micky Deming

    Great wisdom! Thanks!

  • Joan

    John, this is good and hilarious at the same time. That is precisely the whole objective of content to effectively relate to your readers. As a writer this is one of the most difficult things to do in the genre of “marketing speak” and “business language.” It is far easier to tell a story. I also like the new “look” your site has, much easier to find the content with “less is more” design. :).

  • Sheetal Sharma

    Content can be used in many ways, a marketer needs to access every bit of information which can become a powerful tool for generating business, Kulwinder Singh is one such marketer who knows optimum use of content for marketing.