Content Marketing Taken Over by Zombies

by Meryl K Evans | Category: Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Newspaper Zombie 221x300 Content Marketing Taken Over by ZombiesZombies are in. I think its popularity started with PopCap Games’ “Plants vs. Zombies,” which took up many hours of what little free time I had. Now, I wasn’t the likely candidate to be a fan of the game because I’m so not a fan of horror. Yet PopCap created a cute and fun game.

Yes, I said cute in referring to a game with brain-eating creatures. C’mon. It has a dancing zombie with backup dancers. Admit it. That’s cute.

Zombies Everywhere

That’s the extent of my interest in zombies. I will not read “World War Z.” I will not view its movie. And I will not check out “The Walking Dead” no matter how many folks rave about it. I didn’t even want to check out “Under the Dome” knowing its author was Stephen King. (I read the reviews that said it wasn’t horror. Instead of the horror thing, I feared being left hanging. Sure ‘nough, it wasn’t horror and they friggin’ left us hanging!)

Anyhoo.

“But, Meryl! I don’t like horror either and I love the show,” friends said.

Thank goodness I have a trusty husband in Paul. I sent him on a dangerous mission: Watch “The Walking Dead” alone and report back.

He did. The man knows me better than I do. (Mostly.) Paul advised against watching it and explained why. He was right. Me no likey.

Like the popularity of “The Walking Dead,” marketers have jumped into content marketing in growing numbers like the multiplying zombies in “World War Z.”

Missing: Content Marketing Brains … If found, please contact your local marketer

Based on evidence of the quality of content — or lack thereof — out there … some marketers let the content marketing trend guide them rather than their brains. (Maybe zombies got to them.)  Like anything that catches on, folks hop on without giving a thought whether it’s the right thing, or doing any planning.

That’s happening with content marketing.

And a lot of content marketing is crap. (Please excuse my rare cussin’. This still calls for it.) Not only is it crap, but also it’s delivered to the wrong folks, at the wrong time, in the wrong place or all of the above.

Or they’re not doing true content marketing. They’re selling. Just look at these stats Steve Olenski found and shared in The Catastrophic Social Media Content Marketing Mistake Marketers Are Making.

Econsultancy Main Objectives for Paid Digital Media Sept20131 Content Marketing Taken Over by Zombies

Here’s his explanation why this is catastrophic:

It means that marketers are putting more emphasis on selling than they are at establishing relationships with consumers via branding.

It means that marketers would rather try and sell you something than say tell you a story.

It means that marketers are only in “it” to increase their bottom line.

What Content Marketing Really Is

Per the last bullet — Olenski knows the whole point is to make money for the business. He explains:

When I am asked for my definition of content marketing, I usually include the phrase “guns blazing” as in “you cannot go into a relationship and maintain a relationship with a consumer guns blazing. You have to engage, relate to, share relevant content with your audience and yes integrate your ‘guns’ AKA your product, into your overall content marketing strategy.”

It cannot be sell, sell, sell at every single turn.

And Michael Brenner makes these points about the future of content marketing:

Quantity content WITH Quality to support the growing information needs of our customers.

Brands will resemble publishers and assemble newsrooms and hire or train journalists who can tell stories and contribute to major publications.

Sponsored stories. Brands will continue to create more quality sponsored content that is buyer-centric and that removes the brand from the story. (Emphasis mine.)

Content length will continue downward as our real-time, mobile world seeks smaller, more “snackable” and more “shareable” content.

Good quality is always a must. But the rest of it (quantity, what to provide, etc.) depends on target market *needs*. Brenner reaffirms what Olenski said. I applaud his last point about content length. I don’t care how great a story someone tells. I rarely read a 2,000-word story. (Not counting books, of course.) I disagree with folks who say that a person should use as many words as needed to tell a story. Some publications can get away with it — and that’s because they know their audience and deliver what they crave.

Even though a lot of content is crap, there’s still a lot of it out there and some of it valuable. I’d rather have a buffet of content in small portions than eat one dish and get bored with it.

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5 comments

  • Posted by Lori on October 10th, 2013, 7:41 AM

    Meryl, I could kiss you. Well, for several reasons — first, the World War Z zombie stuff (agree); for recognizing bandwagon jumping (are we sick of vampires yet?); for calling crap crap, and; for pointing out that most marketers these days are basically coasting. I’ve seen some pretty lame examples of what many think “marketing” is. A few marketing companies are so bad at it, I’m surprised their clients don’t spot the deception.

    I get sick of the over-sell. Moreover, I say something when it happens. My husband is a ready-made bullshit meter–he can spot double-speak and over-sell in a heartbeat. And he’s very, very vocal about it.

    We can’t live without relationships. I go to the same grocery store every week not because they’re the best in town (they’re not) but because I know the people working there and they engage me. It takes so little effort to treat someone like a friendly acquaintance. That’s all a marketer needs to do to gain trust, yet it’s the last thing they do, isn’t it?

  • Posted by Meryl K Evans on October 10th, 2013, 8:03 AM

    Thanks, Lori. Indeed — many marketers are abusing the content marketing concept that we now have another name for selling: egocentric content marketing. Like I said, I was lucky to learn the value of content marketing way back in 2002 when Hank Stroll of InternetVIZ.com and I connected. He was ahead of his time.

    We used to feel the same way about the pharmacy in the grocery store. We knew most of the staff and they were always friendly. Then all the people we knew left and the staff we didn’t know made a huge error TWICE with one of our meds. Now, we go wherever is convenient. If we had a better relationship, we would’ve been more forgiving of the mistakes. (Even the $25 gift card didn’t buy back our loyalty — which they didn’t give us until the second error.) Yet I’ve forgiven other businesses for mistakes simply because of a good relationship. We’re two peas, Lori!

  • Posted by Stuart Davidson on January 30th, 2014, 3:48 AM

    Meryl you maven! ;)

    I had to add this one to my content awards, as I found it unique and superbly written.

    Good job – I published the list of 50 that made the cut here:

    http://stuartjdavidson.com/digital-marketing-awards/

    – Stuart

  • Posted by Meryl K Evans on January 30th, 2014, 7:37 AM

    As I mentioned in your blog — I’m honored! Thank you, Stuart.

  • Posted by Ivan Widjaya on March 17th, 2014, 1:40 AM

    That’s because too many marketers are doing content marketing the wrong way. Usually, they come up with lots of content with no goal. They also don’t take the reader into consideration.

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