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Crap: the single biggest threat to B2B content marketing

All the surveys show the same trend: 90% of marketers plan to spend a lot more on content this year than they did last year. (God knows what the other 10% are planning).

It doesn’t take America’s Next Top Model to tell you that this adds up to a big boatload of content coming our way. As consumers and buyers, we’ll all be targeted by a tidal wave of eBooks, blog posts and infographics. And as marketers, we’ll all be competing against a Mississippi of meaningful material.

This new Slideshare rant is all about this problem — and the only solution to it.  I won’t spoil your fun; click away — full-screen mode is advised.

As always, your comments are not just welcome, they’re eagerly awaited and received with a level of gratitude bordering on the unseemly.

 

Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. from Velocity Partners

There’s a guest post on Hubspot called The Content Marketing Deluge that expands on this piece and addresses the question: aren’t we already in the midst of the Deluge?

And one on Marketing Profs that goes a bit deeper into the Six Principles of Great Content Brands.

This piece went kind of viral on us, so I wrote about the excitement of that ride in this post, Behind the Crap.

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38 Responses to “Crap: the single biggest threat to B2B content marketing”

  1. Mary Schmidt

    So we can now expect all those instant social media experts to instantly and magically “rebrand” (ally Kazam!) themselves social content experts? Oh. Boy.
    And, it tickles me that one of the “crap” problems noted is “me too” and now I’m going to share this via social media….me too. :)

  2. Stephanie Tilton

    Thanks for the frightening yet necessary wake-up call, Doug. This is one prediction that should catch the attention of all marketers – yikes!

  3. David Eden

    You know I’ve said for years that less is more and now you’ve proved it – even if you needed 50 slides inclduing one with a VERY suggestive image on it and some bad English ;-)

  4. Bob Apollo

    Shit. I shared this before reading the previous comments. Apres moi la deluge. Anyone who creates or consumes B2B content needs to read this. And go out and buy a batch of those convenient reversible plastic bags. Let’s make the sidewalks of B2B marketing safe for pedestrians again.

    p.s. Doug, that’s not to suggest I regard you as pedestrian. Anything but, in fact…

  5. Doug Kessler

    Thanks Steph, David and Bob.

    David – I think I can guess the suggestive image but where’s the bad English?
    Won’t be the first time.

    Bob – content poo bags. love it.

    Thanks for the ‘props’ (whatever props means).

  6. Joe Pulizzi

    Thanks Doug…I agree, but also will say that this has been happening for a long, long time…and…media companies are too blame as well as they dive into more curation and less research-based pieces. Publishing is quick and easy today without barriers to entry, so it will only get worse.

    At the same time, to your point, there is a big opportunity for those who can tell a different story.

    Exciting times.

  7. Bob Apollo

    Doug, as A A Milne once said (I don’t think I’ve ever kicked off a piece of content with that phrase before) “Pooh sticks!” He may not have used an exclamation mark in the original.

  8. John Sweeney

    Hi Doug,

    I often wonder up here from the depths of the marketing automation engine room where I ply my trade for a bit of fresh air. Great content really is central to demand generation success but all too often is overlooked in the race to automate. The problem seems to be that most of us marketers are in a hurry to get stuff done. As we are right at the start of the year our list of stuff to do is very long. If we reduce the list by half is that “half the crap” or does something else begin to happen?

  9. Justin Zacks

    Man, Doug you’re really hitting your stride. This one elicited exactly 8 loud belly laughs and 6 heads poking around cube doors to see what was causing the commotion. Keep it coming! And, of course, I couldn’t agree with your point more.

  10. Mike Essex

    Love these slides so much! Great work Doug. One thing that I’d like to see a lot more of in 2013 is long content and investigative journalism. This doesn’t just have to be on newspapers or sites with large content teams. I’d much rather read one long post that covers a topic fully than 20 separate posts that only cover bits of it (and sometimes contradict each other).

    One thing we tried at the Koozai blog was to reduce our blog posts from publishing three a day to two a day but with the same time to write them (so more time per post). It went so well we reduced it again to one post going live each day (but with the same time we originally spent on three) and we split the posts so a different person writes each day. We found that longer content would work better than lots of smaller pieces and I can’t recommend it enough. We also started creating whitepapers for really long topics (which took anywhere from two days to two weeks solid to write and edit) and they helped us attract the biggest clients we’ve ever seen.

    Simply put, less is more and make sure that the ‘less’ is epic.

  11. Barry Feldman

    Doug,
    I’ve gone from wanting to write like you to wanting you out my way. I have hit out on you now. Was nice knowing you.

  12. Billy Mitchell

    Reading your work is like watching a great athlete on game film. It’s both inspiring and challenging at the same time.
    You make all of us wanting to win at business, and the business of marketing, want to raise our game. Thanks for that Doug!

    p.s. This business is my sport. And pros like you make it much more fun. Cheers!

  13. Mary

    Useful, entertaining and worth the time investment!
    I’m pretty sure “props” is short for “propers” is short for “proper respect”.
    Mad props, Doug.

  14. Hunter Boyle

    Great, now that Joe P and Robert R stole my thoughts, I also have to join the “me too” perp walk! ;-)

    Love this warning shot. I agree and am seeing the same trends (side note: nobody wants the “content is king” cliche to die faster than I do) and it will get worse, but the best of the best will stand out — and the competition is healthy for that reason.

    And if we’re being honest, let’s admit that half-assed marketing mucks up a lot of cool shite (SEO, social) But that’s a topic for another preso/post. Thanks for this one!

  15. Brent Baltzer

    This is an excellent post and I agree totally. There are all of these studies with charts and graphs out there that show that as you release content, revenues and leads increase exponentially (see Hubspot). It makes it seem as if you just need to release lots of content without regard for quality. This is unfortunate for marketers who create great content as well as for the consumer who is burdened with this deluge of crap… it just makes it harder to find the good stuff. So building a Great Content Brand is the way to rise above the stench, huh? I agree. Good work will always win. Thanks for the post!

  16. John Miller

    Pure brilliance. The definition of content marketing seems quite muddled, and this is an outstanding manifesto for a little definition purity. (We have more thoughts on our blog: http://www.scribewise.com/blog). Thank you for saying this, and for saying it so well!

  17. Angelique

    Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

    Perhaps you’d like to create a related presentation about the ways companies GET great content. Because we all know what’s about to happen: TPTB at various companies will see this slideshare, get frightened into caring about the content of their “content,” tell their minions to procure “great content,” and NOT INCREASE THE BUDGET. So the minions will call their offshore content-producers, who pay their writers .057643 cents per word, and say, “We need better content!” and the offshore content producers will say, “Sure!” and continue to send the best content one can buy for .057643 cents per word, because TPTB DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

    So perhaps you can find a way to convince TPTB to budget enough to hire professional writers, or experts in their fields who happen to also be good writers. This will greatly benefit everyone involved!

  18. Ashley Friedlein

    Firstly, it’s clearly very important that you have come up with some new TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms):
    MDS = Marketing Defense Systems
    CED = Content Effluent Deluge
    GCB = Great Content Brand

    These are what really matter ;)

    As ever a great piece. One thing I’d add… Maybe, in all this, Google is actually our friend? How much of all this content is actually found/discovered via Google? A lot more, still, than many might think. And Google is now getting pretty good, with all its clever ‘signals’, of filtering the good from the bad in terms of content.

    Econsultancy content gets ripped off, copied, republished all the time. But we don’t bother doing anything about it as a) it would be an endless, thankless, fruitless task and b) barely anyone ever sees that content because Google is smart enough to know it should send people our way, not their way.

  19. Rich Monroe

    Great thoughtful presentation and right on target! It seems over the past several years much more time is spent sifting through online content, separating the wheat from the chaff (or as you say CRAP). Thank you!

  20. Georgina

    Doug, your content on content marketing is slightly overtargeted. Not sure how many of the male readers of (and commenters on) this presentation managed to get a compact mirror out of their handbags, but I, for one, have neither compact mirror nor handbag. A bottom drawer, yes, but it’s too full of unpublished novels to fit a compact mirror in.

    Okay, yeah, I’m kidding. But only about the novels.

  21. Charlie

    50 pages to explain something 1 paragraph was already too much for. This is a prime example of crap.

  22. sean randles

    frankly, a 50 slide powerpoint presentation is CRAP.
    the real trend is the disintermediation of the traditional agency model.. time to stop hiding behind so called superior quality as a reason to charge ridiculous prices….

  23. Sidney Peck

    Bravo, Doug! After a lengthy conversation about this very subject, Rich Monroe suggested I read this. Our talk focused on my dismay over the endless schlock being spewed out by amateurs, which is driving down compensation for professional scribes like myself. I don’t know if I share your optimism, but…a girl can always hope! Great site, by the way!

  24. Eric Lancheres

    Excellent presentation, I went through the entire 50 slides and kept on thinking: “whoever created this really GETS it”

    I have come to the same conclusion (that everyone is creating a ton of content… and the only way to rise to the surface is to create something truly exceptional).

    Love it!

    p.s. You might want to get rid of that tag cloud, it creates a lot of duplicate content/thin content issues that Panda will penalize.

  25. Richard Owen

    Very well written post, writing with some humour is greatly appreciated in the online marketing world.

  26. Tony Fingers

    Can someone tell Brian Clark of Copyblogger to read this friggin post NOW! MG! (My God), the man never tires of “content marketing” as a cliche.

  27. Gerry

    “The type that blows people’s socks off, then sells them slippers”

    That is copywriting gold. I will have to use that line myself.

    I think in life we shouldn’t get too stressed by external forces. Everything said here is true. We just need to focus on what we ourselves can control.

  28. Mike Sagar

    Consumers WILL switch off if marketers duplicate the same messages that are being fast forwarded on TV. Always remember “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”, and “the trouble with mass market advertising is that it fights for our attention by interrupting us, and we are just too busy in our lives to enjoy being interrupted anymore”…. BOTH these quotes were said pre Internet, Google, Youtube, Social Media etc..

    We now produce as much content in 2 days as we did from the dawn of civilisation to 2003. The deluge HAS CERTAINLY STARTED!

    BUT content, certainly more of it is NOT what we need. It needs to be focused and respond to PULL not PUSH ideals. Analytics will become increasingly sexy and important for us to mine all the data which is already there to help us tailor the content and make it more of a relationship/dialogue and enhance the Customer Experience.

  29. Chef LeeZ

    Advertorials, slidescreens, GWD presentations,Flash all have one thing in common and that is they have always contributed to the crap clogging the net. Consumers learn quickly to ignore and click off. Perhaps there is a subliminal message left but if it’s as rude (difficult to remove) as some advertorials are then the consumer experiences frustration and even anger and the adds leave a negative impact.

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