Customers Don’t Want Your Content

Key to content marketing: help customers become smarter.

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)

Owning a Tablesaw Doesn’t Make You a Carpenter

As with the desktop publishing myth, a company can purchase all of the software and mine all the data, only to discover that it is the talent, experience, creativity, skills and intelligence of the people using those tools that will determine the success or failure of an organization’s marketing.

The current Hammock Idea Email uses several analogies that remind us of something we should all know by now, but keep trying to convince ourselves isn’t true: that “tools” are only as good as the people who use them. Don’t just “get” tools. Learn how to use them.

What “desktop publishing” was to the 1990s, “content marketing” or “social media marketing” can be to today. As with the desktop publishing myth, a company can purchase all of the software and mine all the data, only to discover that it is the talent, experience, creativity, skills and intelligence of the people using those tools that will determine the success or failure of an organization’s marketing.

(I encourage you to read the rest: “Great marketing isn’t the result of the tools you use. Great marketing is the result of who’s using the tools.“)

How would you define your content strategy?

“Content is kind of a wanky term, which we have got to reframe. It’s commoditized, overused and misunderstood. (Our approach is) brand expression, it’s storytelling. What we’re trying to do is be topical, be loved, be endearing, be enduring and always, always try to surprise and delight. That’s the outcome we desire, what keeps us up at night and excited.”

Peter McGuinness
Chief Marketing Officer, Chobani
(via: Digiday)