By Patti Podnar
Like most other content strategists, I spend a lot of time writing about what well-planned, well-executed content marketing can do for you, your brand, your product, etc.
One area that tends to be neglected, however, is what content marketing can’t do. Because, while content marketing has obliterated the barriers that used to make it hard for us to reach our target audience, it’s not a magic potion. Slapping lipstick on a pig doesn’t fool anybody: People still know a pig when they see one.
So let’s take a look at a few situations where even the very best content marketing can’t save you.
Your content is more fairy tale than fact
Mama was right: Lying leads to the Dark Side. Or maybe that was Vader. But you get my point.
Don’t lie. Saying something over and over doesn’t make it true. Not even when you’re plastering it all over social media. Sure, you might get people to believe you for a little while. But it won’t last — and that’s when the people who swallowed it will turn on you.
Because there are really only two explanations for why you would lie about your company and its products or services: Either you’re too dumb to realize the stuff you’re publishing has no basis in reality (bless your heart), or you think your audience is too dumb to catch on. Neither makes you look good.
It’s not much better if your message — while not an outright lie — isn’t the whole truth, either. Bragging that your peanut butter is gluten-free, for example, wouldn’t be untrue. But it wouldn’t be the whole truth, either, since (barring cross-contamination), all peanut butter is gluten-free. And your audience would end up wondering the same thing: Are you too dumb to know that peanut butter is naturally gluten-free, or do you think your audience is too dumb to know it?
Early in my career, when my future was still hidden in the futuristic mist, I used to look forward to getting the J. Peterman catalog more than I anticipated a new release by one of my favorite authors. The J. Peterman catalog didn’t just sell clothes; it sold possibilities. The details of the clothes paled in comparison to the stories of the people who wore them, and they made you believe, just for a minute, that you, too, could share that life.
Fortunately, J. Peterman products were pretty good. But what if they weren’t? Eloquent product descriptions might lure a few people to buy once, but they’d spot the deception pretty quickly. And they’d blame you for promising magic but delivering a shopping curse.
There is no message
Not all written content needs a purpose. Some writing is like art: It’s there to be enjoyed and admired. There are lots of places to publish that kind of content, but your blog isn’t one of them. Every single post on your blog should have a purpose. Identifying that purpose isn’t always as easy as it …read more
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