I have a google alert set up for the phrase “content marketing.” As you might guess, I get a lot of results. This buzz phrase is tossed around left and right, and everyone claims to have the answer.
Although some of these articles have some useful information, a lot of them say the same old thing. Which got me thinking: why are we all regurgitating the same old junk?
It’s not just marketers. Small business owners are guilty, too. If you’re going to hire someone to write content, that person needs information about you and your business. He or she will ask for details about who you are, how your company works, what customers are asking about, and more. While this sounds like work, the point of hiring someone is (hopefully) so he or she does a good job. Sending links to other articles is not the same as speaking to you, digging into your brain, hearing your voice.
Let’s be honest: some content is still mostly for the search engines. And that’s OK.
But if you’re aren’t sure content marketing isn’t working, consider for a moment what you are offering: the same listicle they can find somewhere else. After all, your writer probably grabbed information from two or three other listicles and mushed it together to form your blog post. Again, that’s just fine from a search perspective. For some small businesses, search is the only goal and therefore, that approach produces desired results.
But if you want to stand out to real humans, you need to be unique. You need to offer what it is you have to offer: your story, YOU. What expertise do you have? What have you learned from doing this? What’s new?
As famed content marketer Ann Handley said, “The big missed opportunity in content is playing it too safe.” Her clients probably aren’t asking themselves if it’s working.
Here is a post I like, “How to Stand Out Among the Most Commonly Overdone Blog Topics.” These are valid suggestions to get you to stray from the norm. If you look at them you’ll realize the writer’s suggestion is forcing you to think a little more deeply.
I understand that for most small business owners, stretching like this is difficult. You’re busy. You’re probably happy to pay someone just to get it done, so you can check off that box. Depending on your goals, that might be just fine. Seriously.
But if, like me, you’re tired of reading (and writing) the same old thing, maybe it’s time to stop regurgitating and start thinking.