Here’s an oversimplified, kinda made-up history of content marketing.
Once upon a time, blog posts were just helpful. They were generous. And they had ads. Then the ad buyers got smarter. They made sure the ads were related to the content of the blog post. Then marketers realized, "Oh, holy night! People are commenting, sharing, and engaging with this content the way we wish they would with our ads.” So they made the blog posts the ads. Thus, content marketing!
It didn’t take long for many marketers to cross the line. Clickbait was born, continuing the lineage of manipulation that existed in newspaper headlines for years. Hyperbole became the entirety of the content under the guise of creating engagement. And the Internet became bloated with content that was no longer helpful.
But some content creators deliver quality content. It's purely helpful because they are purely generous. They create content with expertise and experience and give it away for free.
And their content rises above the noise. They go on to write best-selling books. Not because they sought to be best-selling authors, but because they had wisdom to share, and they shared it, and we wanted it. Being helpful works.
The thought process behind good content marketing aims to be helpful while providing a clear pathway for your audience to engage further. But since what's actually out there prioritizes quantity over quality and views over value, those blog posts and “funny” videos and clickbait listicles don't really mean anything or help anyone.
People will click the headline. But after they do, will your content make their lives better? If not, they won’t come back.
Unless you create your content marketing to help them, it won’t help you.
Written by Levi Bethune, Director of Brand Communication
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