You’ve seen the conversation and heard the wild conjecture about the content apocalypse.
Let’s be honest. Marketing zombies caused this problem.
That’s right, you heard me. Marketing zombies.
Their undead shuffling has spammed the world with a ceaseless stream of bad posts, bad emails, bad white papers, and bad videos. Perfectly good marketers and writers have been bitten, turning into undead content machines, oozing black goop all over the interwebs.
You can see their moans all over Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
But the content apocalypse is just a cautionary horror story shared by marketers who are sick and tired of seeing their friends turn into zombies.
Here are eight of the most common myths shared by the zombie-fearing, spam-coated digerati:
1. People are sick of content
Myth: The undead shuffle will turn people away from the horror show, forever swearing off all content.
Research shows that increasing smartphone and tablet use is translating into demand for more media viewing choices. People want new, fresh content developed specifically for the evolving media devices they are using. (Hat tip to Shel Holtz.)
2. Google will punish all content creators
Myth: The mighty anti-venom created by Google in the form of Penguin and Panda updates will become so strong that all blogs will die!
Far from it.
The more natural and unique your content is, the more likely normal people will enjoy it. And as a result, so will Google.
Many of Google’s updates seek to reward well-referred, natural content while eliminating link schemes and duplicate content.
3. We can’t get away from content zombies
Myth: The plague of marketing zombies will forever clog our Internet pipes. There’s no way we can send magic clubs into the ethernet and hit them all in the head!
The Copyblogger team (and extended family of writers) never subscribes to violence. We do, however, encourage unsubscribing from content marketing zombies. Try it, you might find your social network experiences are more enjoyable.
4. The zombie moans are too loud
Myth: Our content can’t ever beat out the noise created by the marketing zombies!
Some of this is caused by people who have had success, but are no longer being read. Others perpetuate this myth after a short attempt at creating content.
The content zombies have attacked and are moaning out the same content! It’s time to fight back and differentiate!
Differentiating content that stands out requires a few distinct skill sets:
- Creative approaches to media production
- Strong headline writing
- New takes on topics
- Experience-based usefulness
These all work to make content special.
5. Only a superhero can beat the zombies
Myth: Without a well-known social personality producing content, we can’t rise above the moans!
Ok, this one’s definitely not true.
Influencer myths would have you believe that without a well-known blogger or established personality, you cannot create new content that will be read. Or, if you have one and they depart, you will sink into the zombie ooze.
In reality, readerships tend to be blood loyal to useful and entertaining content presented with undying consistency.
Readers share content and socially validate it with their friends and with search engines. If you have an established readership and you continue to produce great quality content without X personality, your content will still rise to the top.
In one case, I have a client who lost a well-known personality last year. We continued with blue chip writers who delivered pragmatic, useful intelligence week in and week out. Over the course of one calendar year, traffic literally quintupled.
Don’t believe the hype … you can beat the content zombies!
6. You have to pay to exterminate content zombies
Myth: Native advertising is the only way to rise above the content noise.
Native advertising seems to be the way most corporate types move so they can become heard above the zombie din. In truth, consumers are confused by sponsored content.
When it comes down to determining effectiveness, one study shows that sponsored content only works when it has context for the reader. Paying doesn’t get you more results unless the content is specifically engineered to serve the reader.
By the way, content that is not native advertising also falls to the wayside if it is not entertaining or useful. Notice the pattern that is emerging?
Bad content fails, sponsored or not.
7. The black ooze prevents content from producing results
Myth: Customers won’t use our content to buy because they don’t trust it … thanks to all of the free black zombie ooze on the interwebs!
The more strategic your marketing program is in its design, from usefulness to value, the more impact it will have. Create “Rainmaker content” and your business will see outcomes. Create “me too” content, like spammy blog posts, and watch the black ooze pour out of your social media accounts while the red ink seeps from the bottom line.
8. Once a zombie, always a zombie
Myth: Once you become a content zombie, you are forever infected and can never come back to humanity.
Whether it was Mark Schaefer’s originating content shock post, Shel Holtz’s passionate defense of content marketing, or our own Sonia Simone’s measured response, everyone focused on encouraging content creators to develop stronger, more differentiated products.
It’s never too late to improve content quality and stand out.
Are you running from the ooze, too? Let us know in the comments …
About the Author: Geoff Livingston is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop outstanding marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically for business and change.