The Future of Content Marketing: Why Click Bait Won’t Cut It

This past month, I had the pleasure of appearing in Entrepreneur Magazine as their Expert of the Month answering questions about entrepreneurship, public relations, marketing and social media. One of the articles that did particularly well on the website is the following article on the future of content marketing. 

Q: What is the future of content marketing?

A: More often than not, when I’m in New York City, journalists complain about the overwhelming amount of content they need to produce each day. Whether it is to feed their social-media channels or website, it’s a burden to produce the volume needed to satisfy the click-throughs to get the biggest slice of the advertising dollars that propel that industry forward.

In business the need to create “cool” content, likewise, employs lots of expensive marketers who produce a huge amount of content in the hope of getting one piece that will “go viral.”

Content marketing is unsustainable and will require a cultural shift and a corporate structure change to make it sustainable. The future of content marketing is high quality content created by people who are not employed within companies. The future of content marketing, I write in my book and am adamant about, is influencer marketing.

Brands, in a study by LinkedIn, claimed they have five big content marketing challenges:

  • Lack of time and bandwidth (51%)
  • Producing enough variety in content (50%)
  • Producing engaging content (42%)
  • Measuring effectiveness (38%)
  • Developing consistent content (34%)

There’s only going to be one response: We need to make less click-bait content and more high quality content. We need to learn to tell fewer stories but to tell them better. Doing so will ensure they are impactful when they happen. Finally, we need to turn to content creators to generate these stories.

Right now there are hundreds of thousands of professional content creators online who are looking to make money. These social-media influencers have built followings out of their ability to create content. Businesses are paying them to post about the business in one-off transactional engagements. The one-off model isn’t working for anyone: Businesses are unsatisfied with the majority of the results and influencers are constantly having to hustle to manage their business and create compelling content.

The future of content marketing is going to require a change in these transactional relationships. Doing so will improve both business content performance success and social media influencers financial well-being and curatorial focus. Here’s how you can get ahead of the curve:
Acknowledge you are not the world’s greatest content maker.

Your company is likely producing bad or ineffective content on most of its channels. The people running your content development teams are not natural content creators. They are marketers and your brand is not interesting enough to have a 24/7 news cycle.

Realize there are great content creators out there.

There are millions of social-media influencers who are great content creators for your niche audience. Hire five to seven of them to sit on a virtual team for your brand. Look on Trackr or Klout to see who is considered influenctial in your market. Educate them on your brand consistently: invite them to meetings, share your latest products, allow them to meet your executives.
Pay them a base salary and ask for RFPs.

Pay them a base salary, so that they will be constantly thinking about how to improve your brand and tell your story online. Tell them that you want to see two request for proposal (RFP) from them a year on creative ideas to differentiate your brand on the web. Remember, they are the experts and constantly online.
Trust them to be your content creators.

Accept their RFPs and believe in their ability to execute on your businesses content needs. If you have trained them the right way and given them the right access, they will be experts on your brand but at half the cost of an in-house team and with twice the experience. Worried that they don’t know how to translate business goals to content creation? You can teach them that too.

This is the future model:

  • Brands create less content.
  • Brands trust natural and proven content creators to act on their behalf.
  • Brands pay them on retainer.
  • Influencers rep only a limited number of brands because they can now afford to do so.
  • Brands reduce their social media footprint and instead rely on ambassador/content creator influencers to push their stories.

If we don’t make this change, we will continue to inundate the world with dumbed down content that does not deliver in the way our businesses need. Instead, we need to create a new model of content marketing that demonstrates real ROI.

The article was first published here.

What to Read This Month

As you know, I believe that the only way to be a good content creator is to be consuming a lot of content. I read at least a book a week and devour articles, podcasts and videos from across the web. It keeps me on my toes, making connections between great ideas, and challenging my ways of thinking.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about suburban living this month and the way it unnaturally isolates us; plus, I’ve been absorbing everything I can about the #sidehustle. You’ll see that reflected in the below.

  • The End of the Suburbs: This book is older (2014) but was a best-seller and should be a must read for anyone who struggles with suburban living, is wondering where to buy property or is confounded by life outside the urban oasis.
  • The Confidence Game: A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again. It’s a book that also helps you think about and navigate the world: what is manipulation? Who is doing it and who is falling for it? Are you thinking about the motivates of all the people in the room?
  • Ryan Holiday’s “Dear Dad, Please Don’t Vote for Trump” shows us what persuasive journalism is about and how to weave emotion into your writing.
  • Modern Love Podcast – Turns out my all time favorite column in the New York Times has a podcast where famous people read the best essays on love, relationships and break-ups. A huge thank you to the women of CEO Wattage who brought this to my attention.
  • Overcoming Your Ego – I must be on a Ryan Holiday kick because this episode of the Lewis Howes School of Greatness also stars him and concerns his new book on overcoming your ego. If your ego ever gets in the way of your success this is a must listen.
  • Startup Podcast – 2680 Madison Road: Ever wonder why some business locations seem doomed? This team did and went out to investigate how businesses fail. In this episode, they uncover the history of one “Doomed” location in Ohio.

And if you want to see what I’ve been writing, check out these two articles in Entrepreneur Magazine:

  • How to Launch your Business while Working Your 9-5
  • 3 Secrets to Making Your Videos a Success on Social Media

Now what are you reading this month? I’m always looking for ideas!