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.

How to Be A Great Social Media Content Creator: May Edition

A lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about how to be a great social media content creator. In the end, the secret to creating great social media content — or any content– is, as my friend Jennifer Braunschweiger says, to be an interesting person. In the spirit of interesting things, I’m going to share once a month the most interesting things that I have come across (mostly books – because I read a lot of books).

  • Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From. This book looks at the genius of good ideas and argues that good ideas come from play, from free associations and from stepping away from learning and/or working on occasion. [This is how I justify my expensive and time consuming kite boarding sessions— thanks Steven!]
  • Brit Bennett, The Mothers. This is not a novel for those looking for a beach read. This is a great novel about love and loss and regrets and choices. It’s fiction that we need to read because we all need to understand – we need to see a strong woman who makes choices about her life and her education and her love reflected in the tribulations of her family and community. We need to see her make choices we are uncomfortable with and we need to see her not regret them, but not ignore them. The way she comes to terms with the love lost, the baby lost and the life lost is familiar to any of us who have left behind one small vision of life in favor of another and who have had to deal with a community who did not understand. I don’t want to say it’s a travel book, although it is – as we travel through Nadia’s choices and decisions. I don’t want to say it’s a love story, but it is – as we are forced to wrestle with worlds we love and hate, as much as the characters face their own loves. I don’t want to say its counter culture, but it is that too – as we are forced to understand that husbands can cheat and wives can accept, as babies left unborn can live on in our lives, and as mothers can kill themselves but remain forever in the lives of their daughters.
  • Michael Hyatt, Platform. This book is a straightforward story of how to create and build a platform. It’s filled with tips for people of all levels of success and experience and shares how to think about platform as a stepping stone to other things. That combined with a Teachable summit webinar by Tucker Max has helped shape my perception about the role for individuals in creating platforms — in short: create a platform to change your possibilities but have a good understanding of where you want to get to. Otherwise, your social media platform creation is for  going to be wasted.
  • Lin Manuel Miranda’s Commencement Speech: This first taught me somethings about Philly that I had never known and second makes an impassioned argument for why we step outside the narratives we have been taught to believe and have embraced for ourselves – whether it has to do with love stories or immigrant stories. While I might be a third generation immigrant, I still tear up when people talk about the can do spirit of immigrant culture – we hustle because we have to and because it pays off. Immigrants built this country.
  • Alan Watts interpreted by the South Park Creators: Basically this short film sums up everything I am currently ruminating on at a big meta level. I’m not even going to ruin it for you. Just read it because it is absolutely amazing.

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