I located this old blog post of mine from 2014 and was impressed with how well it’s stood up over time, especially considering it was in response to another blogger’s hot topic post. Take a look and see what you think: is Mark’s opinion just as valid four years later? Is mine? Let me know in the comments!
We content marketers tend to lapse into that now and then, don’t we? But, it got your attention. Read on, and I’ll explain:
It all started with a fair idea and a fantastic headline…
A few days ago, Mark Schaefer, a marketing thought leader for whom I have tons of respect, and the brains and fingertips behind the Businesses Grow blog, put out a great article discussing the very real fact that it’s becoming harder and harder to attract attention in an increasingly noisy world, and eventually a lot of businesses who fail to do so will likely throw in the towel.
But he didn’t call his post, “It’s getting harder to attract attention” or “Content Marketing is getting harder” or anything so banal. Instead, he went with, “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is Not a Sustainable Strategy“.
And holy crow! Did Mr. Schaefer open up a whole can of “whatsup?!?!” from the content marketing community. It really felt like a war was starting. Most notable (at least in my relatively unread estimation) are the dissenting comments from industry leaders Brian Clark, Robert Rose, Joe Pulizzi, and Joe Chernov, all of which took exception to Mark’s seemingly gloomy outlook on the future of their hard earned careers. Brian Clark almost sounded like he wanted to pop Mark Schaefer in the old schnoz.
Now — not that any of them care, but — I’d just like to go on record to say everyone who chimed in to what became (at the point I’m writing this) a 206-comment marathon discussion, including Mark Schaefer, made excellent points. And, in different ways, I agree with all of them. If you’re interested, I’ll plug a quick paragraph or two on the bottom of this post to let you know my thoughts on the future of content marketing based on Mark’s post.
But the real point I wanted to make here is simply this:
Mark Schaefer pissed off a lot of professional marketers by playing the old Jedi headline trick.
Now, granted, he backs up his headline statement with some very valid points throughout the post, and I’m not taking anything away from that. But, as he states over and over again in his responses to the comments the post generated, he wasn’t really saying that content marketing is “dying” or “doomed” or anything else nearly that final or disastrous.
But his headline said exactly that, to the right audience.
The readers Mark’s trying to reach with his blog (and very successfully, as is obvious from just this post) are professional marketers who care for potentially billions of dollars in collective marketing budgets. These folks take marketing very seriously. And in 2014, that means they take contentvery seriously.
So when someone comes in and calls your Momma fat, well… you tend to take it personally.
His headline worked. He sparked interest in a bunch of folks who — I can guarantee you — skip a lot of trash content all day every day. His post went on to rile up emotions in a bunch of folks who already know the Jedi mind tricks that make that happen. And his continued conversation with each and every commentor (with the same level of aplomb and courtesy, regardless of their relative position on the industry totem pole) was and is a fantastic all-around example of how to do this blogging thing right.
Bravo, Mr. Schaefer.
My two cents…
If you want my opinion, after reading the Content Shock post, here it is:
No, content marketing is not dead. No, it’s not dying. No, it’s not even starting to get a little tired. As a matter of fact, content marketing as a modern industry is still in its youth.
But, it is constantly changing. It is far different than it was just a few short years ago, and no doubt in a few years it will be different still.
But what’s really changing, more than anything else, are the methods, the channels, the technology involved in creating, distributing, and consuming content.
The basic tenets of good, quality marketing are not changing. The basic tenets of good, quality content are not changing.
The game is changing, sure. But if it didn’t, who’d want to be a part of it? How boring would that be?