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Nontent: Content That Fails to Connect or Convert

By definition, the “content” in content marketing should be relevant and provide value to your audience. Why the endless supply of content that doesn’t connect or convert? Content marketing strategist Barry Feldman puts an end to this nontent.

Barry Feldman Nontent

For every quart of content, there’s at least a gallon of nontent.

Consume at your own risk. Try not to waste too much of your caloric intake on crap.

Does anyone really need this much nontent? Penis nicknames. Hands drawing words on a whiteboard to spell out what the announcer guy is saying? Forty-five-minute infomercials posing as webinars?

Uuuuuuuuuuggggh.

It’s so nonsensical. Though officially content can be anything, we commune here today to talk about marketing. Content marketing, right?

Please agree, it’s really not content marketing if the majority of it is disposable garbage. Useless babble won’t help you make any real connections. And you can just forget about conversion.

If you’re marketing, nontent won’t do.

Nontent. Nonnection. Nonversion.

My spell checker’s freaking out. These are not really words. But they should be. And you don’t need a dictionary, do you? Each definition is the opposite of what it would have meant if it started with a “c.”

Let’s get into some nontent now.

Here you go. My thoughts on the subjects are presented as slides and written about below. You’ll love this nonsense.

Please click along now.

First things first. What’s “content marketing?”

We’re going to be talking a lot about it here where it’s become one of the gears driving the iAcquire machine, so let’s agree to work with the Content Marketing Institute’s definition. Personally, I could go for a few less words, but this’ll get us rolling just fine.

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Thank you. Please note the content part. Please note the marketing part. Please note if your stuff ain’t valuable, relevant and consistent, it’s nontent. If it’s not driving profitable customer action, it’s not marketing.

This is nontent.

I couldn’t make a slide deck about nontent and not show you what it looks like. Sorry, but I snagged some stinky stuff. I tried my best to be sensitive and (1) grab the worst of worst, and (2) steer clear of the sources (because I wouldn’t want to offend any nontent producers).

Useless lists. Penis nicknames? My favorite’s not even in there. If this is content, who’s it for? Bad comedians?

Useless lists are so rampant, I’ve grown numb to them. But don’t get me wrong. Us order-oriented humans love lists. Please feel free to make them if you believe they serve a purpose for your prospects and clients.

Horribly amateur ebooks. Yeah, ebooks make for good entrees. But everything’s not ebook edible.

Go ahead and edit your big ideas into the pictorial version of what we used to call white papers, but do so with care please. Forty pages of dung is dung no matter what you call it.

“Dig me” websites. If you know me, you know I am 100 percent pro personal branding. However, bragging doesn’t qualify as personal branding. I’d no sooner call myself a “thought leader,” than introduce myself as brilliant, or gorgeous or rich. It’s arrogant and obnoxious.

If you have big ideas that inspire people to tune in, you probably deserve a website. Compose that thing with some class—and humility.

Whiteboard videos. I pick on whiteboard videos because I despise them. They insult my intelligence. But it’s just one flavor of lame video.

Yes, okay, the YouTube generation has lowered the bar on production standards. You can stammer your way through a video and still deliver valuable content. By all means, go ahead. Video marketing can be awesome. Don’t drag it down with hacks.

Slides from hell. Heavens, wasn’t it yours truly that just a few weeks ago gave a lesson on the value of using SlideShare? It was.

Slide decks have become a great storytelling technique for use on the web. I propose you make them a vital part of your content marketing program. While doing so, I propose you don’t smatter them with statistics, charts and details I will be unable to decipher without a narrator.

Slimeball webinars. Ever been sucked into a webinar by a great title and a speaker bio that sounds credible only to get there and find you’re sitting through an infomercial? I find it offensive when sales webinars are disguised as content marketing.

Webinars are an awesome tool for delivering useful content. And yes, they’re also valuable for giving product demos, sales pitches, training and more. Have any kind of webinar you want. I only ask when you’re promoting it, explain exactly what it is. When you lure people into a sales webinar described as a free lesson, you shouldn’t surprised to lose the prospects forever more.

Infographics (with no useful info). In the age of the infographic epidemic, wanna-be marketers are producing an amazing amount of nontent.

I declare my love for infographics in “The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics,” while also explaining why they are so powerful and how to create them. I’m an infographic creator and consumer and so I believe when you have great information to present graphically, you should. When you don’t, please don’t.

Thoughtless curation. I go off on this pet peeve in “Is Curation Noise of News?” and also explain how to make your curation count. Why? Because I don’t want content marketing to turn a gun on itself. When content creators keep cranking the volume only in the name of volume, the noise sends people packing.

You can inject a lot of value in your marketing mix by sharing great content, however, a relentless string of links to posts and content you never read or have nothing to say about is thoughtless curation in my book.

Mindless memes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re visual creatures. Images have more stopping power than words. People take in pictures far faster. Sharing increases. Plus, we all welcome the smiles, chuckles and “awwwwws” we get from the cute, funny or touching combination of a caption and photo or illustration. Still, a credible content marketer needs to draw the line between fluff and substance and stay on the right side of it.

Press releases. I suspect I’ll take some flack for this one, but hear me out. I don’t condone the use of press releases as part of your marketing agenda. The release remains a convention of news media that can work for you. Obviously, in the new media world, press releases can be distributed efficiently and can take flight fast.

So, when you have news, by all means, release it. With the proliferation of content marketing, it pains me to see ad copy crammed into press releases. And, also, even if you come from a PR background, I don’t believe your content marketing strategy should be built on press releases or feature them prominently.

Ever get out of bed in the morning and think, “I can’t wait to read a press release?”

I feel so much better now.

It always feel good to go on a nice rant. If you’re still here, perhaps my rant was even a bit entertaining.

But after all that, I really don’t want to risk being a purveyor of nontent. So in an effort to be a helpful, responsible citizen of the content marketer galaxy, I’m going to leave you with a graphic I believe labels the ingredients of great content.

Nontent Barry Feldman

  • http://www.iacquire.com/ lkasanicky

    Great rant Barry! Totally with you. Enough of this nontent.

  • http://www.strongwordscreative.com/ Pete Gentzler

    Good stuff, Barry. Totally agree! But, you beg the question, “what IS your favorite penis nickname”?

    • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

      “Wally Wally.” Got it from a great Bill Cosby routine. I guess you write a post about nontent you’re bound to talk nonsense in the comments ;-)

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