Content marketing died a long time ago–not too long after it made a big splash. The promise that we would move from an outbound world to an inbound one, where prospective clients would find your content and be drawn to working with you, was a wonderful premise. But as with many things marketing, it didn’t turn out to be quite that simple. And of course everyone got on the same bus.
No platform illustrates this better than Linkedin. They employed a fairly restrictive curation policy up until two years ago, after which the unwashed masses were all authors whether we wanted to read their stuff or not. Now, 160,000 posts appear every day, and one of ever 2,000 users publishes something and it’s available to all 300,000,000 users if it gets enough likes and comments and Linkedin picks it up in The Pulse.
I don’t really want to get into the Linkedin situation too much, but every time I go back to my account there I see dozens of new posts, very few of which I’m interested in reading. Why? Because they are chock full of content rather than insight.
The world is overrun with content. We need less content and more insight, and here’s the difference:
- When I read content, I move on and forget it. When I read insight, I can’t leave without agreeing or disagreeing. It forces a divide in the audience. They know what you believe and they think you’re misguided or insightful. There’s no middle ground. When I forward insight to someone, I’ll accompany it with a note about how good it is or how bad it is. When I forward content…oh, wait, I don’t!
- About one-half of your agency people can write content but only about one-fourth (or less) can write insight. Insightful authors have a broader experience, they make value judgments, and they aren’t afraid of offending someone for the right reasons.
- When I hit “send” for content, I’m worried about typos. When I hit “send” for insight, I’m worried about how it will be received. If I’m not nervous about the reception for what I’m writing, then it’s not insight. It’s helpful content instead.
- Wikipedia is content. The WSJ or NYT is insight.
Publishing insight will hasten a clarified audience. Those who wouldn’t hire you anyway disagree and go away. Those who might be open to your insight will love you even more.
There’s more content pollution than environmental pollution in some parts of the world, and I hope we’re doing our part in making the world of insight a better place.