Trending Now

Words as cover ups for content marketing’s “secret”

I remember about a year or so ago when I promised myself (and my audience) that I was going to harness my blogging. I started getting into posts that were longer than necessary. Couple that with my penchant for run-on sentences and, well, it gets kinda rough at times. I promised I would cap myself at 250 words. Why? It was too many words and too much “talking”.

Today, I am focusing on content in its purest sense more than ever. As a result, I have been dipping my toe into the industry for the past several months. Needless to say, it looks like I may not be the only one having trouble with words.


Image by jovike via Flickr

I have tried to find definitions of online content and keep bumping into the idea of content curation. (Even typing the word makes my Word program identify it as something that is not correct or normal–maybe Microsoft is smarter than I thought.) I also find a lot of what I call $50 words. Words that are more comfortable in academia than they are in real life. Words that are more about impressing the industry than they are about moving anything forward. I am talking about words and phrases like “predefined sets of criteria,” constituents, keystones–and the list goes on.

What these words do is show the simple truth about what we are doing around content, content marketing and content (gulp) curation. We are trying to make content as confusing as search marketing and other Internet marketing practices. Why? Beats me. I guess it’s to create “barriers to entry” (did you like that one?) into the industry. Maybe it’s job security. I don’t really know.
These big dollar terms try to cover up the one fact about all of this content theory: You don’t need a marketing degree or any other degree to do it. You just need to care about what your audience is interested in and work to satisfy it.
Wow, there you go. I just blew the lid off the content marketing “industry.” Write what people like to read, make videos about what they find interesting, and talk to them in social networks like they are human beings and not prospects. I came up with all that and I didn’t call myself an expert once! Woo-hoo!
In this day and age of so much technology and so much noise, it is more important than ever to follow the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Why? Because you will stick out like a refreshing sore thumb among the $50 word set. Oh and you may actually get some work done with a client or two along the way.
Here’s to keeping it simple and avoiding the great word cover up that is “content marketing.”
(By the way, I have once again slaughtered my “250 word” rule and I apologize. I just have a big mouth.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Avatar James Mathewson

    Hi Frank,
    While I agree that a lot of writing about content is confusing and unnecessarily complex or sophisticated, I don’t think this is intentional. We learn to write from academics. To the extent tat we are successful, we unlearn a lot of their bad habits. Too few people ever get to the point where their prose is as clear as Hemmingway’s. To me, this is just more opportunities for me to try to help them (and myself) become better writers.
    As far as SEO and content curation go, I think they both have gotten a bad rap. SEO need not be something that is akin to spamming–cramming keywords into a page to attract a broad audience. It should infuse the very essence of writing. Keyword research is the writer’s eye and ears into the marketplace. It just needs to happen at an earlier phase than it typically does.
    Curation is a new thing, so we don’t have a lot of shining examples of it, unfortunately. Te concept is much better than the execution, to wit: to bulid highly relevant experiences for audiences by aggregating the top content from around the Web on a topic and building context around it. I hope to match theory and practice more closely in my work, and to continually refine the practice by iterating on it.

  2. Avatar Frank Reed

    Thanks for checking in.
    I am reading your book right now (Audience, Relevance and Search – Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content) in fact and it is a very interesting read.
    As you can tell, I am far from being an academic and I readily admit that I have no formal training as a writer. I suspect my sentence structure is a dead giveaway for that.
    To me writing is a heartfelt activity even in the dry world of B to B communications. Everyone needs to take in information in a way that fits their personal tastes and abilities. Because of each person’s differing tastes this makes it tough at times to accomplish. But forced writing is very obvious and not engaging (to me at least) so I have to stick to where my expressive qualities are allowed to dominate the writing.
    There are no simple answers and certainly no true templates for how to write for an audience be it offline or online. Maybe we should just drop the idea that what we write must have mass appeal to be effective. I am a big proponent of quality over quantity so I learning that how I write is how I write and certain people like it while others don’t. That’s cool. It’s a big world out there!
    As for the whole content curation idea I stand by my statement. I think it’s an industry insider term that should stay there. I know I will avoid it as best I can! The concept is great but the MBA / ivory tower terminology will not help a lot of people. If I used that phrase with my clients I would get a glazed over look and I try to avoid those ;-).
    Thanks again! I look forward to learning more from you.

  3. Avatar Online auction sites

    yes targeting the right audience is the most important part. so to do so you need to have a good content to regarding your audience so they get impressed and buy from you…

  4. Avatar leather armchair

    I agree that we must keep it simple, and that’s the best linking strategy, however it is the MONOTONY of link building that gets to me — writing articles, submitting articles, submitting to directories, social bookmarking, etc. It’s simple, but hard work!

Back to top