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Stop trying to win the content marketing war with volume

I’ve seen the self-satisfied look of the content marketer when discussing email marketing. So-called “inbound” marketing is deemed superior to “outbound” marketing techniques, such as email. We content marketers like to brag about how we attract attention rather than just pumping up the volume and sending more emails. And, to a point, we’re right. But maybe we’re reaching the point where we are wrong.

More and more, I see content marketers falling into the same trap as email marketers. When the response rate falls for your email marketing campaign, you have two ways to fix it. The first way is to make your emails more relevant, more compelling–better. That’s the hard way. The easy way is to send out more emails.

At least that seems like the easy way, because we all know how to do it, and it takes very little time to decide and execute. But that’s just the short-term approach. Because in the long run, merely sending more emails can’t possibly work.

Think about it. If someone sends you three emails in a day, then ramps it up to six, then 20, then–where does it end? In the final analysis, you have to make the email more relevant–better.

So, what does this have to do with content marketing? Everything. While we all acutely feel the time suck that is our email inboxes, the truth is that our attention has limits outside of email, also. If you think that it’s good to have 100 case studies and great to have 3,000, you are making the same mistake as the email marketer. Your pile of content will collapse under its own weight.

To win at content marketing, you can’t just pump up the volume. You can’t just produce more and more content and expect that will get more attention. Your customer has only so much time and attention to give–and every year each of us becomes more ruthless with doling out our attention.

In content marketing, you must make your content more relevant to your customer to command attention. No one is saying that it’s easy–but it’s easier than failing, which is what you’ll do if you just keep spewing more and more content that matters less and less.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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