I recently spent 5 golden minutes reading Lisa Barone’s post, Marketing: A Game of Fundamentals You Can’t Lose, on the Overit blog. She does a great job of breaking down the recent heartaches (loss of keyword data in Google Analytics) and the nature of marketing online when it comes to useful, valuable content online.
I’ve always said, ‘Your website should be useful, valuable, findable’. Let’s take it a step further and say that your brand should be useful, valuable, findable, and shareable. The parts that help make the whole online for your brand, also know as your content, should be useful, valuable, findable, and sharable.
I particularly like this from Lisa (source link above):
“I know, it’s painful to see, but the above is what many SEOs and business were creating and slapping on their websites. It was thin, shallow content that taught you nothing, explained nothing, solved nothing and didn’t even have the courtesy to make you laugh while otherwise wasting your time. But Google has caught on, deciding this doesn’t serve its users and therefore deserves no place in its algorithm. Google unleashed Panda to encourage you to stop creating shit low value content…
…The difference between the content of then and the content of now is that today’s content requires true research, planning and understanding of not only your audience, but how that content will be used, where it will sit and the requirements it must meet. It has to be sound enough to stand on its own, while integrated into everything else your brand is doing. It takes not an editorial calendar, but an editorial strategy.”
If I had anything to add to this it would be the interwoven idea and feeling of authenticity. I think (and I could be wrong) there’s much more to say in the arena of creating content from an online marketing standpoint when it comes to coming off as authentic. Note: I’m not faulting Lisa’s post, it’s excellent — just adding my two cents.
What the Hell Do You Mean, Joe?
I think some brands are putting the cart before the horse and continue to be more concerned with pumping out a lot of content, they’re still too focused on selling their products within the content, and the idea of being truly authentic is often missing or is second fiddle to creating content for the sake of creating content.
Instead, I believe much more positive brand awareness and brand loyalty can be instilled when content illustrates a ‘real’ factor, a person or persons behind the content rather than seeming robotic or that there’s a huge wall and moat between the brand’s inaccessible castle and the customer. Your content needs more:
- Admission of mistakes
- Communication on the consumer’s level
- Delivery of true needs, wants, and solutions
- Genuine endorsements, comments, reviews
- We’re on the ‘same team’ mentality
I’m still thinking and rethinking authenticity, so my list is by no means exhaustive. If you have anything to add, throw your ideas into the ring by commenting below.
If your content is not authentic, this is how I feel:
- Um, I’m going to research some more – maybe find something else, maybe not
- You just want my money? Let me think about this and come back
- Your reviews sound like your CEO wrote them, so no
- I just spent 10 minutes reading your blog post and I’ve learned nothing
- This sounds just like the other 2 competitors I just came from, who is up next?
- Oh my god, who wrote this? JUNK.
I get it, I’m a snob. But I’m also a consumer on a budget, so you had better be giving me some honesty and some value (not necessarily monetary, value can be added knowledge, tips, education, something to share, something that makes me look like I made a smart decision, etc.) or I’m either going elsewhere or I’ll just hold on to my money and make do without your product. That’s as real as it gets folks.
All in all, authenticity needs more focus in this day and age of content, content marketing, Internet marketing, and SEO. What says you?