I’m not a marketer, but I played one for two days at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio in September, 2016. I was surprised to find that content marketers have similar problems to we in the technical communication world – proving value, understanding users, correctly using and re-using content, and most surprisingly, dealing with budgets – or lack thereof.
However, there are ways that content marketing is very different than technical communication. First, the conferences are much larger than ours, and ours don’t feature Cheap Trick or Mark Hamill.
Even with all I learned at the conference, I still have some questions. I admit that I ask these with tongue-in-cheek, but as someone from outside the marketing world, I’m also genuinely curious. Hopefully some content marketers and/or #CMWorld attendees can chime in and answer.
Questions for content marketers
- A major telecom company has a YouTube page they seem to be very proud of. Why? In what universe am I going to search YouTube for any company? When I actually did search for this company, more than their own branded content appeared, including some less than flattering for the brand. As a speaker mentioned in a CM World session “we should not be the best at YouTube, we should be the best at adapting to consumers”.
- A major hospitality firm (think hotel chains) has a 24/7 live social media team. Why? If it’s not answering “why does your wifi suck” or “why did another guest open the door to my room while I’m sitting on the bed” (this actually happened), how helpful is it to your customers?
- How is jumping a tractor trailer over an F1 car telling your company story? A data storage provider spent a ton of money sponsoring a Formula 1 team. I’m a huge fan of motor racing and F1, and I’m grateful for their sponsorship. But, I had absolutely no clue that they set a Guinness World Record until their session at Content Marketing World. It never showed up in my social media or forums.
- It doesn’t seem like metrics are telling the whole story. Are all of these engagements really selling your product? How can you tell? Frankly, I’d never seen nor heard of any of the social media content or videos that any of the companies I saw touting.
- Why is there no subscription information in the stunning, gorgeous, hilarious Contently magazine?
- I was in a very good talk from folks at a major financial firm about their content marketing experience. They were rightfully very happy that they became one of the top content marketing firms in a very short time. At the same time, headlines came in that the firm was fined more than $100 million and firing thousands of employees as a result of fraudulent creation of accounts. How do you – or do you – address that via marketing, and if you don’t, does that affect your credibility?
- Why are you putting crap at the bottom of every web page? A vendor I talked to was proud of the fact that Taboola uses their technology. Taboola, like Outbrain and others, is a company that puts links at the bottom of many web pages, often to other sites and almost always with terrible click-bait headlines. Not to mention that all that script and graphics immensely impacts page load times. Which leads to the next question…
- Do any of you actually use the web? Your pop-ups imploring me to subscribe to your newsletter, with the hidden close button – particularly on mobile – are horribly intrusive and generally not helpful. It also makes you look needy. Are you really that needy?
- Why aren’t you hiring, or at least learning from, technical communicators to help you with your structure and content problems? Content is hard, and so is organizing, chunking and reusing content – where we in techcomm are experts.
- Why didn’t anyone tell me how nice Cleveland is? Is it truly the “Content Marketing capital of the world”, or just during Content Marketing World?
What do you think? Can you answer any of these questions? Do you have some of your own? Let us know in the comments.