Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why some content marketing strategies fail: They are too safe

Christoph Trappe

August 28, 2016


Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate or sponsored links.

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And I’m not talking about always going for the sensational headlines and topics. But a lot of content marketing strategies, including blogs and social media, are just too safe.

They share stuff that was approved by 59 people and is so watered down that there’s virtually no relevance or usefulness to the end audience.

Recommended reading:

What’s approval hell?

Of course that happens because it feels better, dare I say safer, to share content that we know will not create a strong negative reaction. And while I’m not saying we always need to go for only the negative reaction, having at least some people who disagree or dislike an opinion or piece of content is a sign that we know our target audiences  well.

You might even take it so far to plan that you know who the audiences are that you don’t want your pieces to like. Those are called negative personas. 

Recommended reading: 

What are personas?

“Mean things” people have said to me on Twitter

But sometimes it’s not even about upsetting one piece of an audience or another. It’s mostly about sharing stories that are not just filled with marketing language only.

It’s about cutting the pieces that are so watered-down because  ultimately they don’t say anything except how awesome we are anyway. It’s about cutting the pieces that just space and look like we have something to say but ultimately we are not saying anything. It’s also about cutting the pieces that make internal stakeholders feel really good but have  little value to the external and actual audience – you know, the one that might turn into customers?

Recommended reading: 

Your boss is not your target audience 

Create content that has value to your audience and that will ultimately lead to value to you and your business. But safe, boring, run-of-the-mill content won’t get us there. 

Contact me here if you need help convincing the boss.

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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph 319-389-9853

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