From fake news to f-words: content marketing trends

Fake news makes content marketing look damn good

Fake news has experienced a meteoric rise of late. But, a growing distrust among regular readers of online articles has made them more aware of, and attracted to, content with genuine authenticity.fake news on laptop

Whether it’s a bank of Macedonian teenagers looking to make a bob or two through advertising revenue gained from sensationalist clickbait, or just a person on a laptop with an all-too-obvious with a political agenda, fake news has severely dented our trust in the validity of online information.

Luis Hernandez considered this point in relation to journalism in a recent article, stating: “Widespread fake news during the recent presidential election is drawing readers towards “real” news outlets.

His point undoubtedly applies to marketing content too.

Google and Facebook are both trying to crack down on fake news, but the die has already been cast. Content marketers need to focus on becoming a refuge for those who feel disenfranchised by less-than-scrupulous publishers.

As Hernandez puts it: “Any brand who has been competing with less-than-stellar news outlets: it’s time to stop. Writing shallow listicles and “you’ll never believe” titles are what separate the rest of the internet from prestigious sites, so reputable news publishers shouldn’t be copying this behavior.[sic]”

And, here’s how that translates for content marketers:

  • Avoid shallow, vague content (like half-baked listicles or quizzes with a foregone conclusion)
  • Steer clear of clickbait-grade titles that promise much and deliver little
  • Focus instead on in-depth, interpretive analysis of complex issues relating to your area of specialism
  • Spell out your brand’s credentials as an established, authoritative voice on a particular topic

Fake news has always existed in one form or another. And, current measures look unlikely to put it to the sword. So, as a content marketer, all you can do to keep your content appealing is invest the time and effort needed to differentiate yourself from the swelling mass of absurdity.

Squiz talks tough on C-suite separation

Just 50% of marketers feel strongly aligned with the goals of the C-suite, according to a hot-off-the-press study from CMS provider Squiz.

Squiz chart

*Graphs courtesy of Squiz

When asked about the reason for this misalignment, the two most popular answers given by senior marketers were a lack of marketing understanding among the C-suite (52%) and insufficient clarity on marketing goals (33%).

Squiz chart 1

Squiz pulled no punches in their analysis of this trend, calling on senior marketers to use hard numbers to spell out the value of marketing to senior execs. And, if they don’t listen to cold, hard facts, Squiz says it’s time to just walk away.

After all, a company that’s overly focused on its products at the expense of understanding their customer journeys will only be superseded by an industry ‘disruptor’ – a new company that just GETS how to market in 2017.

So, if you’re trying to figure out how to persuade the C-suite to loosen those purse strings and increase your content marketing budget, base your argument on indisputable RoI-related stats. And, if that doesn’t work, nothing will.

Spotted in the news…

When used sparingly, a bit of well-placed effin’ and jeffin’ can do wonders for your content. If it doesn’t directly contradict your brand values, a bit of well-chosen swearing can:child_shh_quiet_garden

  • Set you apart from competitors
  • Show a human side
  • Add a dash of humour
  • Display confidence
  • Appeal to a particular demographic

BUT, you still need to extend some basic courtesies if you’re to avoid offending reader sensibilities and ending up in PR quagmire.

Philosopher Rebecca Roache used a somewhat unorthodox comparison to explain last week: “Imagine meeting someone who… finds crisps traumatic. If you carry on talking about crisps in their presence, even after discovering their phobia, you are sending a signal that you don’t respect them.”

So, instead of going for the full-blown F-bomb, intersperse a few asterisks to cover its modesty.