With content marketing, the devil’s in the details

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Content Marketing | No Comments
With content marketing, the devil’s in the details

I’ve got a peeve. It’s not the biggest annoyance in the world, but it does stop me in my tracks every time I encounter it. Maybe I’m being too literal (it wouldn’t be the first time).

I just filled out a form so I could download a company’s white paper. No problem with that for the most part. What irked me was the message after I’d submitted my information. After thanking me, the company expressed its hope that I would “enjoy” the white paper (they also emailed later to ask if I enjoyed visiting their website). What on earth does that even mean in this context? I can enjoy my work and enjoy my coworkers, but I have never curled up and sunk into bliss with a white paper. I don’t even want to enjoy a white paper. I want to find it useful, valuable, insightful and smart.

Like I said, not the biggest content marketing transgression out there, but it speaks to a larger issue: companies using language and messaging that suggest they don’t really “get” me or understand what my intent was when I engaged with their content. What could’ve been a positive experience was, for me, derailed by that small detail.

I have the same reaction when I board a plane and am encouraged to “sit back and enjoy your flight.” Are you kidding me? When was the last time anyone “enjoyed” air travel? 1977? I don’t expect the flight crew to offer unvarnished truth — “sit back and try to endure the next few hours of confinement with minimal discomfort.” But when I’m told to “enjoy” something that we all know is not undertaken for fun, it makes me grumble. No one likes feeling misunderstood.

Content marketing is complex and demands strategic thinking. Of course, more time and effort will go into developing the white paper than writing the thank-you page copy. You want people focused on the actual content, not a transactional page. But, as my example illustrates, when you don’t take care and attention with the little things, the inconsequential parts of the experience can draw unwanted notice and have an unintended effect.

B2B brands exist to help their customers be more successful in their work, not to bring them pleasure. So, tell me you hope I find the white paper worthwhile and applicable to the work problems I’m trying to solve. Tell me you hope my experience will motivate me to explore more of your great content. Use our interaction to show me how your products and services speak to the issues discussed in the paper.

Just don’t expect me to rank it up there with the things I actually do “enjoy.”

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