Talking Content Marketing – With Doug Kessler
Our ‘Talking Content‘ series continues with content marketing virtuoso Doug Kessler taking centre stage. Doug is co-founder and creative director of Velocity, a London-based B2B content marketing agency helping Velocity clients stand for something – and capture what they stand for in relevant, compelling and entertaining content. Our Q&A concentrates on how content marketing transforms how we position ourselves, the need to be human, what works and the change in mindset for businesses.
Are businesses getting better at content marketing or has this been such an explosion over the past few years that many companies are running around shoehorning content into everything?
I actually think marketers are getting better at content marketing. We’re all on the same learning curve together, so it’s kind of exciting. Yes, there is a lot of ‘me too’ content marketing out there. But thanks to the trackability of digital marketing, we’re all being trained by the data to do things better and better and to follow what works. In the end, it will all settle into the usual Bell Curve: some great content marketers, some really shitty ones and a big mass in the middle.
You mention in your Crap presentation, click here, that inertia is the biggest obstacle to content marketing. Is lack lustre content the biggest aspect that lets brands down?
The inertia we talked about in ‘Crap’ was the inertia of the buyer: the last thing anyone wants to do is change. And only great content has a chance of overcoming that inertia. Lacklustre content can’t move a molehill much less a mountain or a market. I do think marketers under-estimate inertia. We fall in love with our products and our stories and assume they’re just as irresistible to our prospects. Invariably, they’re not.
Is emotion and being human the one thing that enables us to stand for something?
Taking a stand is a fantastic way to differentiate in any market. Most companies are scared to stand for anything. To take a strong view on the issues that are most important to their audiences. When you take a stand, you do it with passion, attitude, energy and belief. I’m a huge believer in confident content (we created a Slideshare about it called “The Other C Word“). A big part of that is being human, warming up and stepping out from behind the corporate blah-blah and a bit of wit doesn’t go amiss either.
Is it detrimental for businesses to have a ‘campaign’ mindset as opposed to considering content marketing as a commitment to engage, grow and build credibility?
Content marketing dogma says you can’t use the word ‘campaign’ any more, I actually disagree. I do think content marketing is best practiced as a continuous process. But I also think it’s good to run limited time campaigns around a single theme – to drive some spikes into your program. But that doesn’t mean a complete campaign mindset. It just means not forgetting the power of a campaign on top of the long game that is content marketing.
What platforms do you consider as key to delivering a consistent message? Joe Pulizzi (from Content Marketing Institute) has started flying the flag to embrace email as a platform that we can control.
Yeah, Joe tends to be annoyingly right about all things content. Email is definitely the unsung hero of content marketing – especially to home-grown, segmented lists. It’s not as sexy as social or native advertising or whatever. But it’s the engine room. It lets you communicate with people who have already opted in. These are your people. They’ll always eat more of your content than the undifferentiated masses (unless your’e buying in low-quality lists).