Marketing Advice C*@p
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
This morning I was searching through my sources to find a good guest article to publish and I came across some pieces on developing give-away products. Some articles suggested that if you don't like to write but do like to speak, you could develop audio products. I've seen the suggestion before in connection with recording interviews and teleseminars and turning them into products.
Now, perhaps, the authors envisioned a scenario in which someone else would develop and write the script for you to speak. But since audio products are indeed written before they are spoken, writing is involved. And if the advice is about helping you create products that you can afford to give away (to entice people to opt in to your list or visit your website), in the context it is offered, this is a most illogical and unhelpful suggestion. If you hate to write and have to have somebody else write for you, you are adding cost.
I see a lot of articles like these. Written by honest, well-intended authors who are trying to be helpful but haven't quite thought through their advice. My disappointment in such unintended wastes of time is small. But the experience triggered an internal rant about all the time I've wasted on reading other marketing advice articles and e-books or watching marketing advice videos that are just plain c*@p. Some of it is free and just costs your time and some of it costs good money. Let me share some of that rant with you.
Here are three major offenses to watch for:
Advertarticles are advertising or promotion disguised as editorial content. You are led to believe that you are getting some valuable advice or ideas, but every point made simply references the advice or idea generally and points to the website or book or other product wherein you will "learn" the valuable "secret" information the author has to share.
When you see these in print publications, they are marked as advertising. On line you'll usually find them offered as real articles. They are very popular on affiliate marketing sites. However, you may also find them on article distribution sites.
If it's a real article, it actually delivers information promised in its title and/or headline. If it has links to resources within the body of the article, those links should lead you to something that simply expands on the valuable knowledge within the article.
2. Filler trash
Good articles, audios and videos often contain stories, anecdotes, examples or demonstrations. And in good content those stories, examples, etc. are succinct, relevant and precisely on point.
In bogus content, the stories may be related, but they tend to be long-winded, unnecessarily drawn out stories that add no new information or ideas. Usually they are there to make the content seem longer than it actually is, and therefore more substantial.
Sometimes the stories are there to convince you of the author's or speaker's importance or expertise other status. That's self-promotion, not content.
In every field, there are certain basic ideas that every expert will tell you about. If he or she doesn't mention them, you may think that he or she doesn't know them and can't possibly be an expert. So, no matter what, you are going to read and hear much of the same material over and over again.
What distinguishes good content is what kind of value is added to the repeated material. Is it used as an introduction to or a launching point for new ideas? Is it offered in a context that makes it more understandable or memorable? Is it offered as a handy review or cheat sheet?
I find the worst offenses in the category of "me-too-isms." Not only is the 'net filled with free articles and e-books on marketing that simply say the same old thing as other articles and e-books--often because they are merely PLR offerings--but they are also promoting websites or affiliate programs that charge hefty fees for info products that also contain the same old information.
If you write articles or produce other content, whether for your own website or for promoting yourself in content directories and on other people's websites, be sure that you are adding to the field. Be careful to have someone else screen your content for good sense and for omissions.
If you are a consumer of marketing content, beware not only of getting snookered into buying trash, but also of having your time wasted by c*@ppy "free" advice. Newbies aren't the only ones that get caught up in the c*@p. Old hands are constantly out there looking for new ideas.