There was a point when I became an addict.
A “hashtag-contentmarketing” addict.
A “hashtag-contentmarketing” addict who became convinced that in this day and age building a business without content marketing is all but a mute point.
I became an addict who I tried to read all about content marketing on Twitter. I paid my “hashtag-contentmarketing” and “hashtag-marketing” dues by scrolling up and down through various blogs with “marketing” tags while occupying that coveted table next to the only outlet at my Barnes & Noble bookstore.
I did all of this to accomplish one thing. To be a better “hashtag-contentmarketing” person. And to do this I needed a “hashtag-perfect-content-formula” that works.
The “Perfect Content” Formula. The 4 Elements.
By the time I was done, I have ended up with content creation formula that consisted of 4 elements:
(For convenience sake the links are here):
Now, after figuring out the “perfect content,” 4-element formula I had a dilemma. It appeared to me that a pretty heavy percentage of blogs I have encountered already, more or less, followed a similar formula and yet, their content seemed dull, not very useful and, quite frankly, not particularly interesting.
The reality was, I came to conclude, there is a definite threshold to how many articles titled “7 Reasons You Should Add Images To Your Blog,” and “5 Reasons You Should Use Captivating Headlines” one can scroll through until thoughts such as “What am I doing here?” begin to creep in and a Starbucks girl washing floors under the table next to your politely tells you that it is already after 10 p.m and it’s time for you to leave the premises.
For the sake of my time and my own sanity, I concluded, when it came to most of such blogs, reading the headlines was sufficient.
And yet, the dilemma remained. How do I adjust the “perfect content” formula so that the content I write does not appear dull, not very useful and, quite frankly, not particularly interesting to anyone, myself included?
The Fifth Element
Over time, the revelation I eventually came to, was that just like any good formula, my “perfect content” formula was lacking a key variable.
I call this variable, the “authenticity variable.”
Since I have already spent a great amount of time defining “authenticity” in my book, I will say only that one of the definitions of authenticity has to do with being able to trace an item (tangible or intangible) to its original source (the author).
When it comes to writing or blogging, staying authentic means that your content should be unique enough for your repeat reader to be able to determine you as an author prior to scrolling down to see your name, whether by developing a distinct point of view on a niche subject, attaching your blog (or a video blog) to your life story, a unique manner of writing, or a unique visual representation of your blog, etc.
No matter what you are trying to promote or share, and no matter how many images and how much infographic content you use, content marketing should revolve around what I now call “The Fifth Element:” incorporating your unique and authentic take on a particular subject in each post, independent of how popular or unpopular it is.
And no, I am not talking about you being the center of the universe, I am merely talking about your viewpoint, your own (not someone else’s) trials and errors and your own experiences being the center of your blog. Thus, a blogger who never ran a business should never write about “7 Steps To Run a Business,” just like a blogger who never had to hire employees should never write about “7 Steps To Hire A Great Team.” This is unauthentic, laughable, always obvious, and always detrimental to blog’s credibility.
Yes, you can follow the 4-element formula to enhance your content with facts, infographic and images, however, the idea that you should blindly use factbrowser.com to search for something interesting to write about (just because you yourself have nothing to write about), or the idea that you should be using infographic just for the sake of infographic to be successful at content marketing is, essentially, a virtual equivalent of trying to use vague titles, complex plots and never-ending sentences to replicate, let’s say, the success of Dostoyevsky’s novels.
Do tell your story. Do reveal who you are. Do share your mistakes and what you have learned from them.
Do use images. Do use captivating headlines. Do use facts.
Do NOT create content that does not have your own take on a subject.
Do NOT attempt to replicate other blogs as by the time you start thinking about copying someone else’s content, it has already been copied many times over.
If you have something to say – say it. If you don’t have anything to say – don’t. If you like what you see on someone else’s blog – retweet, like, and move on, don’t clutter the internet by trying to create more and more copies of what is already out there.
And finally, stay true to yourself and your don’t get sidetracked by what others are up to.
What Was Your Experience With Posts that are Authentic (offer a unique point of view of an author) vs. Non-Authentic (re-written version of someone else’s blog)? Please let me know by commenting below.
Max Azarov, “Authentic Spin,” Author