Content Marketing Tips: Beware the ‘So What? Factor’

Last year, “Big Data” was this buzz phrase emanating from everyone’s mouths and social media handles.

Now we’re well into 2013, “content marketing” seems to be the Holy Grail adorning the subject line of most inbound marketing blog posts and digital industry conference agendas.

It’s a little funny to me, because for several years many companies have been creating meaningful, useful, relevant and delightful content in order to amplify their brand presence and attract new customers (keeping current one’s entertained), and yet it only seems recently the trend has become mainstream and part of our digital vernacular.

To this I say, HURRAH!


/shrug (Flickr Credit: striatic)

During my time at Microsoft, I worked with different marketing and PR teams to create content – be they blog posts, videos, photos or social experiences – that helped the brand be talked about for longer. I’ve written before about how important Digital PR is to an organization, and about how CEOs need to get with social media in order to create the kinds of conversations people want to hear. So couple that with a content marketing discipline throughout the company, and you start to have a really powerful platform for message dissemination that’s both enduring AND endearing.


And it’s the proverbial BIG BUT!

That content needs to have meaning and an action associated with it.

Too much waffle, chest beating and pointless wastes of copy spill from business servers every day.

It has what I’ve always called, the “so what?” factor!

  • Why did I just read that 700 word blog post if there’s no link at the end to buy the new product you’ve been telling me about?
  • Why did I just watch that 4 minute video that cost you tens of thousands of dollars to make, if at the end there is no call to action, no website URL, no hashtag or handle and no link in the description for me to follow and find out more?
  • Why did I just spend 40 minutes watching your VP of Whatever on stage doing a keynote telling me how wonderful your company is, show a bunch of case studies and talk about a bunch of products if there is no digital “go do” at the end of their speech?

Don’t Be Empty

Digital marketing, social media and the internet have given us the gift of action.

It’s afforded us as marketers to be able to keep consumers’ attention by making the content useful and creating calls and signals for them to discover more and keep spending time with your brand. Time they could be spending with your competitors if you didn’t reign them back in with must see/read/watch content.

The key to that content though, is that anyone who sees, reads or watches it, doesn’t get to the end and simply SHRUG!

When you create something, look back over it, pass it around your peers and see if anyone simply thinks “so what?”

If you or they do, you might be doing your brand and yourself a disservice.

Optimize your content marketing for action and whatever you have to say will linger longer!


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