If there’s one thing the online marketing world is good at, it’s buzzwords, man. Terms like “social media marketing”, “social business”, “personal branding” and “social thought leader”, have been around for some time. The latest and greatest of the buzzwords is “content marketing”.

Now, I am not discounting or disputing the validity and value of social media, marketing, content, or even social business, for that matter. All of these things have value, and they are important to anyone who is interested in marketing themselves or their business in the online world. In fact, it’s crucial to understand how online marketing works, if you’re going to be successful in business. I’d be a complete hypocrite if I said that content marketing wasn’t important – I teach people about it, I develop strategies for people, and I do it myself.

But content marketing has gone off the deep end. Marketers desperate are going to extremes to get the all-important click through. They are loading up their posts with keywords, link baiting their titles and headings, hoping to cash in on a fleeting increase in traffic to beef up their monthly reports to the boss.

And I ain’t buyin’ it.

Today (Valentine’s Day) I saw a blog post title that read: “What Love Can Teach You About Personal Branding.” Really? It’s come to that? I hesitated, not wanting to give the author the satisfaction of a click, but I had to look. Perhaps this was just a title gone bad. Maybe the post itself had some substance. I should have known better. The post was a heading-riddled list of half-hearted, poorly written analogies as to why love and personal branding are oh so similar. It’s clear that the author was scrambling to get a post out there that would get caught up in today’s conversation about Valentine’s Day, thinking they could somehow provide “value” to people who are seeking that quick fix, nugget-sized piece of advice that’s going to turn them into a social god.

I’m sure the post will get lots of hits. That’s just the nature of the beast. But as readers, are we so desperate for information that we’re willing to tolerate this much fluff? And as writers, are we so desperate to please the boss (client) that we’ll just throw out shlock to get the clicks?

It’s a sad state of affairs.

So few people seem to have the time, energy, perseverance and gumption to put out consistently good content. We want a quick fix. We want 100 clicks (or 1000). We want fast and easy attention.

But the most that a link-baity, keyword-vomiting post is going to get you, is a bit of ever-so-fleeting attention. The truth is, I don’t even remember who wrote that “Love and Personal Branding” post or what blog it was on. I certainly don’t consider the author any sort of authority on either love OR personal branding as a result. Link bait does not a thought leader make.

The truth is, writing great content on a consistent basis is hard. Really hard. But for those who do it, and do it well, the rewards are undeniable.

So what kind of content marketer are you going to be?



Photo Credit: Micah Taylor via Compfight cc