We’ve all experienced it. The “essentials guide” or “must-have checklist” or “evaluation kit” that promises us some super great content. The cincher: it’s free for the asking! All you need to do is provide an email address and a name.
The problem is, if the content isn’t very good, you may be doing more harm than good.
Your content isn’t “free” if you’re asking people to register to access it.
Site visitors are “paying” for your content with an email address and other personal information – it’s an exchange of value. And if you aren’t providing any, you’re not living up to your end of the bargain.
I’d even argue that, in some ways, delivering half-ass content might be worse than delivering a half-ass product. With a bad product you’re likely to get some pretty direct feedback AND a chance to make it right. With half-ass content you’ll probably never even know about it. And you’ve probably just lost a prospect.
How can you spot half-assed content?
There’s an almost limitless range of it out there but here’s three common types to avoid:
Corporate PowerPoint Presentations
Even with a speaker standing in front of it, the corporate PowerPoint presentation is typically pretty awful. Each slide contains too much information and it's generally presented in bullet format, rather than complete thoughts, because the assumption is that a presenter will add the necessary context. Rebranding your corporate PowerPoint as a “Guide” is a bad idea. When you repackage a PowerPoint as downloadable content, you take away the context. No context = confusing mess = half-ass content.
Weak Case Studies
Everyone has customers or clients. If you don’t, you won’t be in business long. It naturally follows that everyone produces great case studies, right? Wrong. So what makes a great case study? Three things: a unique application, a big name or great ROI. If you don’t have at least one of those three, you don’t have a case study – you have half-ass content.
“Kits” Containing Product Marketing Materials
People aren’t reading your marketing materials – that’s why you’ve become committed to the power of content marketing. But content marketing requires constant content and that’s tough. The temptation is to cheat and pretend that, if you just put enough of them together, your product flyers and brochures are as valuable as a well-written white paper. But they aren’t. They’re the same traditional marketing materials they’ve always been and together they just add up to half-ass content.
Content marketing is about starting and fostering mutually beneficial relationships with prospects and customers. When you promise customers something of value, even if it’s being offered for free, you’d better deliver. Because a broken promise is not the way to start a relationship or nurture a relationship.
This post was written by R. Wilkie, Creative Director at PUSH 22.