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Jan 25, 201112:00 AMIt's All About Content

with Thomas Marks

My Content Predictions for 2011: Most Content Sucks.

My Content Predictions for 2011: Most Content Sucks.

Thomas Marks brings years of marketing experience to his blog "It's All About Content" as the President and Managing Partner of TMA+Peritus. Prior to starting the agency in 1983, Tom was the VP of Marketing and Advertising for Bally Corporation in Chicago. He was also President of Bally's multi-million dollar in-house ad agency FFC Advertising.

But it doesn't have to. Most people think they're talented writers, they know about their products and services better than anyone else, and they know their customers inside and out. The truth of the matter is this — you're not, who cares, and you don't. Here's what we need to know about content in 2011:
  1. LeBron famously said, "I'm taking my talents to South Beach." This will be the most overused phrase in 2011, if it isn't already. I've heard it all: "I'm taking my talents to South ... Bend," and even "I'm taking my talents to South ... Milwaukee." I say use it, just be clever with it. "Hey Chef, I'm taking my talents to South Park."

  2. Holders-on to the AP Style Guide are finally forced to let go of the enigmatic, patrician language bible, but only after they put their fedoras and press card out for auction on eBay. Come on, must we write Web site because you say that's the correct spelling? Actually you're wrong, technology journals — and I might be mistaken, but last I looked the Internet was technology — are spelling it website.

  3. Companies will start hiring content editors, or god-forbid CCOs (Chief Content Officers), but that's a great thing, because those who think they can write, can't; and those who know they can't write, do.

  4. Content is not a photo of your inside-out dragon roll (as good as it might be), your perfectly cooked bone-in rib eye with onion straws on top, or the Ramen Noodle Bowl at you know where. Spare us the sparerib photos. That's your plate of food, not ours.

  5. Which leads me to this. Good content starts without you and ends, coincidentally, without you. Go figure. For every reference about yourself, you'll lose a customer and a dozen prospects, and you'll never know why. Except now you do.

  6. Because of this, you'll begin to see more content produced or published by employees and customers. As we begin to understand that the content we produce has been largely ineffective, we'll start handing it off to others, and voila, now the content is compelling. That's because the basis of the content has transitioned from promotional to informational, and from self-serving to serving the customer.

  7. As a result, we're going to see more stories and more authenticity in the content that's distributed in 2011. This is good because employees and customers are less prone to be self-promotional and more comfortable telling a story that they believe in. For instance, if you're going to relate a tale about careers and employment, start your piece with, "It was the summer of 2010, I was taking my talents to South Beach..." No, wait, that's all about you.

  8. I'm going out on a limb on this one, but the word groovy makes a comeback. Mostly used by aging white guys, all of whom believe the older they get, the hotter they are, is part an effective pick-up line and part a desperate attempt to understand millenials, and thus be more employable to businesses attempting to connect with a more youthful audience.

  9. Businesses will start planning their content as they would a media or public relations plan. The Content Matrix, although without the same enthusiasm and support as, say the movie The Matrix starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne — which I didn't care for — will now start being referenced in conference rooms and boardrooms.

  10. Finally, more serious content will be posted through Twitter feeds than ever before. Take a cue from John McEnroe and say it now, "You cannot be serious." Yes I am. People will find more compelling content outside the office, rather than inside their cinderblock walls, and they'll tweet links to that content they run across. People won't wait to publish content from their office, they'll do it on the run.

We'll circle back in January of 2012 to assess my picks. Until then, I'm going to unbutton my shirt, hang some gold around my neck, and cologne my manskin. Groovy and out.

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About This Blog

Thomas Marks brings years of marketing experience to his blog "It's All About Content" as the President and Managing Partner of TMA+Peritus.  Prior to starting the agency in 1983, Tom was the VP of Marketing and Advertising for Bally Corporation in Chicago. He was also President of Bally's multi-million dollar in-house ad agency FFC Advertising.

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