Content Marketing Lessons From a Purple Cow

As marketers we’re constantly searching for new ways to get our message to the masses. We often look to tools like social media, blogs and email to deliver those messages. While distribution is an important part of the content marketing process, it’s often more of a priority to marketers then the message itself. In today’s world, that can be a HUGE problem.

The internet has made it incredibly easy for anyone to find anything in a matter of a few keystrokes. This means that people usually have an overwhelming amount of choices but not a whole lot of time to digest it. The outcome in this situation often leads to ignoring a lot of the content results shown. Hence the need for remarkable content.

A decade ago, Seth Goodin wrote a book called “Purple Cow”. In the book, Seth explains that the key to business success is to find a way to stand out–to be the purple cow. He goes on to say that if we’re used to seeing the same things, they tend to have less of an impact and we blend in like everyone else. Apply this principle to current day.

WARNING: What I’m about to say may be unexpected but here goes…

“Email isn’t fun anymore, its annoying. Social media posts are cluttered with junk.”

While the statement above may be bold, it’s true. People are getting better tuning out the online noise.  If marketing teams are more focused on how many times a day they post to their social media accounts and not the value of that message, the effort is counter-productive because there is nothing that makes it REMARKABLE.

Email marketing and social media ARE effective tools to reach your audience, but simply “posting messages” with no real strategy or real value are ineffective. Marketers must create remarkable content to get their audience to pay attention. We must always strive to have a Purple Cow.

Stumped on what to write about? Here are a few tips:

  • Follow industry news. The key to creating timely, relevant content is to be plugged into the latest news and trends. Google alerts can come in handy for this.
  • Monitor the social media conversation. Some of that junk people post on Facebook can actually help you create remarkable content. Develop your content around questions people are asking about your industry.
  • Recruit a team of content creators. Different voices from others in your company help keep content fresh and interesting. It helps tell a story from a different perspective. Ask your salesperson, customer service rep or co-workers to contribute content.

Once you’ve decided on your content theme, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would my target audience share this? If your content isn’t something worth sharing, don’t waste time writing it.
  • Does my content offer a unique perspective? Here’s an idea, make your content somewhat controversial. This is something that will surely get attention.
  • Is my content timely? Build your content around a topic people are already talking about. Something that’s fresh in their minds. Relate it to something in your industry.
  • Does it make my audience think? Share the industry secrets no one else is talking about. This highlights your expertise and shows that you’re a leader.
The bottom line is in today’s fast moving, web-based world, you have to produce something that gets people talking, sharing and engaged. Pushing out boring messages just won’t cut it.  It has to be something people love.


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