A while back (I don't see a publish date on it now) I read a post by Sonia Simone titled "The First Rule of Copyblogger." It took my breath away then. It inspires and depresses me now. It gets me thinking about why, as a content marketer, I don't eek by with crappy content.
"Content is too often a lame version of work done by a real expert. (You know, someone who cared enough about the topic to actually learn a lot about it.) It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of content marketing. Which means I’m a huge opponent of badly done content marketing. Sloppy, junky, selfish content just gives the legitimate folks a bad name.
"The first rule of Copyblogger is you do not publish content that sucks.... Sure there are tools that will let you hack, mash, smash, and mangle someone else’s content into a word soup that Google thinks is original. Google won’t help you if no one wants to read what you’ve got to say."
There's certainly the practical matter of "what produces the best results at the lowest cost?"
And yes, there's the practical-ethical issue of "are we keeping the promise made in the headline, link, ad, etc?"
But beyond that there's an issue of, well, personal integrity. Intellectual honesty. Being worth a damn.
Intrinsic value vs. practical value
Publishing quality content isn't just a practical matter. Quality content is intrinsically valuable.
Regularly publishing crappy content reflects a deep cynicism. About B2B buyers ("it's a truism, but it could generate leads!")... about SEO ("all this content needs to do is get folks to see to our call to action")... about other content marketers ("they'll spot my cynicism but can't object because they have to do it too").
The m.o. at work in that third one is marketing content cynicism, squared.
And I've committed it too.
I'm guilty of being intellectually lazy from time to time. (I know you would laugh with me at examples of my horrible articles, but my big ego objects.)
It won't do.
And not just because you instantly spot "sloppy, junky, selfish content" (Sonia Simone's words).
But because I'm better than that.
I'm not objecting to "The First Rule of Copyblogger"'s content. I'm processing it and augmenting. It closes, after all, with:
"Good copy and content writers don’t pore over our favorite writing references just to gain an advantage in our marketing. (Although that’s nice.)
"We do it because it’s fun. We do it because we’re obsessed. We do it because it’s a fantastic game. We do it because we love to watch the human mind at work. We do it because we can. We do it because it’s an awesome high when it works."