Content marketing is just about the most overused and overhyped phrase in the public relations industry at the present time. In 2015, PR is all about the content. “We’re no longer a PR agency, we’re a creative content agency.” Pur-lease…
The problem is that PR has latched onto content like a Cambodian leech onto an unsuspecting backpacker. PR is using ‘content’ as a solution to its woes when in actual fact it’s still getting to grips with what content marketing actually means and is.
In this context, the word ‘content’ is largely meaningless. If we’re honest, your content editor or head of content or whatever the hell else you’re calling them is all smoke and mirrors, isn’t it?
Die content, die!
“What’s the key objective of your social media programme?”
“We want people to engage with us.”
“Engage about what?”
“Our brand story.” (see ‘storytelling, below)
“And how are you going to measure the success of that?”
“What will that mean to the business?”
“It will show that we’re a conversational brand that loves to engage our customers. It’s all about the conversation, don’t you know…”
You see how ridiculous this is, right? Engagement is not an objective, or an outcome. It’s just a method of achieving bigger, more important things. If that, even.
Measure it? Absolutely. Talk about it in any other context than a by-product of a proper strategy? Forget it.
Die engagement, die!
When did millennials become ‘a thing’? Because boy, are they a thing. What they think, what they do in their leisure time, what they eat, how they communicate, when they poo…you name it, someone’s written an article about it. Google ‘millennials’ and you get 13.5 million results.
The thing is, Gen Y covers anyone born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Anyone. To say ‘we need to target millennials’ is bullshit. You can’t label everyone born in a single year, or month or even day, let alone an entire generation, with the same characteristics. But PR pros like to do that because it’s “using data and insight”.
Die millennials, die! (Not literally…)
If you and I were sat in a room with one hundred PR people and we asked everyone to write down a definition of ‘storytelling’, we’d get an amazingly diverse set of responses. And not in a good way.
Storytelling has become to PR what a guide dog is to a blind man. Along with ‘content’, it’s a crutch that PR uses to try and explain why it’s so much more beneficial than other forms of marketing. Except that this crutch is made out of marshmallows. (I’m applauding myself silently for excellent use of mixed metaphors.)
“PR has always been great at telling stories”, is something I see written with alarming regularity. But what does that actually mean? Answers on a postcard please. Or drop a comment below just for shits ‘n’ giggles.
Die storytelling, die!
Ah yes, ‘viral’. The holy grail of all public relations and social media marketing. I’d sell one of my kids to have something ‘go viral’ for a client. Seriously. Because that would solve all of my client’s problems and I could retire a happy man. Right?
Here’s the thing: one man’s viral is another man’s ‘meh’. In the past I’ve had a client email me very excitedly to tell me about a piece of ‘content’ (see above. You’ve no idea what that means, have you?!): “we’ve gone viral!” For them, I guess a few tweets was genuinly exciting. For the rest of the world it was at the most hum-drum, at worst a car crash.
Viral has no context and no link to anything meaningful, and anyone using the word outside of a visit to the doctor should be banned from practising in the communications industry.
Die viral, die!