Forget what you think you know about content marketing: B-to-B CMO Spotlight
There’s an old truism in the ad business that you can get people to remember an ad by showing something outrageous. David Ogilvy likened it to showing a gorilla in a jock strap. But these days, unless you’re selling jock straps for gorillas, it is unlikely that people will remember your brand. The same notion is alive and well in content marketing where catchy “click bait” headlines vie for your attention but rarely lead to memorable or meaningful engagement.
Unless you’re Randy Frisch, CMO of the content experience platform Uberflip.
Frustrated by what he was seeing, Frisch penned a blog post on an airplane with the title ‘F#ck Content Marketing' that even his own staff wouldn’t let him publish it right away. But after four months of cajoling and an insistence that they actually read the post, Frisch got his way. It created quite a stir and lead him to write a book by the same title that came out earlier this year. Redirecting marketers to focus on content experience rather than one-off pieces, Frisch showed brands how they too could get attention and deliver substantive, lead-generating content.
You’ve been rather explicit when it comes to current approaches to content marketing—why the expletives?
I wrote a blog post on a plane ride to Dreamforce. It was one of those Jerry Maguire manifesto-type of moments where I was really frustrated. It was titled “F#ck Content Marketing,” and it redirected marketers to focus on content experience. My team wouldn't let me publish it for about four months. They were certain I was going to offend every customer that we had, and the people whose job title includes “content marketer.” The post title was really what they couldn't get past.
What was the real message behind this attention getting title?
I wasn't actually telling content marketers to go eff off. In fact, I was advocating for them, by asking “What's the point of creating all this content if at the end of the day we're not going to leverage it, if we're not going to embed it in our campaigns?” And it was really a rallying call that took some time for even our own team to embrace, and that's why I kept pushing. I know that sometimes I have to listen, but I also have to decide when it’s time to rise against the norm and be a renegade as you like to call it. That post inspired my book also titled, F#ck Content Marketing.
Can you give a key takeaway from the book?
Sure. One of keys is to have a framework for your content and getting there is a five-step process. The first step is to organize and centralize all the content that you have so that you can start to leverage content at scale. It’s one thing to be out there with content that captures your attention, but you have to ask, then what? Where is this driving back to? For us, we’re able to point people to our framework, which includes a lot of the best practices that we use ourselves.
Talk a bit about your approach to content.
Our goal is to get people to think about content experience. But that doesn't mean that we can only talk about content experience. Marketers are passionate, and when they jump into the hallways at a conference, they're probably talking about trending things like demand generation, sales enablement, email marketing or potentially content marketing. So rather than preach our big crazy ideas and write an e-book on content experience as the be-all and end-all, we Trojan Horse our ideas into the topics they are already talking about like an e-book that discusses how to rock ABM with a focus on content experience.
Interesting. Let’s dive deeper into your Trojan Horse approach.
This isn't rocket science. What we're really trying to do is make sure that we tag on to everything that marketers are talking about. And then we inject our big ideas and contextualize them with the things that people are losing sleep over. For example, if I'm out doing a keynote, I can't talk about Uberflip. No one wants to book me to get up there and talk about our technology. I'm talking about trends that are happening in the market, such as what's happening with Netflix and Spotify, and what we can learn from those examples.
Let’s circle back to content experience and what that means for marketers.
Well today, buyers spend so little time with sales reps, they spend all their time on their own doing their research, and that research needs to take them from one place to another. We've come to expect to find content, like scrolling through LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, and a lot of that has to do with experience. But what happens after they finish that post? How are we actually going to bundle up this content for our audience? That's the important part.