Content Marketing Has Lost its Purpose

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When Herodotus of Halicarnassus – “The Father of History” – recorded The Histories, I wonder how much thought he put into the lifespan of his content. Did he know that his work would still have impact 2,500 years later?

I seriously doubt it.

One thing he did seem to get though was the purpose of his work. In 2008, Robin Waterfield translated the beginning of The Histories, as follows: “The purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, and to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks”.

Imagine if we – as modern marketers – had such clarity

Sadly, most of us don’t. Instead we’re stuck in a marketing war that’s being waged in our inboxes. The MO: Misleading subject lines, poor quality storytelling and way, way too much content to consume in the space of one lifetime.

We’re not the ones who’ve ever had to worry about being boring at dinner parties. We’re the creators and storytellers. Yet we’re boring ourselves to death – one subject line at a time.

On the face of it, life for the content marketer should be getting easier.

Apps and tools are increasing in number as fast as they are evolving in sophistication and capability. We have the technology to know what and how and when and where our audience wants to hear from us. And we know what makes a damn good story.

So why isn’t our content working?

Rob Orchard, co-founder of quarterly magazine Delayed Gratification – and a leading proponent of the slow journalism movement – said it’s because people don’t want more. They want better.

“In the current news environment, with the increasing speed of the news agenda, we can provide an antidote,” said Orchard, explaining the idea behind Delayed Gratification – the publication that claims to be ‘last to breaking news’.

Think about it like this – every minute of every day, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 3.3 million Facebook statuses updated, and 65,000 Instagram posts shared. Every minute. Every. Single. Day.

With an increasing amount of disposable content – you can pretty much picture the mountain of ideas, man hours and resources going to waste – there’s certainly weight to this argument.

Think about it like this – every minute of every day, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 3.3 million Facebook statuses updated, and 65,000 Instagram posts shared. Every minute. Every. Single. Day.

There’s also something to be said for brands and publications that are leading the charge with quick, relevant and shareable content. With so many of us glued to our phones, this is the content that seems to stick fastest and circulate farthest.

“It’s about creating content in the right format, at the right time, then delivering it to the right audience,” said LADbible Group’s head of communications, Peter Heneghan. And he should know.

Heneghan heads up communications for one of the fastest growing global content publishers. With more than 62 million social followers alone, LADbible is making a name for itself as a brand that puts the cares of its audience – namely, positivity – at the heart of each of its campaigns.

For instance, when it came to covering the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, LADbible focused its campaign on the positive stories to come out of the attacks by interviewing taxi drivers who’d offered people free rides home and homeless people who’d helped those victims suffering on the streets.

For all their differences though, I can’t help but think that Delayed Gratification and LADbible have one critical thing in common – a clear, precise and consistent purpose. They know what they’re about and what their readers need from them, in the same way that Herodotus got it more than 2,500 years ago.

So why do the rest of us keep forgetting?

About Turtl

Since its creation, Turtl’s mission has been to make it possible for anybody without design or technical skills to create and publish content that drives reader engagement.

With this philosophy in mind, we’ve developed an all-in-one content marketing platform aimed at empowering businesses to maximise the performance of their content through easy creation, flexible publishing and real-time measurement.

Our unique “Surf & Immerse” technology is based on scientific research carried out by our founder and is designed to tap into how your audience is naturally wired to read.

We truly believe that there is a better way to solve modern content marketing challenges, and we won’t rest until our mission is complete, one company at a time!

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1 Comment
  1. I think there is a major difference between writing for history and writing content marketing, which is meant to appeal to the need of people today. No one writing a blog for a company is thinking that this is something people will be reading thousands of years from now. In fact, the problem of having so much content out there today is that it is difficult to identify exactly what would typify us. What would you put into a time capsule to be opened thousands of years from now — like the two put in the site of the NY World’s Fairs? Those items are listed, but just in the hindsight of over half a century, we might find some of them rather odd choices — like the piece of asbestos and the pack of cigarette, or even the choice of microfilm to contain textual content.

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