Run of the mill content

I like to think of myself as a somewhat savvy consumer, able to see through marketing gimmicks and ignore sensational clickbait headlines. My wife rolls her eyes as I amuse myself with my own MST3K-esque commentary during muted TV commercials. In my head, the commercials sound like something from Veridian Dynamics, the ridiculous corporate entity from Better off Ted.

Sadly, I can think of several real commercials that feel just as absurd.

We’ve all seen them. Right now, I’m thinking of an ad with an attractive couple holding hands while seated in separate bathtubs, outside, overlooking the ocean. Now, you could certainly argue that the image in that commercial was memorable, and I’m sure the agency behind that ad profited immensely. But, being memorable through mockery isn’t what every marketer dreams of.

So why do we see so many bad stock photos used in digital marketing?

Successful applauding executives sitting at the table

Well, the appetite for a steady flow of engaging, quality content is voracious. Content marketing is demanding and it takes considerable effort to ensure consistent alignment of content with a brand’s creative aesthetic.

It’s easy to look at content marketing as an exercise in volume and when that happens, sometimes quality slips.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for high-quality stock art, photos and videos. However, stock assets can be like fast food. They may seem cheap and easy, but over time, they can take a toll. The same thing goes for “good enough” articles and white papers from content mills.

Content marketing isn’t about volume. It’s about quality content that tells a story that resonates with your audience.

There’s already a towering mountain of generic content on the web. Simply grabbing a handful from the pile and putting your logo on it isn’t going to get people to notice you.

Sometimes it’s worth a little extra to make sure you reach your audience with the perfect content. An investment in custom art, photography, video or writing can be worth its weight in gold.

Price versus value

If you’ve ever owned a really well made pair of shoes, you probably know where I’m going with this. Price is important, but it’s not the only factor to evaluate when considering value.

A handcrafted item has a different value than something that’s been mass-produced on an assembly line. Artisans, crafters and creators enjoy their work and it shows. This is why handmade gifts are so appreciated; a handmade gift shows you care.

It gets better. When you have the opportunity to work directly with an artist, builder, tailor or other kind of creator, you reap the benefits of having a direct relationship with that individual. The product of their work is a reflection of that relationship and the communication of your individual needs, wants and desires.

Now, consider the marketing benefits of custom content. Customized writing, photography and video will be tailored to your message. Instead of one-size-fits-all, your content will convey a personal connection with your audience. Your content will be customized to reach your audience with exactly the right message at the right time.

So, the next time you search, consider the price versus value equation. What good is your content if it reaches your audience, but fails to engage?

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