On the day leading up to the massive Batman v Superman slugfest, I was thinking about General Zod and his cronies in the Superman II movie from 1980. Terence Stamp (General Zod), Sarah Douglas (Ursa) and Jack O’Halloran (Non) are banished to the Phantom Zone,a two-dimensional, glass shaped prism of sorts, which hurtles through space after Jor-El (Marlon Brando) banishes the trio of baddies.
Thirty-three years later, Zod (Michael Shannon), Ursa/Faora (Antje Traue) and Non escape the Phantom Zone in a much darker version Man of Steel movie, which ultimately sets the stage for Batman v Superman.
Whether or not you plan to see the movie, (I just saw it, had a great time) the fact remains that B2B selling is transforming into a Phantom Zone of sorts. The traditional briefcase-carrying, receptionist-wooing, cold-calling sales selling strategies are seemingly being banished to another dimension.
Digital marketing tactics are similar to sending your company’s brand messaging into the two-dimensional Phantom Zone. Unique selling propositions, calls to action, and keyword phrases hurtle through cyberspace, hoping to some day escape on your device, to capture your attention, make you a “true believer” and win your business.
As a long-time B2B sales professional, I have found success in creating:
- Web content pages
- Social media posts
- e-mail marketing campaigns
There are many villains to battle with in The Phantom Zone of digital content, such as:
A great headline is important, but you want readers to be glad they clicked on your post, you don’t want a prospect to feel like you reeled them in just for a cheap sales pitch. Make your readers feel like they learned something of value from you.
You don’t have to make your reader feel like they discovered the Ark of the Covenant when they get past the link jump, just provide them with some insights which can save them time, money and/or generally make them feel like partnering with your company is a wise choice.
I subscribed to a professional writing association (from south of the 49th parallel) awhile ago. About twice or three times a day, they would hit me with sales pitches offering different eBooks, all marked down from hundreds of dollars to $97. They might have some enlightening content to offer, with every e-mail I received, I felt like I was being hounded by a snake oil salesman.
A weekly or monthly e-mail newsletter for customers is a good idea to keep your audience engaged. Pummeling subscribers, or sending sales pitch after sales pitch without any news or educational content is cruel and unusual punishment. Fight back against Spamzilla by sending out quality content, not quantity.
(Respect CASL and CAN-SPAM legislation too)
If you have been considering hiring a low-cost content service, do your reputation a favor and reconsider. Paying for the lowest per-word rate might save you money in the short-term, but in the long run will hurt your credibility. Look for writers that have realistic per-blog rates or bundled packages on a monthly basis.
By contracting with an individual freelance writer, you can reap the benefits of:
- Consistent voice, quality and communication about your needs, expectations and goals
- A writer who will be invested in delivering quality content to meet your conversion goals, so they can continue to work with you
- Direct access to the person writing your web content
I had first hand experience with a content mill when I first started freelancing, and the motivation level to produce quality content doesn’t translate in the same way as it does as a freelancer working for a client directly.
Complexo and LingoGirl
Content marketing for tech companies is frequently written with a lot of insider lingo, technobabble and gets far too complicated to hold your reader’s attention. If you want to make quick work of Complexo and LingoGirl, write content with a conversational tone, and leave out the acronyms and industry buzzwords.
Complexo spends a lot of time lurking in whitepapers and software blogs. Lingo Girl hangs out a lot on social media. Where ever you see them, be sure to stay clear!
Googlenauts are inbound marketing “experts” who are so laser-focussed on SEO value that they completely reject any ideas to make writing more interesting for human beings to read. They individually masquerade as a Panda, a Penguin and a Pigeon.
Googlenauts are highly intelligent yet extremely distractible. They may look to re-engineer your web content every time Google releases an algorithm update. Maintaining your website (and paying attention to your rankings and content analytics) for SEO value is a smart strategy, but obsession about it isn’t.
Though these are some of the online marketing villains you should be aware of, there are likely others you have spotted in the wild. Though Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and their allies are fictional characters from DC Comics and Warner Brothers, the Cloudworker is available to safeguard B2B and technology companies from bad content.
If you are a B2B sales professional, consider learning about content marketing strategies. It’s a great tool to have in your “utility belt”. If you don’t have the time or the superpowers to craft your own inbound marketing content, consider hiring a freelance “sidekick” to take into the trenches with you. Your competitors are likely creating authoritative content, and you don’t want to be left in the dust.
Have you noticed any other digital marketing villains I’ve missed? Tell me about them in the comments section below! I would also recommend you catch Batman v Superman in theatres or ultimately on DVD or (legal) download.