By now you know I wrote a book about how the term social media is bullshit. “Social Media” doesn’t mean anything. It’s just this amorphous term that was adopted by marketers around the same time their previous empty term, Web 2.0, was cooling off in terms of popularity. So now that social media is likewise fading in use, “content marketing,” which like social media is equally empty and devoid of usefulness, is starting to take its place.
This should come as no surprise to you.
Why? Snakeoil salesman constantly change the branding of the snakeoil once the rubes figure out they’re not getting what they pay for. It should come as no surprise to you then that sketchy social media expert, Gary Vaynerchuk, recently told Forbes he was “tripling down on content.”
By now, you’ve seen the top-tier members of what I call The Asshole Based Economy change their tune and start slinging services around that involve “content marketing.” But it’s not just them, you know. I think it’s funny to also watch all the minor league social media marketers start calling themselves content marketing specialists in a desperate attempt to keep up with the people they get their misinformation from. And again, like with social media before it, nobody seems to be saying anything about this bullshit. We’re just sort of letting it happen, and allowing the cycle start all over.
Here’s exactly how this new cycle of bullshit is going to play out over the next year or so: Content marketing is going to get a lot of play in the media, there are going to be big conferences about it, and then there’s going to be a flood of books released about it. Books probably written by the same idiots who wrote all those useless social media books you own. And then Andrew Keen is going to show up and talk about why content and content marketing is awful for society (the same way he did for Web 2.0 with his first book and for social media with his second), and then Evgeny Morozov will grace us with his presence, and he’ll explain how content and content marketing is harmful in a political and global context with very wise, but also incredibly dense prose. Seriously. I feel like I’m reading fucking Tolstoy when I read his books.
And then I’ll pop up and explain how content marketing is the same shit in a new package, and you’re all suckers for falling for this stuff. Again.
Except this time, I’m not going to do that. I’m impatient. So we’re going to do something right now and save everyone a couple of years of embarrassment, because you and I both know that in two years time, maybe less, “content marketing,” like “inbound marketing,” are going to become useless buzzwords we all laugh about the same way we all laugh at social media now.
OK. Most of us laugh at social media now. The people who were dumb enough to buy Facebook stock sure aren’t laughing, but fuck ‘em. They were dumb enough to buy stock in a company whose entire business model is based on deceiving advertisers into believing advertising on their platform works. Well, it does, but only if you dump A LOT of money into it, making Facebook quite possibly the world’s ugliest slot machine.
So, I want you to do something with me now. What I want you to do is take a deep breath, stand up, and say it all with me, “Content marketing is bullshit!” And if you’re an overachiever and want something additional to say after “Content marketing is bullshit!” you should say, “I am a sucker for buying anything related to content marketing.”
Any time you see something related to content marketing, I want you to repeat that:“Content marketing is bullshit.” Don’t go to the conferences. Don’t buy the books. Don’t go to any seminars. You already know everything there is to know about “content marketing,” I promise. You know why? Because it’s the same old advice, packaged by the same old scumbags, that was previously packaged and sold to you as social media marketing advice.
You’ve heard it all before. Save your money.
Image by Tomasz Trojanowski.