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It’s almost Halloween, and you know what I find spooky? That 93% of B2B marketers say they are using content marketing, while only 42% believe it’s effective according to CMI.  [Click to Tweet] Why is there so much content out there that isn’t working?  Why must buyers sift through the noise to find answers to what they search?

Marketers often ask:

  • How do you measure?
  • What do you measure?
  • What types of content are effective?

I usually recommend:

  • Pick a topic
  • Research what exists on that topic
  • Make sure whatever you create is much better

Rand Fishkin’s talk on 10x content is a perfect explanation. There’s noise out there because people invest in quick wins, but the problem is it’s not 2009 anymore and quick wins don’t work. [Click to Tweet]

I’m thinking about how Halloween costumes are a helpful comparison to the ongoing debate over what quality content is.

Do you have that one friend, or a friend who knows someone, who always has the biggest, most talked about Halloween event? (If you are that person, please tweet me your costume)

  • What do they do that stands out? Research. Visuals and sensory. Food. Drinks. Themes or effect. They care about experience. They care about you.
  • Think of your blog or resource center as the big event, and each piece of content you add to the library impacts the overall perception your event gives off. Choose your costume (content) based on both the image you want to give, and what effect you think your guests will enjoy. Understanding your audience is as important as understanding yourself if you want to be a hit.
Sometimes it’s simple. There’s such a thing as content or a costume that almost everyone will love. Case in point: Twinkies Twins Halloween Costume.

But content and costumes usually fall into four distinct categories, which type are you?

1. The Slapdash. Huh? This is a costume (or content piece) that’s hurried and easy. It’s clear you figured out your costume on Halloween day. Your produced this quickly and at minimal cost, with very little thought. It’s not relevant and not differentiated.  This type leaves people with the impression you lack purpose, focus, or worst: that you don’t care. optimus_prime_halloween_costume.jpg
 2. “Wait, what are you?” Blah. You’ve clearly differentiated yourself by doing something so obscure it’s not relatable. You did a super job of being something no one recognizes, but most people who don’t already know you aren’t going to ask.  Is your creative content like this? Make sure to keep your audience and corporate goals in mind when choosing themes. With this costume, you won’t be the hit of the party, but there’s that needle in a haystack chance you might meet your soulmate by finding the one other person who gets your joke. Are you Astronaut Landon from Planet of the Apes?

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3. Sure. You were a witch, just like 13% of costume wearers were last year. You did a good job of it. You planned, you delivered, looked great and you had fun. Even though you weren’t differentiated, you were still relevant. With content this means you make sense but lack impact. Does a blog post that makes sense but isn’t memorable help you bring in a future lead? Probably not. Does it help you exist? Absolutely.

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4. The Best. You are differentiated and relevant. You talked to your most influential guests. You picked your theme. You picked your costume. All the details were aligned with your vision. You deeply understood your vision and your event before you decided. Your image is going to resonate, and build your costume brand authority. Pop star Demi Lovato is known as a top social influencer on Halloween. Why? SHE LOVES IT. She plans it, talks about it, and goes all out.

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If you’re still reading, you likely care about one of these two things:

Be fierce with your costumes and smart with your content. Happy Halloween.