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Content Marketing is NOT Perfect Pitch with a Bullhorn

Content Marketing is NOT Perfect Pitch with a Bullhorn

You can find me in church services on most Sunday mornings, and the music is the part of the service that tends to resonate with me the most. In fact, I’ve sang on adult vocal teams as well as lead worship for elementary and middle school services and Vacation Bible School (VBS). Because I’m a musician, I’m also easily distracted when the music is “off”. I was distracted enough this last weekend to have the mind wander a bit – and thus another analogy was born. In this case, let’s discuss what Content Marketing is NOT…it is NOT Perfect Pitch with a Bullhorn!

Now, before I get too far along on this analogy, let’s remember that Psalm 98:4 says “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” God would rather have you sing praises loud and off-key than not at all! But the guy in front of you may not agree with your pitch or volume at the time.

Now let’s look at the similarities between good vocals – and good content marketing.

1. Gotta have the right words

Have you ever been in a choir, and the director told you, “if you forget the words, just mouth ‘watermelon, watermelon’”? Now imagine if the entire choir forgot the words and just started singing the watermelon song?!? Not exactly the message you hoped to convey, right?

Content Marketing Lesson: Good content marketing has the right keyword density to appeal to Google while still making sense to the readers. Do not cram in extra keywords to the point that you break the Rule of 5Cs: clear, concise, concrete, complete, and cohesive.

2. No bullhorn needed

The guy behind me this weekend had a great voice – never flat, never sharp, pitch perfect. He knew all the words. However, he only had one volume – LOUD! In order to invoke emotion, music is dynamic and nuanced. It has crescendos and decrescendos. It can alternate between a gentle summer breeze and a raging tempest! Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is one of my favorite exhibitions for these types of dynamics.

Content Marketing Lesson: Not every piece of content should be “in your face” promotional. Content should take the reader/viewer on a journey (like a how-to series) or tell an epic story (customer success story). Some viewers may be captivated by artwork, or want the story read to them, so consider embedding Slideshare presentations, podcasts, and YouTube videos throughout your website and social channels.

3. Watch your cutoffs

In music, the rests and diction are as important as the notes themselves. When singing in a small ensemble or choir, everyone must hit the same cutoffs. I once knew a vocalist who would always go that “extra beat” after everybody hit the cutoff. He had a great voice, but it was almost like he wanted everyone to be able to identify his contribution to the song versus the group performance. The end result was that he was a distraction for both the audience and the performers.

Content Marketing Lesson: This gets back to the “clear and concise” requirements mentioned in the 5 C’s. Do not ramble. Dr. Seuss nailed it when he stated, “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” Although there is some debate about the optimum length for long-form content, I like Andy Crestodina’s approach in Content Chemistry:

Andy Crestodina's Table of Content Elements

Andy Crestodina’s Periodic Table of Content

In the book, Andy describes how to combine the smaller elements (like tweets and blog posts) into longer-form content like white papers and eBooks. But you can also take a white paper, or multi-step “how to”, and break it up into bite size blog posts that educate the readers without overwhelming their attention spans.

Are you “moved” by music? Are you distracted when you cannot understand the words, or if the music isn’t dynamic, or if musicians miss their cutoffs? When it comes to my content here, and on the Mantis blog, I will focus on my words, dynamics, and cutoffs…and leave it to the READERS to make the joyful noises!

Photo Credit: Choir Boys, by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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