It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that this year's online magical marketing word is "content."
All the hustlers who were selling us "the conversation" a few years ago and "social media marketing" for the past two years have suddenly all become "content" experts. The great thing about content is, it's anything you want it to be. If you can upload it to the web, it's content.
It may be "content" in the digital world. In the real world it's mostly garbage. 99% of it will go unnoticed and will live and die anonymously.
Like all the online wonder drugs, there will be a few winners. They will be the same really smart people and the really smart agencies who know how to do things right. They will be a tiny, tiny minority.
As usual, the 99% talent-free mediocrities will attach themselves to these winners as proof of the magical powers of "content." And, also as usual, the vast majority of content "providers" will produce nothing but drivel that no one will pay a moment's attention to.
A growing number of marketers and agencies have already quietly given up on over-hyped online marketing marvels. Websites that aren't transactional lay around like a lox waiting to be upgraded "next year."
Between 2010 and 2011 over 25% of "fast-growing" companies identified by Inc magazine who had blogs dropped them. And according to USA Today, only 23% of Fortune 500 companies have a blog anymore. A far cry from the days when websites and blogs and podcasts were going to be the fast track to marketing stardom.
Now, of course, everyone has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Why? Because everyone else has one.
They're the lazy mans' blogs. It's just so much easier to write a tweet or an update than a blog post. And you get the same credit for "doing social media." In fact, you are not doing social media. For the most part you are doing nothing. But it's masquerading as social media.
Plus you don't need brains to Tweet or update a Facebook page. Here is Coke's last tweet, as of this writing:
For your to-do list today: “pay a compliment to one friend and one stranger”This abominable idiocy could have been written by a half-bright 9-year-old. In fact, it probably was. Pepsi's latest Facebook update (again, as of this writing)
One way to make this the best week EVER is to ____. (With a picture of a Pepsi can.)This pathetic nonsense drew over 4,000 likes.
The essence of social media is democracy. Everyone has something to say. Unfortunately, everyone doesn't have something interesting to say. Or intelligent to say. As a matter of fact, almost no one has anything interesting or intelligent to say.
As user-generated-content has become the standard, and as marketers' content tries to emulate and imitate user-generated-content, it is being relentlessly dumbed down. It is devolving into empty platitudes and boosterism.
We are in for a period of truly vapid online marketing in 2013. It will be the year of content without content.