Crap: the single biggest threat to B2B content marketing

All the surveys show the same trend: 90% of marketers plan to spend a lot more on content this year than they did last year. (God knows what the other 10% are planning).

It doesn’t take America’s Next Top Model to tell you that this adds up to a big boatload of content coming our way. As consumers and buyers, we’ll all be targeted by a tidal wave of eBooks, blog posts and infographics. And as marketers, we’ll all be competing against a Mississippi of meaningful material.

This new Slideshare rant is all about this problem — and the only solution to it.  I won’t spoil your fun; click away — full-screen mode is advised.

As always, your comments are not just welcome, they’re eagerly awaited and received with a level of gratitude bordering on the unseemly.

There’s a guest post on Hubspot called The Content Marketing Deluge that expands on this piece and addresses the question: aren’t we already in the midst of the Deluge?

And one on Marketing Profs that goes a bit deeper into the Six Principles of Great Content Brands.

This piece went kind of viral on us, so I wrote about the excitement of that ride in this post, Behind the Crap.

And once you’ve read all this and you’re converted… get in touch with that B2B content marketing agency you’ve heard so much about.


So we can now expect all those instant social media experts to instantly and magically “rebrand” (ally Kazam!) themselves social content experts? Oh. Boy.
And, it tickles me that one of the “crap” problems noted is “me too” and now I’m going to share this via social media….me too. 🙂

Thanks Mary — me too!

Thanks for the frightening yet necessary wake-up call, Doug. This is one prediction that should catch the attention of all marketers – yikes!

You know I’ve said for years that less is more and now you’ve proved it – even if you needed 50 slides inclduing one with a VERY suggestive image on it and some bad English 😉

Shit. I shared this before reading the previous comments. Apres moi la deluge. Anyone who creates or consumes B2B content needs to read this. And go out and buy a batch of those convenient reversible plastic bags. Let’s make the sidewalks of B2B marketing safe for pedestrians again.

p.s. Doug, that’s not to suggest I regard you as pedestrian. Anything but, in fact…

Thanks Steph, David and Bob.

David – I think I can guess the suggestive image but where’s the bad English?
Won’t be the first time.

Bob – content poo bags. love it.

Thanks for the ‘props’ (whatever props means).

Last time I wrote it down people were “damned special” [Damned Colonists….. :-)]

Thanks Doug…I agree, but also will say that this has been happening for a long, long time…and…media companies are too blame as well as they dive into more curation and less research-based pieces. Publishing is quick and easy today without barriers to entry, so it will only get worse.

At the same time, to your point, there is a big opportunity for those who can tell a different story.

Exciting times.

Doug, as A A Milne once said (I don’t think I’ve ever kicked off a piece of content with that phrase before) “Pooh sticks!” He may not have used an exclamation mark in the original.

Hi Doug,

I often wonder up here from the depths of the marketing automation engine room where I ply my trade for a bit of fresh air. Great content really is central to demand generation success but all too often is overlooked in the race to automate. The problem seems to be that most of us marketers are in a hurry to get stuff done. As we are right at the start of the year our list of stuff to do is very long. If we reduce the list by half is that “half the crap” or does something else begin to happen?

You know you guys are starting to get really annoying with how good you are at this…. Damn…

Man, Doug you’re really hitting your stride. This one elicited exactly 8 loud belly laughs and 6 heads poking around cube doors to see what was causing the commotion. Keep it coming! And, of course, I couldn’t agree with your point more.

Love these slides so much! Great work Doug. One thing that I’d like to see a lot more of in 2013 is long content and investigative journalism. This doesn’t just have to be on newspapers or sites with large content teams. I’d much rather read one long post that covers a topic fully than 20 separate posts that only cover bits of it (and sometimes contradict each other).

One thing we tried at the Koozai blog was to reduce our blog posts from publishing three a day to two a day but with the same time to write them (so more time per post). It went so well we reduced it again to one post going live each day (but with the same time we originally spent on three) and we split the posts so a different person writes each day. We found that longer content would work better than lots of smaller pieces and I can’t recommend it enough. We also started creating whitepapers for really long topics (which took anywhere from two days to two weeks solid to write and edit) and they helped us attract the biggest clients we’ve ever seen.

Simply put, less is more and make sure that the ‘less’ is epic.

I’ve gone from wanting to write like you to wanting you out my way. I have hit out on you now. Was nice knowing you.

Reading your work is like watching a great athlete on game film. It’s both inspiring and challenging at the same time.
You make all of us wanting to win at business, and the business of marketing, want to raise our game. Thanks for that Doug!

p.s. This business is my sport. And pros like you make it much more fun. Cheers!

Useful, entertaining and worth the time investment!
I’m pretty sure “props” is short for “propers” is short for “proper respect”.
Mad props, Doug.

This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve seen on the topic of content marketing. Brilliant!

Great, now that Joe P and Robert R stole my thoughts, I also have to join the “me too” perp walk! 😉

Love this warning shot. I agree and am seeing the same trends (side note: nobody wants the “content is king” cliche to die faster than I do) and it will get worse, but the best of the best will stand out — and the competition is healthy for that reason.

And if we’re being honest, let’s admit that half-assed marketing mucks up a lot of cool shite (SEO, social) But that’s a topic for another preso/post. Thanks for this one!

This is an excellent post and I agree totally. There are all of these studies with charts and graphs out there that show that as you release content, revenues and leads increase exponentially (see Hubspot). It makes it seem as if you just need to release lots of content without regard for quality. This is unfortunate for marketers who create great content as well as for the consumer who is burdened with this deluge of crap… it just makes it harder to find the good stuff. So building a Great Content Brand is the way to rise above the stench, huh? I agree. Good work will always win. Thanks for the post!

Pure brilliance. The definition of content marketing seems quite muddled, and this is an outstanding manifesto for a little definition purity. (We have more thoughts on our blog: Thank you for saying this, and for saying it so well!

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

Perhaps you’d like to create a related presentation about the ways companies GET great content. Because we all know what’s about to happen: TPTB at various companies will see this slideshare, get frightened into caring about the content of their “content,” tell their minions to procure “great content,” and NOT INCREASE THE BUDGET. So the minions will call their offshore content-producers, who pay their writers .057643 cents per word, and say, “We need better content!” and the offshore content producers will say, “Sure!” and continue to send the best content one can buy for .057643 cents per word, because TPTB DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

So perhaps you can find a way to convince TPTB to budget enough to hire professional writers, or experts in their fields who happen to also be good writers. This will greatly benefit everyone involved!

Hmmm…. Your commenting system doesn’t like spaces between paragraphs!

Firstly, it’s clearly very important that you have come up with some new TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms):
MDS = Marketing Defense Systems
CED = Content Effluent Deluge
GCB = Great Content Brand

These are what really matter 😉

As ever a great piece. One thing I’d add… Maybe, in all this, Google is actually our friend? How much of all this content is actually found/discovered via Google? A lot more, still, than many might think. And Google is now getting pretty good, with all its clever ‘signals’, of filtering the good from the bad in terms of content.

Econsultancy content gets ripped off, copied, republished all the time. But we don’t bother doing anything about it as a) it would be an endless, thankless, fruitless task and b) barely anyone ever sees that content because Google is smart enough to know it should send people our way, not their way.

Great thoughtful presentation and right on target! It seems over the past several years much more time is spent sifting through online content, separating the wheat from the chaff (or as you say CRAP). Thank you!

Doug, your content on content marketing is slightly overtargeted. Not sure how many of the male readers of (and commenters on) this presentation managed to get a compact mirror out of their handbags, but I, for one, have neither compact mirror nor handbag. A bottom drawer, yes, but it’s too full of unpublished novels to fit a compact mirror in.

Okay, yeah, I’m kidding. But only about the novels.

50 pages to explain something 1 paragraph was already too much for. This is a prime example of crap.

frankly, a 50 slide powerpoint presentation is CRAP.
the real trend is the disintermediation of the traditional agency model.. time to stop hiding behind so called superior quality as a reason to charge ridiculous prices….

And here comes Vine…

Interesting insight. Keep them coming. They’re greatly appreciated.

Bravo, Doug! After a lengthy conversation about this very subject, Rich Monroe suggested I read this. Our talk focused on my dismay over the endless schlock being spewed out by amateurs, which is driving down compensation for professional scribes like myself. I don’t know if I share your optimism, but…a girl can always hope! Great site, by the way!

Excellent presentation, I went through the entire 50 slides and kept on thinking: “whoever created this really GETS it”

I have come to the same conclusion (that everyone is creating a ton of content… and the only way to rise to the surface is to create something truly exceptional).

Love it!

p.s. You might want to get rid of that tag cloud, it creates a lot of duplicate content/thin content issues that Panda will penalize.

Very well written post, writing with some humour is greatly appreciated in the online marketing world.

Can someone tell Brian Clark of Copyblogger to read this friggin post NOW! MG! (My God), the man never tires of “content marketing” as a cliche.

“The type that blows people’s socks off, then sells them slippers”

That is copywriting gold. I will have to use that line myself.

I think in life we shouldn’t get too stressed by external forces. Everything said here is true. We just need to focus on what we ourselves can control.

Brilliant post! Thanks for sharing

Saba Consultants- Inspiring Communication

Consumers WILL switch off if marketers duplicate the same messages that are being fast forwarded on TV. Always remember “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”, and “the trouble with mass market advertising is that it fights for our attention by interrupting us, and we are just too busy in our lives to enjoy being interrupted anymore”…. BOTH these quotes were said pre Internet, Google, Youtube, Social Media etc..

We now produce as much content in 2 days as we did from the dawn of civilisation to 2003. The deluge HAS CERTAINLY STARTED!

BUT content, certainly more of it is NOT what we need. It needs to be focused and respond to PULL not PUSH ideals. Analytics will become increasingly sexy and important for us to mine all the data which is already there to help us tailor the content and make it more of a relationship/dialogue and enhance the Customer Experience.

I’ve always said that the first rule of marketing is “Don’t be boring.” This is even more important in content marketing. Great article. The Six Principles are something I’ll keep in front in front of me as I create new content for my own site and for my clients.

Hi Doug,

Couldn’t agree more with the content deluge. “Content is king” is so ingrained that the saying is cliche. Smart brands are already on the band wagon, and the rest are sure to follow, which will surely issue in a new age of shallow, derivative and hackneyed articles, videos and infographs that add no value to the customer experience.

On the flip side, I don’t see content going anyway in a hurry. In an age of what Seth Godin would call ‘Permission Marketing’, forming relationships and tribes around brands is always going to be important, and content is always going to be integral.

Thanks for this slideshare – I will certainly bookmark this blog.


Hi Doug,

Couldn’t agree more with the content deluge. “Content is king” is so ingrained that the saying is cliche. Smart brands are already on the band wagon, and the rest are sure to follow, which will surely issue in a new age of shallow, derivative and hackneyed articles, videos and infographs that add no value to the customer experience.

On the flip side, I don’t see content going anyway in a hurry. In an age of what Seth Godin would call ‘Permission Marketing’, forming relationships and tribes around brands is always going to be important, and content is always going to be integral.

Thanks for this slideshare – I will certainly bookmark this blog.


As an SEO, Although I work a lot on-page, I do depend on my clients to provide EPIC content to fill their pages on their websites. A 100 word blah page isn’t going to get them higher in the rankings. A delicate balance of quantity (number of words) and QUALITY is of the utmost importance.

Great slides and yes content for content sake is not worth publishing it need to be helpful to users of your website.

Excellent stuff. Just revisited the deck after a couple of years and it holds up really well. Classic.

Nice Slides ! I certainly enjoyed your post. Unique Content is important on your website, & it’s useful to increase keyword ranking.

Excellent depth 😮

Doug, I am a steadfast fan of your blog and your revelations about marketing.

That said, WHEN is our industry going to grow out of the lazy “x ways to do something” or “y principles of good something” writing trick? When I see that coming, my brain wants to barf. It is reminiscent of the “…for Dummies” books. To me, it screams “this is marketing content”. Do our customers really enjoy this?

I read that the ISIS recruiters also use this trick…”22 ways to be a successful suicide bomber”… ugh.

Is it me, or is it time for a change?

    Thanks Marni.
    Yeah, we’re all trapped in Listicle Hell.

    I wrote about this in a post ‘5 Things We Can Learn From List Headlines”:

You scream. I scream. We all scream at Crap.

Thanks for another good read, DK.

This is so great I had to write down the main points on a piece of paper with a pen. Thank you.


Interesting, thanks for sharing! 🙂

Content marketing can truly make or brand. It’s great that you have shared this interesting resource, and I personally expect a lot more bigger development in content this year.

Nice slide deck. I’m going to share it with my clients!

Your 2013 prediction that we’d all be consumed in a fragrant tidal wave of crap content has certainly come to pass.

That tidal wave was followed by another larger tidal wave of good content, burying all the earlier odious fecal waste.

So, for most of us, we’ve kind of found our level. We’re all churning out, no not churning, pouring our soul into the best pieces of content we can muster only to be met by a wall of indifference and the collective shoulder shrugs of publishers.

The bar for content is so high that most of us can only grub around in the foothills picking up the odd low-level link here or there..

The difference that turns good content into great content is the writing, in my humble o. This is where most us fall short. We just can’t quite produce the quality of writing, that grabs the attention of the editors and demands to be published.

    Great points, Henry.

    I agree: it’s not really the crap that’s the problem any more — it’s often the good stuff competing for the attention of the same audiences.

    But the top few search results on a lot of niche, B2B topics may not be that great. They’re just on a site with strong domain authority, or they did their link-building work. Still a lot to play for!

    I also agree that writing is often the difference between good and great content—especially if you including ‘thinking’ in the definition of writing.

    In most markets. fresh thinking on any given issue is still in short supply.

Doug, can you tell us your biggest content marketing success that you have been involved in?

Just like you said, being authoritative and passionate still remains true even today. If companies are pumping out junk content, it will just be buried among the other junk out there. Being the authority will make you stand on top. Powerful slideshow Doug.

Why they do name it Crap? Does not the name effect the brand?

Nice article Doug! Everyone has experienced (or will at some point) one or more of the blocks you mention in your article. This is a practical and basic look at potential “freeze points” along with some very actionable solutions for getting beyond them – thanks it!

crap making content marketing difficult day by day threading every single one with its evil functions. B2B need to stay positive and work hard for content marketing.


Amazing post. Definitely a lot of valuable content. If you’re interested in reading more amazing content visit:

writing content is good but people are writing nonsense too . they just need to fill up their website with content no matter that makes sense or not

Totally true!
No one wants to read reams of meaningless content self-serving and dispassionate

Content truly is King and it’s about time the computer programmers allowed us a seat on the bus.

Content producing departments are strained, as your article says, but also out of work great content producers’ finances are also strained. So that kind of works out! : ) well for Everyone : )

Some companies have started to take the measures to guarantee influencer marketing is more transparent. They are making a big bet on content and they are willing to invest in order to make it scale. Effortless access to enterprise documents, in real time, is promoting new alternatives for working around the world, and many businesses are attempting to adapt to be able to use virtual and cellular jobs. Offline businesses have internal data, too it isn’t only the on-line businesses. With an increasing number of companies expanding their operations throughout the planet, however, it’s crucial for organizations to bring localization in their content-marketing strategies instead of addressing it after the actuality. Your content marketing wants that type of power and direction, too. Marketers are able to take advantage of this exact info to personalize their marketing and advertising communications with prospects, helping educate them on the topics they care about most.

If you’re not creating content to engage your potential clients, then maybe you should first read my prior post on why you have to be. The purchaser firmly controls what things to opt to notice not the seller. If you’ve engaged your prospective buyer over the long run, odds are they’ll turn to you when the time is perfect for them to purchase. The majority of the investors are anxious that Facebook doesn’t have a sure method to earn money from its large number of users accessing the web site from smartphones yet.

C est bien vrai que de now hours nous sommes amener a creer de plus en plus de contenu mais IL faut egalement veiller a la pertinance de celui-ci

Here we are today, yes shit has hit the fan. Research marketing today and “Crap” has been the yearly evolution. Rinse repeat, and lets do it again tomorrow. You nailed!

Great SlideShare by content marketing guru Doug Kessler emphasizing the importance of quality

Marketers are spending 90% of their budgets on content. That’s crazy. What do you think the remaining 10% is being devoted to?

Thanks Doug…I agree, but also will say that this has been happening for a long, long time…and…media companies are too blame as well as they dive into more curation and less research-based pieces. Publishing is quick and easy today without barriers to entry, so it will only get worse.

At the same time, to your point, there is a big opportunity for those who can tell a different story

    Agreed with your point of view.

You have really posted a Great info which makes you a content marketing guru Doug Kessler and it also provide an importance of the quality information . , please keep it up

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Well done! Great information. I got a lot of information from here.

Nice Blog and very informative, explains the importance of content quality.

A good one, few years back I wrote on Content marketing a hedonic treadmill – you put it in such a beautiful deck. Thanks to your deck. I am sharing with with my marketing team 🙂

Keep sharing buddy

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thanx for sharing amazing blog

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