The other C word: what makes great content marketing great

Now that content marketing has gone mainstream, the average stuff isn’t really going to work any more. We all need to be aiming higher, to create the ‘home run’ pieces that really drive successful programs.

So what makes for a ‘home run’ piece? Clearly, there’s no recipe to follow – but there is one ingredient that all great content marketing shares. That’s what this little rant is all about…

Hope you like it — and DO share your comments below (we love comments).


I like this a lot, Doug. The other C word, “Confidence,” is a more appropriate term than what’s often described as a key ingredient, “Passion.” But I think confidence is more apt – in other words, you’ve nailed it!

I do think that Empathy plays a bigger role, though. You mention it – but to me it’s more of a star than a bit player.

(Also, LOVE your dad’s one-sentence sex talk. That could be a whole slide share, right there. LOL)

Thanks Ann — yeah, maybe Empathy and Confidence are the Holy Duo. Need to think of a third.

In retrospect, my Dad’s sex talk was cool as hell. At the time, I could have used some more HOW TO. His content was high on passion, low on utility. Thanks again.

My new mantra: “C Content Marketing.” This is the marketer’s corollary to “provocative selling,” “confident marketing!” Your “Aim High” prescription resonates with me. I’ve been challenging organizations to have higher expectations from content. Your rant explains why they haven’t. A 2013 “Catch 22.”

Thanks Jim. I do think ‘aim high’ may sound trite but if we’re not starting out with big ambitions, our chances of doing something great disappears.

Really nice work, Doug. That is all I’m saying as I fear more would risk sycophancy and imposed narcissism.

Doug, I love the slideshare (as always). I agree, as marketers we cannot by shifty in our views.

Within big organizations, confidence in content is a challenge. The confidence it started with is watered down by a range of opinions (and legal teams). But when you turn and look out across the blogosphere, you see the downside of content with confidence.

Posts that confidently state you need keyword meta tags (even though search engines stopped using that easy-to-game space years ago).
Confident proclamations that if you do just this one (dumb, shady, pointless) thing, your marketing results will be transformed, practically overnight.
Content advice that plainly and clearly states that the key to promoting your content effectively is to create your social media accounts and use them to share every new piece of content you create, without once referencing the fact you will be sharing your content with your brand new audiences of ZERO.

So be confident. But be acutely aware of the dangers of blind confidence too.

Great points, Eric. You’re right: confidence is only one ingredient. If it’s attached to bad ideas, it backfires.

Maybe that’s where it strays into arrogance.

Re Eric’s comment above: That’s why I think Empathy is critical, as a buddy to Confidence. Confidence without Empathy is Cocky. (Another C word.)

Ooh. Good one. Must steal that.
(Note to self: don’t tell victims when stealing things from them).
(Second note to self: keep notes to self to self).

Inspiring slide show Doug. And I think this works for all aspects of life, not just content creation. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Chris — I agree — confidence seems to be a magic ingredient in so many good things (as long as it doesn’t stray into cockiness).

Michiel Gaasterland left this note on SlideShare:

“Just yesterday I saw your ‘Crap’ presentation. I think it’s brilliant. This one… I’m not too sure of. ‘Confident content’? As oppose to ‘Insecure content’? Also the 7 principles, don’t really bring people closer to being confident. You can be confident without being funny. Etc. Sorry, didn’t get this one.”

I can see his points.

I know confidence is kind of an elusive thing and hard to give practical advice on. But I also know that having confidence in the brief helps make better decisions about content. I’m not sure how I’d give even more actionable advice on this but I accept the 7 points may not be.

Loved. It.
Completely agree. And I do think that part of the problem is that companies too often are busy to show “we’re smart dudes, for sure better than you, because we know everything you don’t” attitude. Then you read the content they have and you run away, never coming back.
Confidence is good, but I think that it would be good to see more brands humble enough to be there for THEIR users. and this is not happening. Sometimes I love to take some hotel websites, and you can totally get what’s wrong with them. I read some “about us” page (one of the most important thing to me to read to love or hate the brand right away) written like some external force is writing it. I mean, it’s not even more an “about us” page but like “about their opinion, and btw we paid them” page.
So be confident, but resonate with me and be humble enough so I can imagine to sit down with you in front of a beer while you’re telling me your story.
cheers Doug.

Great points, Alessio.

A few others have said that confidence needs to be tempered by empathy or it becomes cockiness.

To me, humility and a service ethic are not inconsistent with confidence at all.
I should have included that idea…

Thanks, Doug. Amen.

“Fun is the most magnetic force in human relations.” Stealing it.

Slide 60 – ‘go find another job…’, the boys at DEVO made it into a bumper sticker: TOIL IS STUPID

Hello Velocity People!

I got really inspired by your work and I don’t even have a Marketing studies background 😉

Thank you for the originality, the quality of content and most of it, the extraordinary way you conjugate all so fluently!

Here I leave you with the article I wrote about Marketing Content and I reccomended this slideshare (sorry it’s in Portuguese…:/on the other hand, it means your work has no barriers to expand!)

All the best and be sure you won a follower! I really think you revolutionized SlideShare with “less is more” and fenomenal humour 🙂
Thank you again!

Amazing – exactly what I needed to read today.

Brilliant. Will help with a difficult client.

Love the slideshare (and the little comments in parenthesis!) Back in the early days when I wrote content, it was B-O-R-I-N-G because it’s what people wanted. (Yuck, snore.)

Writing content that’s fun, wears empathy on it’s sleeve and exudes the big C…I love it!

Thanks for being such a trailblazer!

    Thanks Christine! BORING sucks.

[…] A great example of this is Velocity Partner’s first presentation slide in “The other C word: What makes great content marketing great”. […]

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