All Online Marketing Content is the Same


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Be original. That’s the first point on the list of targets for almost every creative enterprise on the planet. If you want to create something, you want to create something ‘new’. If you’re not creating something new you’re just recreating and that’s nowhere near as interesting. So when you sit down to plan online marketing content, there’s that palpable desire to be original.

The thing is, original doesn’t exist. At least not in the purest sense of the word and certainly not in online marketing. There’s an episode of South Park that illustrates this point beautifully. Throughout the episode, Butters alter ego Professor Chaos is planning to destroy the town. Every time he comes up with a plan he’s reminded ‘Simpson’s did it’. The episode feels like retaliation against critical comments, but it’s more than that. It’s an illustration of the value we place on originality. You can’t just deny ideas because someone did something similar before; every idea has been done before. The target should simply be to do it better.

Which brings us back to online marketing content. Every single piece of online content follows the same structure. That might sound like a sweeping statement, because it is, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

The Opening

Obviously it’s impossible to create any content without an opening. Every post, every tweet, every video starts somewhere. In online marketing content the job of the opening is to position the reader. Every post starts with an observation or a statement of fact. Its function is to let the reader know what they’re going to get and no matter what you do with it, that function never changes.

The Segway

The next portion of content is a purely functional device. It might be the most entertaining, interesting or creative portion of your content but it’s not designed to do more than move your reader on. The Segway takes your intro and pushes it towards the key topic of your post. Again that’s a function you can’t avoid, jumping straight from an intro to the meat of the subject will only put off readers.

The Breakdown

The key target of your content, and the reason it’s there in the first place, is to make a point or share information. The breakdown is where you do that. The breakdown is really just an explanation of why the post exists. Every piece of online marketing content has a breakdown, because the breakdown is the essence of every post.

The Backup

Okay, a confession, you will see posts that don’t use backup. Or that amalgamate the backup potion into the other sections. But it’s hard to work that fact into this structure. The backup is the supporting info, things like links and research materials, that back up the breakdown. For the purposes of this post, the backup occurs just after the next section.

The Conclusion

Just as every post has a beginning, they’ve all got an ending too. Good conclusions wrap up the piece and leave the viewer/reader with a positive impression of what went before.

The backup here is a little bit of homework. Have a look at the latest post you created or the last one you read, every one of them will fall into this structure. The posts with the most obvious structure will be blog posts and videos but even short tweets are an amalgamation of each of these. A one-line statement about a topic is all of these sections in one. With the most effective tweets you will be able to identify each of these sections within the tweet.

The point here is not that each post is the same, it’s that each post is still different. This is just a paradigm; the quality of the content is what matters. When you trawl through pages and pages of online marketing content, it can be easy to assume that it’s all the same. But you can find amazing posts that appear, on the surface, to be just like any other.

Every piece of online marketing content is the same. They have the same targets, they follow the same principles and they stick to the same structure. But some are a lot better than others. The key for marketers is not to create original content; it’s to create great content. Even if the Simpsons did it first.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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