A long time ago, I found myself playing with a piece of software that used “hypertext”. I’m talking a VERY long time ago; the Internet existed, but nobody was on it yet, and this hypertext-using software was designed to link things on a single computer, connecting content in such a way as to make it more useful to a single person, generally to build either multi-path training courses or to put together what amounted to internal FAQs.
Of course, the word hypertext eventually became a cornerstone in all of our lives. You may not realize this, but that ‘http://‘ at the front of Internet addresses stands for hypertext transfer protocol.
My point is that words get created and co-opted all the time. And yesterday I came across this advertisement, which in exchange for my e-mail address led me to something that was not at all what it claimed to be:
The page where the Citrix advertisement asked for my personal details so they could market stuff to me later said I’d be receiving “an e-book”. But if you’re like me you’ve come to believe that an e-Book is a distinct ‘file’ that can be downloaded and maybe even put into a piece of special software for later reading. And if you click this link you’ll see that what Citrix is giving away is an on-line only slide show. That’s not ‘an e-book’, is it?
Does that matter? In the always-online world, not really—aside from the ‘started the transaction with a lie’ part of things. Citrix sent you to a collection of paged information in exchange for your e-mail address. You got a yuck or two out of the bad old jokes, and Citrix got you. Win-win.
And all the kids are doing this content marketing thing. In fact, the article you’re reading right this moment is an example of content marketing. I write and we publish several pieces like this each week (as well as a video collection in a separate thread). People find this stuff, either because they already come here, are sent here by someone else or another web site, or directed here via our search engine optimization efforts. And we do this because we want you to spend time here. More traffic = more leads = more sales.
Apple’s even gotten into the content marketing game, unapologetically acknowledging they have increased sales in mind.
I have no “moral of the story” here, other than reiterating the absolute need for you to get your content marketing efforts (content is a part of Influency*—you knew that, right?) under control. Apple and Citrix aren’t alone in understanding this. Amazon gets content marketing. So does Yelp. Even National Public Radio did content marketing—using an amazing classified advertisement—and at least one New York Times Bestselling Author of ‘real’ books has embraced Content Marketing, full-on.
Ultimately, Content Marketing, through eBooks or otherwise, is simply one big part of the everything equation. Everything is linked to everything, something, or nothing, and what you call it isn’t what matters.
Creating those links and the content behind them is. Ready to get started?