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Does Your Content Marketing Pass the Mom Test?

By Jay Baer

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Today, I had the honor of delivering a keynote address to more than 3,000 content marketers at the Content Marketing World 2015 event in Cleveland. For the first time in my long career as a speaker, I used no slides whatsoever. I just talked about where content marketing is going, and how content marketing professionals can continue to succeed....or fail to do so.

This is the text of my keynote:

Content Marketing World Keynote: Does Your Content Marketing Pass the Mom Test?


We are colleagues. We are peers. We are friends. We are content marketers, and we are at a fork in the road.

As I look out at the thousands gathered here this week to learn, to teach and to celebrate, I am struck by two contrasting observations:


First, it is remarkable how fast this industry has grown. Just a short time ago, we collectively were just a flicker, and now with the addition of the twin fuels of attention and resources, we are very much a roar!

But my second observation is that we don't need any more content marketers. We have plenty, thank you very much. What we really need – if we are going to sustain this success and take a seat near the head of the table in modern business – is not "content marketers" who are looking to exploit angles and employ sure-fire systems.

What we need are people who have a passion for connections.1 Who understand that there is a point to all of this that transcends clicks and shares and views and downloads and lead gen. And that point – the mission of content – is this:

Content is the emotional and informational bridge between commerce and consumer.

Building that bridge requires more than budget and an editorial calendar and analytics and a strategy. It requires people who, it requires people who LOVE content and what it can do. Not what it can do for revenue and profits and the reduction of customer churn, although those are nice outcomes. But rather, we need people who love content because it helps a young mother pick the best pre-school, it helps a hospital administrator understand the benefit of a new endocrinology test, and it helps my Mom figure out what cruise line she wants to sail on in Alaska.

Content helps people make better decisions, save time, and improve their lives. Creating content is an honor, and it's an opportunity. It's an opportunity for you, it's an opportunity for me, it's an opportunity for all of us, and I hope you's an opportunity worthy of passion.

So What?

You might be sitting there thinking, who cares? I have a ton of things to get done today, this week, this month, and this quarter. It doesn't matter if me–or the people on my team–think about content marketing as marketing or as a larger calling. Why do I care if I–or the people on my team–have passion for content, as long as the job gets done.

Here's why you should care, jaded content professional:

Competition commoditizes competency.

Look around you. More and more and more and more and more smart people are practicing the craft of content. They are getting better every day. And dozens and hundreds and thousands of blogs (including this one), podcasts (including mine), and conferences (like this one) are teaching everyone the same tricks and best practices.


If you have access to the same information and ideas that your competition does, and you play that out over a period of time, what happens? Almost everyone ends up in the same, narrow band of expertise.

Competition commoditizes competency. (highlight to tweet)

This happens in every professional service, always. Look at laser eye surgery. When it first came out, only a few opthamologists knew how, and had the equipment. They were Gods! Now, you can get Lasik while waiting for a burger at Five Guys. Prices have gone down too, because differentiation has faded away.

This is where we're headed, my friends. And when competition commoditizes competency, what becomes the differentiating factor? What separates the great from the good? What is the difference maker?

People. And Passion.

Right now, we're still riding the wave. But the wave will crest. I can see it coming, and you probably sense it too. Everything you do and everything you know can and will be copied by your competition. It's just a matter of time. But they can't duplicate, they cannot steal if you fundamentally care more than they do. About content, and about content's role to improve the lives of real people.

So I ask you a simple question, an existential question really:

Do you love content enough? Are you making content, or are you making a difference?2 (highlight to tweet)

Continue reading...


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About the Author:
Jay Baer is a tequila-loving, hype-free social media strategy consultant and coach. An online marketing pro since 1994, he's worked with more than 700 companies, and 25 of the Fortune 1000. He's one of the world's most popular social media bloggers, creator of the 8-step Social Media Strategic Planning Process, and the Twitter 20 series of live Twitter interviews. He spreads his "think tools last, not first" message around the country like a digital dandelion, speaking to conferences, small groups, or passers-by. Check out his blog at Convince&Convert.
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