Marketing to Marketers: 11 Articles We Need to Retire

I’ve had multiple marketers tell me they shun their RSS feeds because all of the articles start to blend together. Marketing to marketers is tough. Not only do we constantly consume content by industry leaders, we’re usually pushing out similar content with our own spin. Let’s save our eyes and retire these 11 articles that we all read daily.

Marketing 101

shutterstock_80386465More often than not, these topics are thrown out by rookies who are still getting used to living and working among the marketers. Buzzwords roll awkwardly off their tongues as they try to communicate with the tribe. They haven’t been following industry trends very long, and aren’t aware that most of these articles are a dime a dozen.

1.  Quality vs Quantity

The answer is always quality, except when the answer is a mix of quantity and quality.

  • Email marketing: focus on the quality of conversions over quantity of emails received.
  • Social media: it’s the quality of interactions over quantity of fans that count.
  • Writing: don’t use 500 words when 50 will suffice.

2. How to make anything go viral

I can sum up just about any virality article right here: use emotions, add humor, incorporate nostalgia, be controversial, insert cute animal pictures. Sound familiar?

Conversely, there are just as many articles about how predicating something will go viral probably won’t lead to success. We want there to be a formula for success and quick fixes in life and in marketing.

3. Best times to post on social media/Best practices for social media articles

Thank you, marketing article, for informing me that it’s not optimal to post updates at 2 am. Thank you, social media article, for suggesting that I try to engage my audience with a question or captivating photo.

These articles feed on our need to systematize social media success. We genuinely want to believe that all it takes to kick butt on Twitter is the ideal posting time and the right hashtag. Yes, there are countless social media managers handling their accounts poorly, but an entry-level article won’t solve that overnight.

4. Your audience has the attention span of a goldfish

These articles, along with others that bemoan the dwindling attention span of modern society, are a dime a dozen on marketing blogs. “Get their intention!” the writer implores, “you only have a matter of seconds!”

These articles are usually paired with entry-level advice about hooking the reader creatively and making your introduction count. Not only are these headlines common, they’re also inaccurate. We’ve seen several times that that the length of content is unimportant when it is high quality.

Middle Management: Your (Not So) Fresh Spin

shutterstock_122215804After a brief time period spent in the industry, marketers start to add their own takes to blog posts. Now that they’re growing out of the novice phase they start looking to add new twists in content and develop their voices.

5. What marketers can learn from X event/What X can teach you about marketing

I’ve seen some articles with this formula that have given me true insight and others that have made me rock with laughter, but most are just boring.

Any time there’s a national event, articles inevitably pop up with the cliché “what X celebrity taught us at Y award show,” or “what X pro athlete can teach us about branding,” etc. It even gets down to the ridiculous topics: “What Big Bird can teach use about social media,” “How my wisdom teeth taught me about native advertising.” It’s madness, I tell you.

6. The sexiest, hairiest, smelliest, prettiest, etc.

Somewhere along the evolution of the Internet we realized that the phrase “best” was overused. Don’t get me wrong, it still is, but now there’s an equal amount of extreme adjectives floating around RSS feeds and blog rolls.

Everything needs to be extreme to get noticed. Gone are the days when marketers could write articles about PPC practices, now everything has to be the coolest, loudest, and most extreme PPC practices to stand out above the rest.

7. …and you should too! 

More often than not, this is a marketer’s attempt at an interesting take: “Justin Bieber got a tattoo… and you should too: why the modern marketer needs to be edgy.”

Marketers also attach them to case studies in hopes of gaining new leads: “My client had XYZ success… and you can too!” Usually these case studies aren’t half bad, but they’re hidden behind a terrible headline.

8. X is the new Y/X is following the path of Y

Facebook is the new MySpace, Blog articles are the new pink, Twitter chats are the new marketing conference. Our brains like patterns and they like when history repeats itself. Plus, marketers looking to establish their authority will cling to predications like these in hopes of becoming industry leaders in the future.

The Overused Phrases

shutterstock_125245661We’ve now reached the advanced level of our worn-out ideas and have fully immersed ourselves in the marking universe. These are the concepts, phrases, and titles that even industry experts cling to. They phrases have been typed so many times they’ve lost all meaning. Even if you’ve been in the marketing field for several decades, you can still be ignored like the rookies with these overused articles.

9. Content is king, X is queen

If you do a quick search for content is king, you will find that distribution is queen, time is queen, analytics is queen, context is queen, revenue is queen, and creative is queen – and that’s just on the first page of Google.

See also: Articles that claim content is not king and articles that claim content is queen while something else is king.

This phrase is the most used and abused of content marketing jargon – mostly because it’s the crutch of industry experts. Authorities in the field are offering their viewpoint or predictions that might actually be mind-blowing, but will get ignored because we’ve all read the headline before.

10. Anything that promises to turn you into a marketing ninja, guru, or rock star 

When I was an intern I was called a social media rock star. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Rock star is a term we throw around all too loosely today, along with guru and ninja. Anyone with a blog and multiple social media followers can call themselves a guru to the point where the title has lost all meaning.

Similar to the fresh spin category, articles that promise to turn readers into email marketing ninjas, or SEO superheroes, or webinar pirates are equally worn out. Let’s stop equating effective calls to action with sailing the seven seas or fighting crime.

11. Incomplete guides sold as revolutionary guides

Don’t get me wrong, there are some seriously awesome guides out there. However, there are also plenty of guides that claim to be complete that barely scratch the surface. There are also guides that were complete when they were published a few years ago, but have grown stale.

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz is an example of a guide done right. I have seen “complete SEO guides” that barely touch the basics and couldn’t hold a candle to Moz’s example.

In one of the many content is king articles you will inevitably read this month, the author will mention banner blindness. Marketers have to rely on compelling content because banner ads are ineffective. The problem is that readers are starting to get content blindness. We’ve all seen these articles before, which probably means your readers have to. So why do you keep using them?