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Content Marketing and the War of Attrition

There are a lot of reasons why content marketing doesn’t work for some companies. If we were making a list, they would include:

  • A lack of understanding reader/customer needs
  • Focusing on the wrong metrics and objectives
  • A soloed approach to content marketing
  • Poor execution
  • Bland storytelling
  • Lack of authenticity
  • Creating information that, simply put, is not helpful or engaging
  • Sales pitches disguised as content

And the list goes on…

But the biggest culprit (and it’s not even close) is a lack of consistency, and, in some cases, a content stoppage.

Research from IBM in 2010 stated that about 80 percent of corporate blogs never post more than five entries (hat tip to Rebecca Lieb). That is a truly unbelievable stat…a stat that gets to the heart of the matter.

Content Marketing is a War of Attrition

Moneyball - The MovieOne of my favorite books (and movies) is Moneyball, the story about how Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (played in the movie by Brad Pitt) revolutionized the sport of baseball in 2002 by focusing on the statistic of on-base percentage. To Billy, nothing else mattered more in the game than getting on base.  The more people that got on base, the more opportunity to score runs.  Scoring runs becomes primary and all the other statistics like slugging percentage, fielding, steals and batting average are secondary.

During a critical part of the movie, Billy Beane states in a team meeting:

“Everyone wants to attack. Quit trying to attack. Let the game come to you. There’s no clock on this thing. This is a war of attrition…Let them [your competitors] make mistakes…and when your enemies are making mistakes, don’t interrupt them…this is a process, a process, a process.”

Now think about your marketing. Many companies are looking for the big burst (ala advertising campaign) instead of putting in the time, day in, day out.

Simply put, most content marketing mistakes happen because the content, for whatever reason, stopped.  You will win at content marketing because you keep your customer promise and work the process.  Every day, every week, every month, you work the process.

The Best and Worst Content Marketing Example Ever

By now, we all know about the Old Spice/Twitter/YouTube campaign from last year.  It was brilliant.  One of the best real-time content marketing and social media examples I have ever seen.

It’s also one of the worst.

Why?  Because it stopped.  They treated that content marketing initiative just like every major campaign in the history of advertising…they gave it a time limit.  Somewhere along the line, they confused the amazing content for advertising.  Ouch.

Like a savvy publisher, they could have continued to adapt and evolve the content. They could have continued the engagement (and revenue growth).

Sorry…off to a new campaign.


Today’s post marks #600 in just less than five years.  Not mind blowing, but respectable.  Except for two weeks (where I took a vacation), I have had at least two blog posts every week for over 230 weeks.

The result.  This blog was (and is) the single-most important activity that has led to our success as a company.

Sure, I like to think that this blog has served as a valuable resource for many, and helped to drive the industry forward.  But more than anything else, the reason for its success is that I am still here, typing away at this blog, trying to make a difference. You can do the same.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – Napoleon Hill