I was reading an article about effective content marketing the other day. I was slightly alarmed when I read the following line: “Creating and maintaining personas are building block number one when it comes to an effective content marketing plan.” The statement didn’t sit well, and it wasn’t the fact that the “are” should have been an “is.” It was the fact that the statement seemed to argue personas were a thing to be created and discarded as needed. It neglected the real building block behind any effective marketing plan: a good product or service.
Content marketing plans are worthless if they aren’t based on the foundation of a good product or service. Without a good product or service, they are spin. They are lies. They are band-aids masking a wound. Eventually, though, the wound begins to stink, and no content marketing plan, no matter how good or how well executed it is, will be able to cover the stench or the growing gangrene.
Similarly, personas are not the end-all, be-all. Personas are necessary, but they aren’t necessarily “created.” They are the inevitable result of working online. Nobody, except for the few people who feel the need to share every detail of their lives online, shares the full story. Some things are kept hidden for reasons usually only known to the person hiding them. Some things aren’t shared because they could put a person’s reputation at stake. Hiding such details isn’t lying; it’s taking pains to keep the personal, personal. A business owner can be personable without being personal. That business owner can share personal details without compromising his or her private life. One of my online acquaintances, Shakirah Dawud, phrased the reality this way: “We want something, but it’s not authenticity. We want people to come out from their corporate closets, but with clothes on. We want people to come down off their pedestals, but without destroying it. We want Disney to be real–and yet still be Disney. We want a better show.”
What do you think is the number one building block of an effective content marketing plan?
Photo: Monazza Talha (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)