A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Content Marketing: It Really Is You Against The World?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

OK, maybe not, but your competition isn’t just your counterparts in your local market.

photo: dailygalaxy.com

“Moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world champions.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist (1922-2007)

(A tip o’ the hat to The Lefsetz Letter for the quote, which I hadn’t seen before. Surprising, given the amount of Vonnegut I read in Jr. High and High School.)

Vonnegut’s quote brought to mind, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. To borrow, roughly, one of his examples, before recording made music easy to enjoy at home, people went out more for entertainment.

At the time there were, I’m sure, a couple of big bands rocking the dance halls of Poughkeepsie. What killed those big bands wasn’t that recorded music, radio and television kept people home, though that didn’t help.

What hurt those bands was that recording changed their competition from the few other area bands who also were “moderately gifted” and the booking of a really “great” band from Albany a few times a year, to competition with Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, The Dorsey Brothers and every other famous big band that was good enough for us to still recognize today. All of a sudden, that’s who people wanted to see. “World famous” wasn’t common in most businesses until very recently.

So what does that have to do with content marketing? Well, there’s no “local-only” section on the intertubes. The work you do is going to be held to the highest standards. If MTV-level production values are what you’re going for, know that you’re going to be compared to MTV. Their website is just a click away.

And if you want to be taken seriously in your industry, you have to provide content that’s as good or better than the biggest, most respected players in that industry.

That might not seem fair at first glance given the huge advantage in resources that a big organization usually has, but creativity usually trumps cash, and in many ways you have the advantage being more nimble, being more closely connected with your customers, and having the ability to connect on a more personal level. 

Use that advantage wisely.



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