I was shown a potential affiliate site for an advertising campaign. They claim that a huge number of our “target” market visits their site every month. *cough*
I took a wander through the “community”. All of the video content came from one advertiser. There might have been 6 videos, all introducing the staff of the advertiser. All from the same company.
Hmm, I thought, why didn’t they post this on their own website?
The other content was of the extremely thinly veiled sponsored type. And to make things worse, it appeared that the publication had only managed to sell this coveted space to two or three businesses.
And to make things even worse, the content stunk. Stank?
A gigantic number of our target audience are frequent frequenters of this site? Really?
And best of all, the publication would send out an email BLAST to this audience (on our thinly veiled behalf).
I capitalized the word BLAST because that’s exactly how I view this type of spam. Like people who capitalize their online communications for effect, email blasts, in my mind, are obnoxious, abusive, and scream-y. Stop yelling, eh.
In other, related news, I unsubscribed from a whole lotta junk this week. Community initiatives that sounded good at the time, but revealed themselves to be BLASTERS of the same, boring, market-y sponsored content. Sure, they’d promised to be my “one stop shop” for resources and information, but most of them could only manage to rope together a boring, amateur list of links (back to their site, of course) with stuff I couldn’t read/open on my cursed Blackberry (always on me though, BTW) to product promotions and testimonials that the sponsoring companies had obviously paid for. Yeah, we know that customers didn’t write those.
I don’t believe that email marketing is dead. I just get a lot of it, and as an informed consumer, I’ve learned to separate the shit from the champagne. Same with “community” websites that are really little more than a community of desperate advertisers. For parents, for athletes, for readers, for teachers, for rich stay-at-home Pilates mums, for web designers. When someone trusts you with their email address, you must take that trust and vow to not throw poop at them. Step up your content, people, or don’t be surprised when the punters run, en masse, holding their noses.
To end on a positive note – I came across some excellent content-based campaigns this week. Here they are:
Hunter Shoots A Bear, NSFW from the makers of Tippex.
How to Build Your Workday around Focus from the fine folks at Lifehacker. Yep, they’re helping sell a book, but the content is juicy and fresh-smelling.
How to Leverage Social Media for PR Success from Hubspot, who are selling their service, but always give great content.