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“Content marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.”– David Beebe, VP of global creative and content marketing, Marriott International

One of the basic tenets of content marketing is that you should not talk about yourself. You should talk instead about things that matter to the customer. You should talk about the problems they face and how to solve them. You should share information that will help them do better.

And, if you are clever enough, you should create content that entertains them.

No matter what, you shouldn’t talk about yourself, your products, or your process. As any content marketing guru worth his or her salt will tell you, “No one cares.”

Enough about you, let’s talk about me

I’ve been creating content for a long time and I have long heeded this advice. And when C-level executives have told me, “We really need to tell people about this great thing we did,” I’ve declined to do so. Or, when I wanted to keep my job, I’ve figured out a way that I could talk about it while apparently talking about something else.

At the same time, another tenet of content marketing is that you should put as much effort into promoting and distributing your content as you do into creating it. However, I see a conundrum here. Specifically, how are you supposed to promote your content without talking about yourself?

A case in point

Two months ago, we published a video featuring economist Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University. Professor Bloom has published a number of peer-reviewed papers – work that has been discussed in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and even at the White House – which relied on our data. He has used this data for projects (undertaken with the likes of McKinsey and Accenture) focused on management best practices as well as for projects that looked at the connection between computerization and income inequality.

The thing is, very few people (164 at the time of this writing) have seen this video. Frankly, this makes me kind of sad. If they had watched it, they would have learned that ours is “the best American data on IT.” That it is “very accurate” (he checked!) and that Professor Bloom doesn’t “really know anyone else who has a similar data set.”

Think about it: This isn’t some corporate shill or a client from a company you never heard of talking, in a heavily edited video, about how great we are. This is a freakin’ Stanford professor who has used our data in research that he has shared with the Council of Economic Advisors!

News you can use

Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to tell you about this. I’m pretty jaded and not overly impressed with much of the content I see out there. But this actually impressed me and even taught me something about Aberdeen and our data that I didn’t know (and wouldn’t have even imagined).

So, here you go. A sample of cleanly produced content that also says something interesting about us, something credible, I believe, because it is said by a smart guy who doesn’t work here! Enjoy.

Image Source (Creative Commons): Dacian Dorca.

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