I hate keeping up with the latest trend
and the way SEO makes my creativity bend.
I hate corny stock photos that go on without end.
I hate your desire to show up everywhere.
I hate your big, flashy, stupid clickbait
and the countless social media shares.
I hate you so much I get writer’s block,
But I can’t lie — I don’t, I don’t hate to rhyme.
I hate it, I hate the way you make me write for robots.
I hate it when you tell me no idea is original,
and your research makes me cry.
I hate it when you don’t let me write about Bentley,
And the fact that you need a catchy headline.
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you.
Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
**This poem was based on the ending monologue in 10 Things I Hate About You
It’s been 20 years since the tumultuous relationship between Kat (Julia Stiles) and Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) hit movie screens in “10 Things I Hate About You.” If you’re a nineties baby, like me, this movie hit all the feels. And it’s no surprise that this classic remains popular with teens today.
The literature, fierce girl power, and, let’s face it, dreamy, yet badass Heath Ledger, relates with the culture of past, current, and future teen generations. That’s because there’s an honesty, a certain authenticity about relationships that only Shakespeare could evoke in “Taming of the Shrew,” the original inspiration for this movie.
The tension, awkwardness, and even heartbreaking lessons associated with any relationship are portrayed so vividly. It’s the same type of love-hate connection many of us have with our greatest passions. For me, this lies where two of my passions intersect — content marketing and creative writing.
My monologue up above explains the tug-of-war content marketing plays with my heart. Of course, I love it or I wouldn’t devote my career to it. However, there are many frustrations that play into that love. Tensions that ultimately result in creative and resourceful content.
Whether you’re a marketing pro, business owner, content creator, or anything in between, these listed “hates” relate to anyone trying to keep up in the content marketing world. So, let’s break them down into more consumable, less rhyming chunks:
1. I hate keeping up with the latest trend
Marketing is a never-ending battle of the trends. Sometimes it’s based on what consumers prefer and other times we’re just plain looking at what popular outlets or successful companies are doing.
There’s one thing, though, that I believe will forevermore be the “latest” trend. That’s offering consumers content based on their needs. In this year’s (2019) Content Marketing Institute research report, a whopping 90 percent of top performing B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales/promotional message.
So, keep your trends under control. Every time you consider a new trend, compare it to your customers’ needs. If it won’t get them the best, most helpful information possible, move on.
2. I hate the way SEO makes my creativity bend
I’m admitting it full-on — sometimes SEO keywords put me in a creative funk. I get it. They’re currently important for getting your content recognized by search engines. And that’s one of the major keys to ensuring your brand makes its way to your target audience’s hands.
To help me get through this funk, I try to do my initial content brainstorm first. Then, I look to see which keyword fits naturally within my content. This stops me from attempting to form entire ideas based on a few keywords.
3. I hate corny stock photos that go on without end
“Girl in yellow cardigan, looking left, laughing”
Great. Just what I was looking for to really present the overall idea of my post or social share?
I can’t count the number of hours I spend searching for photos that identify with my topics. To further complicate things, we often write on similar niche topics for clients, so finding new and unique photos for every new post or share is rough.
But I can’t hate on the stock photo community. Free quality images are offered on useful and accessible sites, such as Unplash and Pexels. I’ve found that the biggest issue actually lies in how I search.
Often times, I’m overly specific in my own description. Think outside of the box a bit. In just one post, an image of nature, retro designs, buildings, or a girl in a yellow cardigan, looking left, laughing, could all fit well with your post topic.
4. I hate your desire to show up everywhere
Content marketing is E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. Home blogs, every guest site imaginable, and all of the major social media sites. It’s extremely overwhelming for marketers and business pros to keep up.
The truth is, you shouldn’t try to keep up — not with everything. Find out where your target audience spends most of their time. If they’re hanging out on Instagram and Facebook, try leaving Twitter and LinkedIn out of your social strategy. As you focus more energy on a few specific places, you’ll see the quality of your content and connections improve.
5. I hate your big, flashy, stupid clickbait
You’ve officially entered pet-peeve territory. Clickbait is designed to entice readers to click on a link and tends to mislead. The information presented in the actual post isn’t exactly what you thought it would be, but hey, the marketers got their click.
Pet peeve aside, the major problem here is trust. It’s a content marketer’s job to support the reader. This can’t happen if they don’t trust that your content will provide what’s promised by the title or thumbnail.
6. I hate the countless social media shares
Seriously. How many social shares does one post need? If you ask our team of specialists, it’s around an average of nine shares. It, of course, is based on varying circumstances per client.
Nine! That’s a lot of content tacked on to the end of a post. Yes, it’s more work for me, but let’s get down to the psychological factors behind this hatred. In just a few short, snappy sentences, I need to convince people who are scrolling through their social feeds to stop and click on this post. These shares have to beat out hilarious dog videos, photos of cute kids, and major news events.
Join me in trying not to let this insurmountable amount of pressure bog you down. Remember, you wrote this post because it will help your audience solve a problem — or it’s simply to make them feel seen and heard. Let that simplicity shine in each share.
7. I hate the way you make me write for robots
This goes along with SEO but has an even greater impact on my creative soul. As a marketer, my goal is to ensure copy is recognized and loved by search engines. However, as a creative content director, my goal is to create copy that resonates with readers.
Finding the balance between the two is often a challenge. This is where buyer personas and audience research comes in particularly handy. Focus on those problem areas and interests to write to your audience while also pleasing the robots.
8. I hate it when you tell me no idea is original
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.” — Mark Twain
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in the content marketing world, this is certainly true. This post, for example, isn’t a new idea. It’s a take on “10 Things I Hate About You,” which was a take on “Taming of the Shrew.”
Even the idea of “10 Things I Hate About Content Marketing” has been done before. Rather than taking a hit to the ego, I put it in my own “mental kaleidoscope.” I find my version of the truth based on personal experiences.
Giving content your own personal spin adds authenticity. It gives your specific target audience value in what they’re reading and the ability to personally connect with your brand.
9. I hate it when you don’t let me write about Bentley
I mean, come on. Look at that handsome face. If every post could be about Bentley the Wandering Bear Dog or funny anecdotes about my kids, I’d do it. Just yesterday my one-year-old chomped down Bentley’s dog food. Hilarious — and gross.
But as we learned from Kat and Patrick, relationships aren’t all fun and games. We must offer readers controversial topics. Even the ones that make us uncomfortable because that’s real life. More importantly, these tension-causing topics are your customers’ realities.
So, stop writing about the Bentleys in your life. Let your readers know you see what’s impacting their world. This proves to them that you see their struggles and are there for added support.
10. I hate the way I don’t hate you
Content marketing is one of the loves of my life. I wake up to it, have frequent lunch dates with posts, and we fight and make-up. Acknowledging my struggles, though, takes the power away from the “hates.” I have the power to find the tools I need to improve my processes and better connect my creativity to business needs.
Make your own list of hates. Find out where you need help from a tool or from other people. Then dig out your big dumb combat boots and dive into a content strategy that highlights your company’s strengths while meeting customers’ informational needs.