The Point


Hey Marketers, No One Needs Your Nontent [and the ingredients for making the good stuff]

Barry Feldman: July 2, 2014 | Bullshit, Content marketing | Comments
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Who the hell needs nontent? No one. So why make it?

I mean, sheeshe, for every quart of content, there must be a gallon of nontent diluting the media and keeping buyers from finding the good stuff.

Look at this shit. Penis nicknames. Hands drawing words on a whiteboard to spell out what the announcer guy is saying? Forty-five-minute infomercials posing as webinars?

It’s so nonsensical. Such a waste of everyone’s time. Though officially content can be anything, we commune here today to talk about marketing. Content marketing. And nontent marketing.

Please agree, it’s really not content marketing if the majority of it is disposable garbage. Useless babble won’t help you make any real connections. And you can just forget about conversion.

Nontent. Nonnection. Nonversion.

My spell checker’s freaking out. These are not really words. But they should be. And you don’t need a dictionary, do you? Each definition is the opposite of what it would have meant if it started with a “c.”

Let’s get into some nontent now.

Here you go. My thoughts on the subjects are presented as slides and written about below. You’ll hate it.

Nontent – This is not content marketing from Barry Feldman

Please click along now.

First things first. What’s “content marketing?”

Let’s agree to work with the Content Marketing Institute’s definition. Personally, I could go for a few less words, but this’ll get us rolling just fine.

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Please note the content part. Please note the marketing part. Please note if your stuff ain’t valuable, relevant and consistent, it’s nontent. If it’s not driving profitable customer action, it’s not marketing.

This is nontent.

I couldn’t make a slide deck about nontent and not show you what it looks like. Sorry, but I snagged some stinky stuff. I tried my best to be sensitive and (1) grab the worst of worst, and (2) steer clear of the sources (because I wouldn’t want to offend any nontent producers).

Useless lists. Penis nicknames? My favorite’s not even in there. If this is content, who’s it for? Bad comedians?

Useless lists are so rampant, I’ve grown numb to them. But don’t get me wrong. Us order-oriented humans love lists. Please feel free to make them if you believe they serve a purpose for your prospects and clients.

Horribly amateur ebooks. Yeah, ebooks make for good entrees. But everything’s not ebook edible.

Go ahead and edit your big ideas into the pictorial version of what we used to call white papers, but do so with care please. Forty pages of dung is dung no matter what you call it.

“Dig me” websites. If you know me, you know I am 100 percent pro personal branding. However, bragging doesn’t qualify as personal branding. I’d no sooner call myself a “thought leader,” than introduce myself as brilliant, or gorgeous or rich. It’s arrogant and obnoxious.

If you have big ideas that inspire people to tune in, you probably deserve a website. Compose that thing with some class—and humility.

Whiteboard videos. I pick on whiteboard videos because I despise them. They insult my intelligence. But it’s just one flavor of lame video.

Yes, okay, the YouTube generation has lowered the bar on production standards. You can stammer your way through a video and still deliver valuable content. By all means, go ahead. Video marketing can be awesome. Don’t drag it down with hacks.

Slides from hell. Heavens, wasn’t it yours truly that just a few weeks ago gave a lesson on the value of using SlideShare? It was.

Slide decks have become a great storytelling technique for use on the web. I propose you make them a vital part of your content marketing program. While doing so, I propose you don’t smatter them with statistics, charts and details I will be unable to decipher without a narrator.

Slimeball webinars. Ever been sucked into a webinar by a great title and a speaker bio that sounds credible only to get there and find you’re sitting through an infomercial? I find it offensive when sales webinars are disguised as content marketing.

Webinars are an awesome tool for delivering useful content. And yes, they’re also valuable for giving product demos, sales pitches, training and more. Have any kind of webinar you want. I only ask when you’re promoting it, explain exactly what it is. When you lure people into a sales webinar described as a free lesson, you shouldn’t surprised to lose the prospects forever more.

Infographics (with no useful info). In the age of the infographic epidemic, wanna-be marketers are producing an amazing amount of nontent.

I declare my love for infographics in “The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics,” while also explaining why they are so powerful and how to create them. I’m an infographic creator and consumer and so I believe when you have great information to present graphically, you should. When you don’t, please don’t.

Thoughtless curation. I go off on this pet peeve in “Is Curation Noise or News?” and also explain how to make your curation count. Why? Because I don’t want content marketing to turn a gun on itself. When content creators keep cranking the volume only in the name of volume, the noise sends people packing.

You can inject a lot of value in your marketing mix by sharing great content, however, a relentless string of links to posts and content you never read or have nothing to say about is thoughtless curation in my book.

Mindless memes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re visual creatures. Images have more stopping power than words. People take in pictures far faster. Sharing increases. Plus, we all welcome the smiles, chuckles and “awwwwws” we get from the cute, funny or touching combination of a caption and photo or illustration. Still, a credible content marketer needs to draw the line between fluff and substance and stay on the right side of it.

Press releases. I suspect I’ll take some flack for this one, but hear me out. I don’t condone the use of press releases as part of your marketing agenda. The release remains a convention of news media that can work for you. Obviously, in the new media world, press releases can be distributed efficiently and can take flight fast.

So, when you have news, by all means, release it. With the proliferation of content marketing, it pains me to see ad copy crammed into press releases. And, also, even if you come from a PR background, I don’t believe your content marketing strategy should be built on press releases or feature them prominently.

Ever get out of bed in the morning and think, “I can’t wait to read a press release?”

I feel so much better now.

It always feel good to go on a nice rant. If you’re still here, perhaps my rant was even a bit entertaining.

But after all that, I really don’t want to risk being a purveyor of nontent. So in an effort to be a helpful, responsible citizen of the content marketer galaxy, I’m going to leave you with a graphic I believe labels the ingredients of great content.

important ingredient for content marketing to inform and inspire - purpose, relevance, education, emotion triggers...

Barry Feldman
Barry Feldman, founder of Feldman Creative, is a prolific writer with 25 years of experience bringing his clients' online presence to the next level through copywriting and content marketing creation and consulting. He writes and educates clients on online marketing on The Point and on many other sites across the web. Connect with Barry on Google+.
Barry Feldman


Focused on effective online marketing #content marketing consultant #copywriter #creative director #social media advisor #rock n' roller
25 experts on #SocialMedia Marketing Tactics Worth Your Time @FeldmanCreative - 2 years ago
Barry Feldman
Barry Feldman
  • mattrsullivan

    Great rant against useless information! This should be required reading for all before any content creation!

    • Barry Feldman

      Love that. Had my stuff described many ways, but never as “required reading.” Love that.

  • Alan Steinborn

    The Inspired Thought Leader cracked me up!

    • Barry Feldman

      Brudda Alan. Good to see you here. Careful with that thought leader thing you’re slinging around there.

    • Mike Macey

      Gorgeous thought leader Alan 🙂

      • Alan Steinborn

        when I saw that page, I started hearing the song, The Age of Aquarius in my head…no kidding!

        • Mike Macey

          When the moon is in the Seventh House
          And Jupiter aligns with Mars
          Then peace will guide the planets
          And love will steer the stars

          This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
          The Age of Aquarius
          Aquarius! Aquarius!

  • Mike Macey

    My 7,500 private Fb group of network marketers are the worst. SPAM, Copy and Paste the Spam, Copy Copy Paste the spam and so on. They all want to drive Mercedes Benz, own a mansion, retire at 25, and hob nob at Cannes Film Festival after 2 weeks in their network marketing business. Nontent?? Nonsense!! In fact mostly crap.

    I’ve taught from 99 Content Marketing Magnets for the past year and those who get it have begun to build relationships and trust and actually cultivated some advocates for the person and not the product or company they represent.

    I’m looking forward to sharing more of your (thought leadership and brilliant – LOL) no bullshit teaching!

    • Barry Feldman

      Mike, Mike, Mike,
      As comments go, this has to be one of my favorite ever. Radically gratifying to know you’ve used “99” as a teaching tool. Tell me about that. Where do you teach?

  • Joe Large

    Great post, funny and inspired. The webinar that takes the first 10 minutes talking about themselves and how qualified they are.

    Absolutely dynamite post. Appreciate it..