When is Content Marketing Just Content For the Sake of It?

Every so often, I get an email soliciting content creation (read: writing my blog for me.) I do some content marketing work on Writer Access, so I’ve been behind the scenes on this. I’m familiar with ghost blogging, e-book ghostwriting, and just creating the kind of content that everyone from tax offices to jewelry sellers need to attract leads and get them to convert.

When I get these emails though, I just facepalm.


Novelist throwing wrinkled paper because of writer's block
Maybe not as extreme as this, but you get the idea.

Taking inspiration from business leaders who buck tradition like James Altucher and Emma Johnson of Wealthy Single Mommy, my blog is pretty goddamn personal and I’m not changing that any time soon. These are writers who I look up to because they speak their minds and sometimes express unpopular opinions in a manner that blows peoples’ worldviews. Some people told me I do the same. I was incredibly touched when a reader told me at GDC that my writing inspired him to quit his job and zero in on getting his game released. Others just laughed their asses off at what I’d rather do than go to an office. Both wouldn’t have happened if I kept my blog super simple and clinical.

But the biggest reason I look up to these writers is that they are not afraid to get personal. I love James’ and Emma’s chronicles of success and failure that are so raw and real.

Come on, what’s all this gag-worthy shit we hear every day all about your “personal brand”? Well, MY personal brand is strange and all over the place. It’s open and raw. It bluntly talks about how I wasted what should’ve been the best years of my youth studying accounting and tax law to not get the stability and good income promised, basically tantamount to getting reamed without lube while meantime being a hustler and game developer has actually proven yes, your passion CAN pay. So I blog about entrepreneurship and bucking the norm, game development, nontraditional marketing methods, empowerment for game devs and other creative professionals, and whatever else strikes my fancy and makes me think about how to get more out of life. I blog about my beautiful toad Yael in Toad Tuesdays, issues that are near and dear to my heart, and while I do want to more helpful content such as my recent post about Fuck You Funds and some ideas to get started on them and more journalistic efforts in games (except for ethics in games journalism), still, my writing is highly personal. I write about whatever the hell inspires me.

This means I do not want content for the sake of having content.

Content gets bought and sold: according to the founder of Writer Access, who also founded the Content Marketing Conference in Vegas, about 4.6 BILLION pieces of content are created every day. That’s a hell whole lotta content. That’s content as a marketing measure, content also for the sake of having it. If you spend a few minutes on Sonic Toad, it’s pretty damn obvious I write this blog myself and it’s not clinical at all.

Some businesses need more clinical blogs to go with their brands and that’s totally fine. For instance, a furniture store who wants to do content marketing would require a pretty impersonal blog that’s got helpful information for someone trying to squeeze a dining room table into a tiny apartment or a family who wants to redecorate their home into something that can withstand a child tsunami. The copy can sound fun or like it’s real people speaking instead of a catalog description, but it’s still clinical in the grand scheme of things. It exists solely to sell furniture.

My blog doesn’t exist solely to sell my services, books, or games. Hey, a girl and her toad gotta eat and be housed: it HELPS with those things, but I created it for the sake of having my own private fiefdom to write and build a community without continually getting sucked into the social media stratosphere. Not…to just schlock content up there for the sake of having it.

Case in point, this is not a blog strictly about dating or relationships. It’s primarily about rebellious entrepreneurship, namely choosing yourself in creative fields and why falling in line for the sake of it is stupid. Hey, I tried doing the whole “go to college and get a ‘good’ job” thing and it didn’t exactly work out so I’ve made it a mission to tell other people that life doesn’t have to be this miserable struggle and they can even thrive in self-employment despite struggling in the beginning. But I’ve written a few posts about relationships, namely about how starting a business ruined some peoples’ marriages and how single people are really under-represented in general but especially in the talks of how indie developers pay their bills.

But I pop them up on Twitter and lo and behold, I get this message trying to sell me dating content addressed to someone named “Matt”. Is there a Matt named anywhere on my site…? Geez, even the people who suck ass at B2B usually at least get my name right!

There’s nothing wrong with farming out content for your site, getting a ghost blogger, or a professional writer to help you with these things. Writers like to be paid. The fine writers at Writer Access are more than happy to help you there, and I’m also available for direct hire if you want help marketing your business (my specialties are tax practices and game studios.) If you want to get stuff like dating articles, cooking blogs, and site copy to build your community, delegating writing work can be a good way to go so you can focus on building up your business. Then of course, a law firm would need stuff about cases and practice areas that would be of interest to current and potential clients, and there’s that furniture store example from before. But if you’re writing a book, personal essay, or blog about something where you’re speaking from the heart…no.

Speaking just for me at least, when it comes to my blog I don’t want content just for the sake having content. My blog is a crazy amalgamation of personal and business because they’re harder to separate than ever today; of game dev matters I care about, helpful business content, random rants, and of course amphibian care and fun facts. It IS called Sonic Toad, after all!


WriterAccess is a partner of Sonic Toad Media LLC.

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