The great P.T Barnum once said “There’s a sucker born every minute” and with the advent of the Internet those same snake oil salesmen, con artists and charlatans are back – this time with the power of technology to ‘prove’ their rakish claims. So now (paraphrasing P.T) ‘There’s a sucker born every second…online!”
For instance, if I gave you the very best oil paint, the best brushes and the best canvas do you believe you could be Picasso or Van Gogh? Of course not – they had great creative skill learned patiently over their lives. In fact, if memory serves, Van Gogh couldn’t even afford the best tools and yet was still able to produce beautiful (if somewhat strange) artwork – now that’s skill.
I’m sure you’d agree the tools do not make the master. Yet every day on the Internet we are bombarded with claims of push-button success – mastery at the push of a button. Admittedly the allure of this dream is tempting, who wouldn’t hope for such a thing, but we need to temper our fantastic wishes with a healthy dose of skepticism.
We give too much ‘authority’ to technology – probably because many of us simply don’t understand the details. Some newer technology is so fantastic it almost seems like magic. However, I can assure you after more than two decades of working with computers there is no magic.
But what has that got to do with online and Internet Marketing – a great deal actually. A computer is a finite state machine; this means that the rules of its operation are fixed – even if obscure. It simply cannot deviate from the rules encoded within it.
So I ask you, do you really think someone ‘out there’ has cracked the code required to express a sunrise, or write real heartfelt poetry? What about defining the rules for creating a news story, or a love story? And just in case you think they have – remember this – once defined, the rules are finite. Imagine the same sunrise every day… how boring!
Now I agree and accept we can define basic templates and to some degree there is ‘filler’ content that we can auto generate – but the real meat of any story, any copy, and any creative piece needs a person to inject it with life. Computerized language parsing is one thing, but true creative expression – now that’s an art form beyond the scope of a PC.
So why am I telling you all this, because it was only yesterday I received yet another ‘exciting new offer’ for some silver bullet claiming to put my online promotional efforts into the stratosphere through automated content creation and syndication. Knowing that quality content creation is king, and being a curious sort I followed the link – plus it always pays to keep an eye out for good examples of marketing.
Anyway, what I found (and I won’t name the product) is a well packaged and well presented idea…with one hell of a big hole in it – it downplayed the importance of the quality content creation aspect. It minimized the absolute requirement for creative skill and allowed the prospect to believe that the tools would make the master – “Just push this button and out pops a masterfully written article for syndication…” Hmmm.
This tool will syndicate your content to a myriad of possible publication venues (which is fantastic.) It will help you learn with resources and support (which is wonderful)…but what it cannot do, what it could never do – is overnight make you into something that you are not. Learning any skill takes time, ability and patience (and for each person it’s unique.)
So the next time you are offered a ‘cure-all’ for your online Internet Marketing success which includes automatic content creation, remember this: GIGO – “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” And using technology to publish garbage more effectively doesn’t improve its quality – it’s still garbage, there’s just more of it!
And lastly, Marketing 101 tells us to aim for uniqueness and differentiate ourselves from the pack. Does a rules-based auto-created piece of content sound like it will make us different from all the others doing precisely the same thing?
That’s my 2 cents worth for the day
PS. I ghostwrite and copywrite for a limited number of select clients. If you’d like to get in touch we can see if there’s a good fit.