It may seem ironic that I’m about to tell you not to use apps in your marketing given that I’ve created a blogging app, but bear with me, because, if you’re a marketer, this is important.
There are literally thousands of content marketing apps in the marketplace, all promising to help you reach influencers, reach your audience, write with ease and organise your workflow.
If you like your tools, it’s tempting to try every new content marketing app in the market to see what it can do for you. However, with that temptation comes a problem.
I think marketers rely on apps too much and forget to be human.
My belief is that, rather than making marketers more productive, content tech is making marketers lazier, less inclined to listen and more focused on vanity metrics.
Don’t get me wrong. Content marketing apps can be incredibly useful, but marketers beware: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the tech will do your thinking for you. It won’t. Not yet.
Here are a few things content marketing apps will and won’t do, as it stands now. Mind you, this is all likely to change when the robots become sentient and take over.
Will an app help me be more productive?
An app can definitely help you be more productive, but you need to make sure you choose the right app for your needs. If you’re a professional writer, you might find that ideas flow easily and you never get writer’s block. You might write the perfect headline every time and you might know your way around WordPress like an absolute superstar. However, if you struggle a little or you sometimes get stuck at the blank screen or get stuck on grammar, writing apps can be really helpful. I have been a pro writer now for over 25 years and I still use apps. In fact, I even use my own app, despite the fact that the story structure for every kind of post in Writally comes out of my brain.
I regularly use Grammarly and Gradeproof, Meet Edgar (to help me distribute content), Facebook (of course) and even headline tools such as CoSchedule’s headline analyzer. Apps can definitely save you time. Just be prepared to sift through the options out there in order to find what works for you. There are literally hundreds of similar apps that can help you with writing and editing. However, even though an app can pick up misspelling and incorrect grammar, it often can’t pick up common mistakes such as using they’re instead of their or there. If you spell it correctly, it doesn’t think to question it. On the flipside, oftentimes an app will recommend phrasing or words that are just not how a person would speak or communicate. Language is descriptive, not prescriptive. Apps tend to be prescriptive.
If you’re not a confident writer or you’re relying on the app too much, it would be easy to second-guess your writing and make changes to your copy that just don’t make sense.
Will an app write my blog post for me?
There are a few template-based products that can help with writing blog posts but probably not with original copy. Which leads me to my second point.
If an app promises to write your blog post for you in record time, chances are that app is scraping content from across the web and reusing it in your blog post. This is, quite frankly, plagiarism, and plagiarism is bad for business, bad for your reputation and just plain bad. Don’t do it!
Avoid any app that promises to create your content for you if you value your reputation. The reality is, an app, even with advanced AI, cannot pick up on the nuances of human behaviour and the subtleties of human interaction and emotion. Only people can do that. Of course, don’t be smug about the robots… they are coming and one day you may not be able to tell if a bot wrote the copy or a human did.
If an app could analyse a photo do you think it would be able to interpret the story behind it? The answer is no, not yet anyway. Author and researcher Carmen Simon talked about this in her presentation on being memorable at Inbound16 last year. She said that while machines can create impressive copy they can’t understand human emotion and body language like a human being can and they don’t understand how to make content memorable.
Recently, my son (who happens to be an amazing writer) was writing a 500 word story for his English class and he had to use a number of literary devices and words throughout his text, but what made the story memorable and kept me on the edge of my seat was the story between the lines, the unexpressed narrative that the reader can understand, just by the way the writer has phrased something. A machine can describe something. It can even use a lot of big, flowery words, but it can’t do that. Not yet.
Can an app help me with strategy?
An app can help you with research. An app can help you implement strategy through workflow and productivity tools, but at the end of the day, it is a human being who can analyse ideas to see if they are appropriate. According to the latest stats, 66% of marketers struggle to understand their audience and more often than not, lazy marketers will rely on apps to tell them who they should target, rather than actually listen to their audience. A machine doesn’t have the capacity to understand how a strategy might work with a complex variety of variables, but a human might.
So, in short, the answer is, an app can help you with strategy but it probably won’t give you quality strategies, not without some human analysis. A human being still needs to analyse influencers to ensure they are a good fit for a brand’s audience.
Will an app do my social media for me?
Yes and no. An app can schedule, help you with workflow and even help you write. An app can save you a lot of time and help you be more productive but you shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing that an app will do it all for you. It won’t. Scheduling social media posts on Meet Edgar and never going to Twitter or Facebook to check your feeds is a mistake. You still need to interact and you still need to make decisions and respond appropriately.
Unfortunately, evidence suggests that Twitter is mainly only being used by real humans at events or in specific verticals such as journalism. I sometimes respond to people who follow me and more often than not they ignore my tweets. They are quite happy to send me auto-generated Direct Messages though, promoting whatever shit they are flinging my way. They are also quite happy to unfollow me to boost their numbers for social proof. When I follow people, it’s because they interest me. Maybe I’m weird like that, but, I have to confess, I’ve taken Twitter for granted in the past year.
It definitely generates worthwhile connections when I’m at events. The rest of the time it’s pretty useless. So, there doesn’t seem like much point to scheduling reams of evergreen original content. I’ve reduced my Meet Edgar feed to the bare minimum nowadays and don’t worry about Twitter too much unless I’m at an event, or someone genuinely connects. It’s just a waste of my time.
Interestingly, LinkedIn groups are much the same. I posted a question in a LinkedIn group recently and it was not only completely ignored but deleted. It wasn’t a promotional question. It was a question asking for marketers to give me feedback on my app. In that same feed were literally hundreds of posts, probably sent via Meet Edgar or other scheduling apps with no conversation, comments or apparent point. I’m tempted to delete every LinkedIn group I’m in. In fact, I might. What is the point if no one is actually listening. We’re all too busy creating content and distributing it via apps. When I asked a question about whether LinkedIn groups were useful or not, one person replied with “well so long as you’re giving value.” I’m sorry, it’s not valuable if no one reads it. Seriously, what is the point of posting your content in groups?
Can an app do my laundry and dishes?
No, I’m afraid not. However, with the Internet of Things, who knows what you can do via your smartphone! An app can remind you to do your laundry, send someone to do your laundry and dishes, and can distract you from doing them, but it won’t physically pick up the laundry from your kid’s bedroom floor and put it in the machine for you!
An app can do many things, but it can’t replace you as an expert or a human being. Not yet anyway.
Look for apps that can dramatically increase your productivity but don’t fall into the trap of thinking an app will do it all for you.
In the future, apps and bots will be able to do much more, that is clear, but it’s our job to provide oversight. I suspect Writally will look vastly different in years to come because tech will advance exponentially, but there will always be humans involved in the process, because, at the end of the day, we don’t feel anything for a machine’s struggles and triumphs right? Not yet anyway!
At Writally, we’re focused on helping you share your expertise and build a human connection with your reader, listener or viewer because that’s what builds trust.
Knowing a human being wrote something from the heart builds a connection in a way a machine will never be able to, no matter how clever.
Do you think machines will take over everything or do you think there is still a place for humanity? Share your thoughts below or come and join the conversation in the Writally Facebook Group.
This blog post was created with the following Writally recipe ingredients:
Thought Leadership | Challenge Conventional Wisdom | 1601 to 1800 words | Fascinated | Authority |Time Specific | Own Blog
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