Our AI’s Favorite Blog Post Bashes AI
Ah, the irony.
Mika is ScribbleIQ’s AI. A few days ago we asked her to identify the most “thought-provoking” blog post on the topic of content marketing.
And after analyzing >500,000 thousands blog posts on attributes like topic, uniqueness, writing style, structure, and engagement what does she pick?
One that bashes the whole foundation on which AI is built, of course.
Yes, Mika’s favorite post this week is Confessions of a Content Creator: I Don’t Care About Data by Jay Acunzo.
I agree with Mika — Jay’s post rocks
I do care about data, but I’ve got to admit that Mika struck gold. Jay’s post is most thought-provoking content I’ve read on content marketing for a long time.
His thesis is pretty simple: content marketing is art. Using data and analytics can incrementally make our businesses better but it takes creative programmers, writers, and designers to make something awesome. As Jay puts it…
We really care about our craft. We care about making things others like, nay, love. And as it just so happens, this is the skill that many businesses are starting to realize they need but can’t often find. Not caring about data and only caring about the craft seems insane, but it’s made us valuable to companies and clients and customers all the same. Because rather than get 1.2x the results through optimization, we strive for 10x the results through creation.
After all, we may not care about the numbers, but we damn sure care about producing the things that produce the numbers.
I’m not Jay — I actually love data and metrics. But I found myself nodding through his post because I think most companies are using data and metrics incorrectly. Metrics are great for guiding our thinking but they are no substitute for intuition.
The overwhelming majority of startups I meet should be talking to customers, listening, and using their intuition to search for 10x improvements instead of fretting about metrics.
And nowhere is this more true than in content marketing.
Who else doesn’t care about data? Your customers
Customers don’t care that you’re a metrics-driven-growth-hacking-SEO-loving madman. They only care about themselves and their problems. Great writers put data into context that helps customers achieve goals. Customers WANT to read what they write.
This type of writing takes creativity. It takes perspective. It takes empathy.
Jay is right — the best content is Art.
So why did Mika pick Jay’s post?
Jay actually answered this for us.
Almost everything Mika read about the topic of content marketing is:
Most of it is NOT THOUGHT PROVOKING BECAUSE THE AUTHORS ARE NOT TRYING TO BE CREATIVE.
They’re trying to get coverage.
And optimize for SEO.
And measure everything on metrics like views and clicks.
And follow some rules of thumb about word counts.
And using these stupid grammar and style checkers that will make your writing as interesting as a warranty card.
They’re following a playbook almost guaranteed to make uninterested content — because creating thought-provoking content is damn hard.
Jay isn’t playing that game. He’s trying to be original. Break’n da rulz.
He creates art — Mika thinks art is thought-provoking.
Mika won’t replace me in my lifetime
Lots of creators are wondering if they’ll be replaced by $10/hour content farms and bots. Jay offers a remedy to this fear:
Maybe automation and outsourcing and everyone’s desire to find and follow the listicle is simply making us all replaceable, because the goal becomes more cheaply and quickly following the list. So maybe if we tinkered on side projects to strengthen our creativity and improve our craft, we’d become absolutely irreplaceable … to our companies, to our customers, and to our audiences.
Computers are (currently) really good at sorting through tons of data, looking for patterns, and helping us incrementally optimize what already works. But they just don’t have the creativity to help us make 10x breakthroughs.
Actually I couldn’t have predicted it either. I just started playing around with different ways to write that sentence and came up with one that I like.
BOOM! Intuition, baby.
But Mika is helping me create better content
There are 3 million blog posts produced every day. On June 3rd, 2016 Jay wrote Confessions of a Content Creator: I Don’t Care About Data.
I never saw it because I don’t read 3 blog posts every day, much less 3 million. But Mika can. Mika knows that Jayca Pike’s comment on Jay’s post signaled that others may find it interesting.
Mika can’t create compelling content but she sure can be a source of inspiration by helping me find it.
My advice for content marketers: don’t start with metrics
Don’t start by thinking about keyword coverage. Or by looking at Google Analytics. Or by trying to copy the latest growth-hacking fad. Or by looking around at social metrics to see what is already popular. By doing so you’ll condemn yourself to long-term mediocrity.
Instead, start with Skype. Talk to your customers. Listen to the words they use, how they talk about their problems. Empathize with them and try to create something they want to read. Then write it. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Use SEO ranking and metrics to fine-tune what you do, to take you from 10x to 11.2x.
Maybe Mika will find you too.
Originally published at ScribbleIQ Blog.