Why most marketing 'news' doesn't matter to inbound marketers
If you're an inbound marketer or using They Ask, You Answer to drive more sales with inbound, you can ignore 95% of the news out there, and here's why.
By Liz Murphy
What you need to know about marketing news (at-a-glance)
- I have no new news to report today. I could make some joke here about the proverbial news well being as dry as Hugh Laurie's sense of humor, but, like ... let's just all trust me when I say it's a desert out there, OK?
- Over the past year as our news editor, I've edited more than 100 news articles and written 35+ of my own. Because if you're implementing They Ask, You Answer to drive more sales with inbound marketing you need to understand "what's happening!!" in the mysterious realms of search engine optimization, marketing automation, and so on.
- The fact is, however, I could have shoved hundreds of news stories down your throats today – but none of them really matter. And that right there is the "news story" I want us to focus on today. Not every single digital marketing news story matters to you. Some of them do, of course, but a vast majority of them don't. They never will, and that's OK.
- Certain things, of course, will always be true. Google will always try to make our lives miserable, social media giants will always be making changes (most of which don't matter), data privacy will always be something we spend our time wringing our digital hands over.
- That said, the most important thing you must always remember is that no matter what changes or what is announced, the core principle of They Ask, You Answer – dedicating yourself to being the No. 1 most honest and transparent teacher in your space – will never, ever go out of style.
Most digital marketing news is a distraction
Digital marketing news publishers must always be publishing. Unlike the BBC in 1930, they don't have the option to simply say, "There is no news today."
So, when I opened up my digital marketing news feeds this morning to decide on a topic for today's news column, I was bombarded with a waterfall of seemingly "the sky is falling!" important articles. For example, there's a story about TikTok and sponsored crypto content floating around, as well as a piece on (stop the presses!) Twitter adding a new way to sign in.
After 90 minutes of combing through a comically high digital pile of "But really, who cares?" stories, I gave up.
At first, I was annoyed. Very selfishly annoyed. You see, I've got a guy named Paul who is our director of content. And Paul, delightful Canadian that he is, has me on a deadline. This means I have to deliver something news-related for you, our reading faithful.
🔎 Related: What is They Ask, You Answer?
A good portion of the time, there is genuine news happening that you need to care about if you're leveraging inbound marketing to drive traffic, leads, and sales for your business.
- Google's third-party cookie ban is a story that matters because you need to understand the broader implications of our guaranteed future of a more private web when you'll have more limited access to your customer's data.
- You need to understand that Google now prioritizes page experience in how it ranks your content, which is why investing in your website's user experience is more important than ever before.
- If you're using HubSpot, you probably want to know about major product updates like their recently added HubSpot Operations Hub.
- Oh, it's also kind of a big deal that Apple is going to make it near impossible for you to see what actions (if any) your email subscribers are taking, because data privacy is a very big deal right now and, likely, well into the future.
- If you're using paid ads to augment your inbound strategy, you also likely have a few of your own stories that you want to be following.
On the other hand, there is a lot of junk out there that – try as those little publishers might to make it relevant – you can just ignore:
- Twitter ... it just doesn't matter. At least right now. It doesn't matter how many times it tries to buy Clubhouse or teases us with undo tweet options, it's still at the very bottom of the list in terms of driving value for content marketing publishers like you and me.
- In fact, most social media news doesn't matter. Seriously, social media platforms are always going to be publishing 1,000-word media releases about the fact that they added a new button or – oh, look! – they've released a new way to help influencers drop that skincare routine no one asked for.
- Google will always, and forever be, a mysterious annoyance you won't understand. I have dedicated countless virtual column inches to Google and its endless parade of ambiguous updates, and I will continue to do so. That being said, Google makes hundreds of algorithm updates every single year, and most of them won't really impact you. Some do, yes. But most don't.
- Also, analyzing what mega-brands such as Coca-Cola are doing with marketing ... that's like me wasting time online "window shopping" for my own private island when I'm still trying to make room in my personal budget for student loan payments and my unrelenting Starbucks habit. Those stories don't matter either.
What you should be focusing on instead
Look, I need to be very clear about something. My thesis here isn't that you should suddenly stop paying attention to what's happening in the digital marketing news landscape.
My point rather is that you need to be more discerning about what you consider important. And when I say "important," what I mean is stuff that genuinely empowers you to make smarter decisions faster, or more efficiently and effectively achieve your inbound marketing and sales goals. (Google, HubSpot, data privacy, and massive industry changes are issues that, for the most part, do matter. TikTok, pretty much anything Twitter is doing, and how Oreo created a viral moment do not.)
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And, even in cases where you do need to be aware of what's going on and (potentially) take interim action, most of the time, sticking to the core concepts of They Ask, You Answer ...
- Creating content that addresses the most pressing concerns of your ideal customers and making it easy to find on your website.
- Putting that content to work by using it in the sales process (i.e., assignment selling), so you can close more deals faster with more educated prospects.
- Investing in a user experience that transforms your business website into your No. 1 salesperson and a magnet for your ideal customers.
- Infusing video into every nook and cranny of your marketing and sales strategies because it's what your buyers are demanding.
... will help you achieve your goals and weather any newsy storm that attempts to cloud your traffic, leads, and sales sky. (Wow, that was a gross metaphor, but I'm sticking to it. I'm a woman of principle.)
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
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