A Content Marketing Lesson On The Failure that Led to Twitter

If there’s one content marketing lesson everyone learns sooner or later, it’s this: Make good content. This is kind of a generic and obvious statement – we all want our work to be good, or hell, even great! – but there’s a lot of meaning packed into it. The quality of your content makes a serious impact on how successful your content marketing strategy is.

This golden rule was a big part of what led to the creation of Twitter. Check out the interview below, where Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s founders, elaborates on this prime content marketing lesson. He says:

Twitter was a side project at another company that we got a little bored working at.

We didn’t actually use our own product, which was a clue that we shouldn’t be doing that.

They were developing podcast software that they themselves weren’t using, a sure sign of a bad initiative.


When it comes to content, you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s something you would engage with and use. Here are the definitive criteria that can help you answer that question.

Good content – articles, pictures, videos – should be easy to understand and digest.

You wouldn’t watch a ninety minute video of a dry professor lecturing about how mortgages work. You would read a succinct article that clearly told you why you’d want a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate (or vice versa).

It’s important to be providing content that’s written in plain English. I don’t have to tell you just how convoluted financial services can get. APRs, IRAs, 401(k)s: I haven’t even scratched the surface. Customers are looking for your help to figure this stuff out. Your content has to be understandable to the layperson.

Put yourself in the shoes of the average Joe or Jo-anne. You aren’t looking to become an expert. You just want the straightforward facts that will help you make the best decision. Content should facilitate that.

Good content should be easy to find.

Everyone’s had this happen: A week ago I found this great article that had search engine optimization (SEO) tips for financial marketers. I was just about to head to lunch when I read it and I neglected to bookmark it. The next day, when I wanted to share it on Twitter, I couldn’t find it again.

Content can move extremely fast, this is why I recommend you to click here for SEO right away. Just like how a newspaper needs fresh articles all the time, content marketers must always be promoting new and different content.

Content has to be organized to make it easy for users to find what they need, right when they need it. It should be organized by topic (e.g. mortgages, investments, community events, etc.). Searchable content is a best practice and you can also suggest relevant content by asking users non-invasive questions. “Do you have kids?” “Are you looking for a home?” “Do you need help with cash management?”

Depending on the answer you can serve customers relevant content on college funds and mortgages, or even just share some budgeting tips.

Content Marketing Lesson - Organized

Maintain a clear and organized structure for your content so the right article is always easy to find.

Good content should always benefit the user.

Content should always have some kind of benefit for users. When they check out your content they can hope to save money, or avoid a mistake, or make the right financial decision, or they can even just smile. There’s value in something as simple as a goofy picture of an adorable cat (in point of fact, entire businesses have formed and thrived around this very specific type of content).Content Marketing Lesson - Business Cat

It’s a simple enough philosophy, but it’s really important for how financial marketers understand their content. Remember, ads don’t count!

Articles, pictures and videos on your site and social feeds should sell by not selling.

Imagine a TV station that only showed commercials. Would you tune in? Hell no! The same goes for content on your digital channels. You must show some benefit to the user before you sell. You will be able to define yourself as a resource and guide, fostering a relationship before the customer is ready to buy.

If all you have to say on social media or your website is “buy this product,” customers will ignore you until they’re already comparing your rates and offers to the bank down the street.

Content You’d Use

Is your content something you yourself would use? Is it clear and understandable? Is it easy to find what you’re looking for? Are you benefiting from engaging with it? If the answer’s yes then you’re on the right course.

We can even report – if you don’t mind a little self-promotion – that employees of our clients view our content as a perk of working there. They themselves are using the content.

Keep your content easy to understand. Make it easy to find. Benefit users.

Drop by our next workshop for a look at how content leads to sales