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When Content Marketing Is Just Not Appropriate

As you know I’m a big fan of content marketing and write about the subject on a regular basis.  What you may not know is that I’m also a fan of the BBC as a source of news.  So it came as something of a surprise when I realised that these two interests have begun to clash.

It really started a few weeks ago when the BBC changed their mobile website.  Gone was the version that could be personalised to the user’s own taste.  In my case I wanted local, technology and science based news and was able to remove entertainment, what’s on TV etc.

With the latest version I have to get everything that the BBC wants to throw at me which, arguably is much less of a content marketing approach than before. Before I had the choice of what was of interest to me but now I don’t.

But actually that’s not the aspect that’s bothering me the most. What is really annoying me is the fact that they have chosen to often replace the main news headlines with questions.

BBC Mobile Home Page

Yes, the BBC are trying to engage with me.

That’s a great content marketing technique for companies that are trying to sell me something but not from an organisation that is reporting the news.  I’m afraid it smacks of the same issues that have transformed journalism where it’s cheaper and easier to offer opinion and conjecture rather than research and report the facts.

Let me not get side-tracked although I think that cuts to the BBC’s online budget is partially responsible.

But not exclusively.

Someone has obviously done their research and discovered that better response rates are achieved with images and video.  Very true but what impact does that have on a mobile version of a website? It means that now I can only see the first headline and accompanying image before I need to scroll down to see the next and so on.  So from a content marketing perspective I’m now being fed what the BBC thinks is the most important piece of news that I’m interested in.

From a UX point of view I now have less choice over my own user journey.

Now before I start to sound too reactionary and pining for the days of the old BBC website, I’m sure that they will respond to the feedback and introduce changes because they’re good at that.  I would just urge them to remember who they are; the British Broadcasting Corporation. Content marketing is the way to go in order to respond to the change in buying behaviour but it isn’t always appropriate in every circumstance.

So please BBC remember who you are and broadcast the facts and let me decide what’s of interest to me.

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