Inbound Marketing in a Post-Truth World

Inbound Marketing in a Post-Truth World

Inbound marketing hinges on one element: communication. Truthful conversation, that is. It’s not about selling anything. The science and art of content marketing is about striking up a conversation with an individual who is going to buy regardless.

And that conversation must be rooted firmly in the no-holds-barred truth. These days, candor is a rare commodity. In fact, the lack-of-honesty issue has become nearly as big as the Internet itself.

Let me explain.

Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary rolls out a new word. That sounds fun—after all, language always evolves. One year that word was “selfie.” Another year the good people at Oxford added “yadda yadda yadda” to the lexicon.

This year, the new word is “Post-Truth.”

“Post-Truth? What’s That?”

The Oxford English Dictionary makes it pretty clear.

“Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

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If our job as entrepreneurs and marketers is to deliver a truthful message, we need to evaluate what this means for our communication. Now that we live in a world where facts are debatable, how do we ensure our message stays rock-solid?

I know a good place to start. We need to admit…

Yes, This Is Really Happening.

Social media timelines are filled with articles that are not truthful. While we all love the Onion and “fake” news, the line is blurring. Many articles are producing untrue content in the interest of clicks with no mind given to the value of the content itself.

For example, a recent article surfaced about CNN airing pornography (accidentally) for 30 minutes. And that wasn’t true. Yet hundreds of thousands of people shared the content and it started trending.

Think about that: a huge chunk of the social media population thought that a major cable network somehow aired x-rated content for an extended period of time. Even though that never happened, the damage was done.

This should give all entrepreneurs pause. With rapid information flying past us at all waking hours, it’s difficult to sort the truth from the lies. As much of this phenomenon happens in the social arena, we can quickly realize that sharing a connection with friends puts us into a bubble.

The longer we spend with likeminded people—those who don’t challenge us—the bubble becomes more impenetrable. We discuss the same values, pat each other on the back, and in the meantime, we don’t learn any new concepts.

And we stop growing.

The Bubble Is Suffocating Us

We live in a post-truth world because we let it happen. The bubble made us comfortable, and now we’ve taken shared values to the next level. This year, we’ve even started believing the same lies.

Polarization has become so extreme that, when information comes to light, the true and untrue parts meld together. Our bubble alters content to fit the narrative that makes us feel unchallenged.

Stopping “Post-Truth” Is Up to Entrepreneurs

The thing about entrepreneurship is, there are no shortage of challenges. Most of us went into business because our ambitions outweighed our fears. We knew that we’d experience tension, but at the end of the day, we decided to make an impact on our terms.

In other words, we gave up on the myth of comfort. Instead of living inside a bubble where information fits perfectly into our value system, we decided it was OK to be challenged. Healthy even.

Our Call to Action Is…

I challenge you to create content that injects truth into the world, even when that candor causes discomfort. We’ve all heard the expression “the truth hurts.” Now that phrase has taken on a whole new meaning.

But therein comes another cliché phrase: “no pain, no gain.” Stepping out of the post-truth world involves getting out of our comfort zone, letting others challenge us, and changing our views based on facts.

This is what we must do not only for ourselves, but also for our clients. If we don’t tell them the truth, who else will?

Tell me what you think! How much “fake” news have you run across?

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