One of the most popular buzzwords going is “content marketing.”
It is right up there with “social selling” under terms that if we aren’t careful can become utterly meaningless.
Having now sat on a number of calls over the last few weeks where people talk about my ability to use content to drive sales conversations, my brand reputation, and create opportunities, I figure I would spend a few minutes this morning sharing some of the secrets of content marketing that help me have a successful content marketing operation.
Understand What You Are Trying To Achieve:
Just like any project, your content marketing strategy needs to be focused on some sort of outcomes or results.
For me, I look at content marketing as a tool that allows me to write and speak on things that put me in the best possible light.
By putting my ideas in a frame, I am able to generate the kinds of attention and conversations that I want to have.
I’m not trying to sell anyone anything from a piece of content.
All I’m trying to do is stimulate the opportunity to have a deeper conversation about the challenges that organizations are having.
Over time, this is likely to change as I offer things that people can more readily consume right away like courses and books, but for now…my goal in content marketing has been to drive my ability to have deeper and better conversations with people.
For you and your organization, you are likely to need to spend some time thinking about what you want your content to deliver for you.
Do you need it to open the door to sales calls?
Are you doing it to drive signups for a subscription service?
Are you trying to get people to take a class or course?
What is the goal you want to achieve with your content?
Don’t Make Content A One-Size-Fits-All Affair:
Early on in my speaking career, I made a mistake that I only had to make once…I tried to be everything to everyone in one talk.
Basically, I was giving a talk about a strategic fundraising topic for nonprofits and when I realized that the audience was made up of far too many junior people that would find little or no use for the presentation that I had laid out, I tried to mix and match stuff on the go.
I don’t need to tell you that it was a disaster.
I was unhappy.
The person that invited me in was unhappy.
The audience was unhappy.
Because I had basically become a generality that had nothing to offer the audience.
Because it is a big missed opportunity.
Too much content floating around is exactly the same thing.
How many of you have read articles that are targeted at such a general audience that the content is vacuous and meaningless?
How many of you have read articles that are so unfocused that you can’t tell exactly what the point is?
How many of you have started reading something that you immediately felt was a waste of time?
We can’t have that.
The reality is that there isn’t just one way to deliver content.
I have a list on my desk right now that has about 120 different ways that I can share my ideas.
That means that I can take the idea or value I want to share and offer it up in any number of different ways to the audiences I am trying to hit.
Am I trying to talk to young sales agents in sports?
Then I have LinkedIn posts that work really well for that audience.
Do I want to hit executives in ticketing?
Maybe I go speak at INTIX or the TPC.
Am I trying to work with people in sports?
That’s a good time to visit the SBJ.
Whatever my target is, I have a way to reach that audience.
This is something to keep in mind with your own strategy.
You have to know your audience and who your content is directed at.
If you don’t, you are likely not to get as much traction as you would hope from your efforts.
So make sure your content is focused at a specific persona or type of prospect.
One of my big goals this year was to make sure that I write a blog a day here on my site.
This was important because I can sometimes feel like I am trying to wait on the next genius idea to pop up that will make people beat down my door.
That’s really unlikely to happen because ideas are free, it is the application of the idea that is valuable.
So putting that frame around my ideas help me start ensuring that I write daily.
Some days I write early, some days late.
The key is that so far this year, every day has meant that I have dropped a new blog post on you from this site.
For all of us, our marketing efforts are only as successful as we allow them to be by being consistent in their delivery.
In direct response marketing, you can often see an immediate response from any campaign you launch.
That’s not always the case with content marketing because sometimes it is the accumulation of ideas that enables you to seep into the consciousness of a potential buyer.
The big thing to remember is that you have to show up over and over again.
Because for one thing, the earth shaking idea is likely not to come settling upon your shoulder if you aren’t consistently out there sharing and creating ideas.
Second, even if you have the earth shattering idea, if no-one knows you from the man on the moon, it is going to be another barrier to success that you just don’t need.
So be consistent.
Focus on Adding Value:
In visiting a number of conferences over the last few months, I have noticed that all too many pieces of content, presentations, etc are just glorified product brochures:
- Full of specifications
- Full of technical data
- Full of talk about what’s important to you
These often are poorly received and a waste of the teams’ time because the thing is that they put you and your organization in the position of a commodity or a me-too product or service.
The best content does a good job of stimulating an excitement in the reader or receiver about what could be, what is possible, and the outcomes that change might bring.
This doesn’t have to be self promotional.
In a lot of cases, by defining the problem, you become the best person to solve the problem.
That’s why the best content is focusing on showing a clearer path to a better future.
Focus on outcomes.
Focus on improvement.
Focus on challenges that need to be overcome.
Just don’t focus on yourself.
Does all of this make sense?
Where is your content strategy struggling?
Where is it successful?
Let me know below. The comments are open.