Let’s talk about content.
Content is a hot topic in the business world right now.
But most businesses stink at it, and you may be one of them.
Let’s try to fix that.
So what is content?
Content comes in many forms, including, but not limited to blogs, articles, whitepapers, video, graphics, images, and podcasts.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating valuable, relevant content that attracts, builds, and retains a relevant audience with the expectation they will eventually buy from you.
Now let’s look at why most businesses are unsuccessful at content marketing.
Your content has no value.
It’s easy to say “create valuable content.” So what is value? Value is influencing someone’s view, helping them solve their problem, or impacting their personal well-being. Many have figured this out, but most don’t do it well. Therein lies the opportunity.
You're rehashing what's been said 1000 times…poorly.
You cannot truly inspire by rewriting the same old stuff (how many linkedin articles do we need about hiring?). Take the time to identify topics that challenge conventional thinking or bring a new perspective to an old problem.
You underestimate how difficult it is to win attention.
Only a fraction of the people on your social networks will see what you post, and only a fraction of them will care about what you have to say. In order to capitalize on your networks, you must continue to grow and nurture them. Downloading a resource, subscribing to your newsletter, and following you on a social channel are all great ways to build your audience.
You’re not willing to invest time or money.
Production costs can include time, copywriters and graphic designers. Distribution costs can include paid social advertising and email marketing. If you aren’t willing to spend money on production and distribution, your chances of success are greatly diminished.
You haven't found a way to make a boring topic interesting.
A boring industry is a hurdle, not a prohibitor. No matter the industry, there are still problems to solve, questions that will be asked, and value that can be exchanged. Your topic may only be interesting to a very small subset of the population, but that’s the subset that would ultimately buy from you. Determine what they want to know and deliver the information better than anyone else.
You have crummy distribution.
Great content is useless if you don’t have a way to get it in front of people. Distributing your content aggressively across a diverse set of channels will increase your chances of success. Channels can include emailing your customer list, posting to your existing social networks, paid social advertising, and SEO (to ensure your content shows up when people are doing a related search).
You just don't do it enough.
Some have found success posting every day, posting once a month, and everything in between. If you only post once per month, the quality of your content should be commensurate with one month’s worth of effort. I recommend a higher frequency (once per week if you can manage it). This creates a good balance between frequency and quality. Also, you will increase your chance of success for no other reason than having more content published.
You don't try new things.
You have to, HAVE TO, be willing to try and fail in order to succeed. If you only pursue channels you know will succeed, you will never discover the cool new things that will take you to new levels. If you only blog on your website, try LinkedIn Pulse or guest blogging. If you only post to Facebook, try building an Instagram presence. Break out of your comfort zone and explore.
You don't capitalize on the attention.
Winning eye balls is just half the battle. Eventually, you want your audience to buy from you. To do this, you need to find the balance between giving value and asking for something in return. Balance may look like this: give, give, give, give, give, give, ask. In other cases, you never explicitly ask someone to take action. Instead, you make it very clear what they should do if they want to engage you. This could mean a call-to-action on your site or a tiny link at the bottom of a post.
You give up too early.
Content marketing is a long term play. It could take years to see the true payoff. The tradeoff? Once you get momentum going, it’s hard to stop. A library of great content with years of sweat equity behind it can be the gift that keeps on giving, but you have to be willing to put in the time to produce the volume it takes to get there.
You have no clue what you're trying to achieve.
If you don’t know what success means, you’ll never know if you achieved it. Determine up front the impact you want your content to have, then measure, evaluate, and improve (this is not limited to content marketing, but applies to life in general :) ).