When Coca-Cola changed its marketing focus from creative excellence to content excellence, the marketing world got the message: content marketing is the way forward.
But not everyone is satisfied with their content marketing results. Marketers, small business owners and even large businesses with a high budget still struggle with this tough nut.
Some businesses are even starting to question if content marketing works in their industry.
If you have already taken the plunge but feel you’re yet to discover the secret content marketing formula for your business, then settle down for a few expert tips that can help you clarify your objectives.
Ready? Here’s the first step:
Answer Mr. Pulizzi’s question
Early this year, Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, shared details of a content marketing workshop he organized for about 50 small business CEOs and operations managers. Many of the business owners had all shared a common characteristic — they were unhappy with their marketing results. After listening to several complaints, Mr. Pulizzi had to stop his presentation and ask them the same question, one after the other:
“Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”
You should ask yourself the same question.
It is so easy to get lost in the frenzy of tactics, implementing one golden tip after the other when in fact there’s nothing special about the content you create.
How good is your content? Are you writing blog posts that your readers can’t tell from that of your competitor?
Take a day off the marketing and look at your content from the consumer’s perspective? Would you buy that if you were a consumer? Would that post stop your scroll if it appeared on your Facebook feed?
Mr. Pulizzi had this final question for his participants and you should give it some thought too.
“Let’s say someone rounded up all your content and placed it in a box like it never existed. Would anyone miss it? Would you leave a gap in the marketplace?”
Call yourself a publisher, not a blogger
Answering the questions posed by Mr. Pulizzi is one thing, getting practical about it is another thing. Okay, your content didn’t pass the test. How do you make it more engaging?
Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner says to “start thinking of your blog as a publication, then you can start calling yourself a publisher.”
Here’s why it works:
You may not be an expert at content marketing but you’re definitely an expert in the business you do.
Which one sounds more exciting? Writing blog posts that focus on trying to get people to do business with you or simply sharing your expertise? Clearly, the latter would come more effortlessly and would be more infused with your personality. It would also help you build authority in your industry. With the former, however, you’d be worried about both what to say and how to say it without looking sneaky.
For Stelzner, he thought of his site, Social Media Examiner, as an online magazine and went about curating it as such.
So, look at the blog posts or articles you already have on your business blog? Do they reflect your new status as the publisher of the next [your industry] Vogue?
This brings us to the next point:
Publish only your best content
You know one thing business owners worry about the most when it comes to content marketing?
It’s this: how much information should I give away for free?
Everyone talks about writing blog posts, creating eBooks, lead magnets and sending insightful emails. But wouldn’t that be giving away too much sauce?
This is, perhaps, one of the biggest reasons why many business blogs are full of lifeless articles.
Well, meet Emeric Ernoult, the lawyer turned CEO of the thriving SaaS company, AgoraPulse.
Here’s what he had to say in an expert roundup over at Social media Examiner:
“A long time ago, I was a lawyer and I started blogging content that my colleagues would sell for a fee. They looked at me like I was nuts. Three years later, they were still fighting hard to get a couple of new clients, whereas I was getting many more incoming calls than I could handle, thanks to my blog!”
Giving away your best content works like charm, as long as you’re speaking to the right audience. With the right audience, it only enforces in their minds that you’re are the right person to do business with.
If you’re still worried about what to give away and what not to, Chris Garrett of Rainmaker Digital has an excellent piece at Copyblogger that answers most of the questions you may have.
Keep in mind what he says at the end of the article:
“But the good news is that I have yet to find someone who has given away too much. I don’t believe it is possible to be too helpful or too generous … provided you manage your time and energy, and that people know you are in business.”
Like any business goal, content marketing success isn’t going to happen overnight. It would require consistent dedicated steps. The most important thing is to put in your best effort and differentiate your business by producing content that is remarkably refreshing.