You have a Long Way to Grow, Content Marketing
Updated Sept 2018
Content marketing has a long a vibrant history. Since the invention of the printing press our worlds have been overrun by written content: newspapers, flyers, books, reports, pamphlets, posters and all of the advertisements that come along with them. Then radio and TV content came along. We can't stop talking about content creation because the right content works. And now that we are well into the 21st century, we see their evolution into digital content: blogs, how to videos, whiteboard demos, slide shows, listicles, quizzes, on demand, streaming, VR, Vine, No Vine, New Feeds, YouTube.
But regardless of the shape it took, it's always been about the content. Without a creative Super Bowl ad to pitch a product, no one would be talking about that product the next day; let alone buying it. Without the Super Bowl no one would have watched your commercial.
No one would have bought newspapers that were 60-70% ads. Would you watch a TV program that was 75% commercials? No, instead we are willing to pay a little extra to get rid of ads on streaming services like Hulu. So now the ads are moving online. But they're going about it the wrong way.
Content Marketing - Growing Pains I have to watch a 30 second commercial over and over again because I want to watch a 1 minute video. Did I really just pay 30 sec of my time for a 1 minute video? Unfortunately, I did and do because I can't resist watching innovative tech videos. But you're not convincing me to buy your product.
That's not how it's supposed to work. And as people race to find ways to make money off online content, they forget why the customer came here in the first place -- content. If you don't deliver that, you may increase your traffic, and boost your ranking some, but the number of leads that you are actually converting to "cash" are slim. You can do better. By treating the customer like the valuable person they are and not just someone you can "trick" into buying your product, you can achieve the real results possible with real, custom content.
But, today, Instead of meeting our objectives -- generating viable leads and converting leads to sales -- we just end up betraying the trust of a potential customer and losing the loyalty of our existing ones. Some of us are still trying to pump out uninspired keyword stuffed content and expecting that Magical Genie in the Google to grant our 3 wishes.
In case that one didn't register, here is a transcript of a recent conversation I had with him.
Me: Genie, I want page one rankings for the most competitive keywords.
Google Genie: Done.
Me: I want to convert all of those leads to sales.
Google Genie: Done
Me: I don't really want to have to add any value to the customer's life to earn their business and loyalty.
Google Genie: Hey, I'm Just a Genie.
No, content isn't magic. But it can be very magical. It can engage and inspire. It can make people stop and think. It can get them angry or sad or blissful. It can make them feel super smart. It can make them feel appreciated. If it doesn't, no matter how intense your social media marketing strategy, it's just going to fall flat.
Competition is fierce. Getting a competitive advantage is nearly impossible. Throw your old MBA Marketing text books in the trash. Times have changed. Although some things never change. Today's consumers simply expect more from their brands. Don't make them beg.
Giving them more of what they want is your competitive advantage. This is where loyalty and leads come from.
The Balance Between Content and Promotion
Finding the perfect balance has never been easy. We are afraid to soft sell for fear of being ambiguous. And we know that the hard sell loses more customers than it gains. No one wants to be "sold" something. They want to discover it, admire it and then share it, buy it and review it and then buy it again, hopefully.
According to research:
78% of CMO (Chief Marketing Officers) believe custom content is the future of marketing and their forecasts are not be taken lightly when you consider some key research findings:
60% of people were inspired to buy after reading content.
70% of customers would rather learn about a company through their content than an ad.
82% feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
This has been studied fairly extensively by several reliable sources with similar results. But the research on a Content/CTA is hard to come by because the value of content is so subjective.
So, is a good ratio 70-30, Content/CTA, 80-20, 90-10? The answer is that it doesn't really matter as long as you are creating content for customers first. They know when you're holding back, when you are just putting out content for content's sake, when you couldn't care less about them as a customer as long as they buy, buy, buy.
You get out of your content what you put into it. Take time to research your target audience. Talk to your customers about what they are looking for. Understand what they want to know about your industry. See what gets them excited. And then monitor your analytics to know how you're doing. Do it for the customer. Profit drives our primal instinct to sell, sell, sell. But it all about the customer in the end. They decide if you delivered on your promises, if they will come back, recommend you or write a nasty review. Approach them with the spirit of giving and you can't go wrong.
If you would like to learn more check out "9 ways to create content that converts". Yes, it's free. No, I'm not trying to sell you something. See, I felt compelled to say that. Sad.
Best of luck with your content adventures. Never stop creating.