It’s not what you sell, but, what you stand for.
It’s not coupons, it is about helping (although a bonus gift is nice).
Marketing (in the Mad Man days) was about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling a truth and sharing it. – Marc Mathieu, Uniliver
Marketing and B2B content marketing is about being authentic, honest and real. The type of marketing which builds trust.
Helping, educating and informing is the new marketing.
Content marketing is being nice because nice is good. Being nice and good touches hearts and earns trust. And trust is the basis of relationships.
Content marketing lights the way to trust.
So what do you stand for?
Master your Destiny – Earn trust and Melt Hearts
(I am not altruistic. Profit keeps the wheels of commerce moving. You can sell, but, in a ‘nice just because I’m nice way’).
People value authenticity and want to be heard.
Megaphoning “what you sell” was the Mad Men days of the ’90. Outbound, cold calling, double Martini lunches, schmoozing and the ‘Always Be Closing’ era. Companies held all the power in the Mad Men days.
The buyer wanted knowledge and the gatekeeper of knowledge is sales.
Times marches on and now the buyer now has the power – thank god for to the internet, or thank Tim Berners-Lee.
Sheep in Wolf’s Cloths – Deconstructing Content Marketing
Content Marketing is creating and sharing knowledge to attract prospective customer – prospects. With the goal to convert prospects into customers, and enticing those customers into repeat purchases (building loyalty).
Publishing content gives people a chance to know, like and trust you. Only when they trust will people buy from you.
Content performs a number of magic business tricks all at the same time.
- Publishing demonstrates subject matter expertise
- Content proves an understanding of the pain points of your prospects
- Publishing is a guarantee you are open and honest with knowledge
- Publishing is an unabashed way to help
- The best magic trick – content is proven to build trust
Write content that makes the world sing. Content is really about connecting with people. — Ardath Albee
Sheep vs. Wolf of Wall Street – Content Marketing vs. Online Marketing?
Content marketing uses blogs, social media, video and other forms of content to deliver magnetic headlines, persuasive landing pages, and conversion driven emails. Content owned media helps develop relationship and moves people up the funnel in the way paid media cannot.
The lucrative aspect of content marketing is it supports the entire customer journey from unaware prospect, to customer, brand advocate to the ‘Guy Kawasaki’ type evangelist.
To qualify as owned media content must:
- Focus on attracting and retaining a targeted audience
- Sharing compelling, useful, and/or entertaining information
- Consistently delivered
- Speak to the pain point of an audience
Content Marketing Drives all Media – POEM
‘Media’, classically anyway, is in pigeon holed into one of three; ‘buckets’; paid, owned and earned. View all you do along the lines of channels.
Paid is paying to get your ‘message’ in front of an audience.
Owned media are the channels you own.
Earned media is people talking about you.
Content market drives all media.
How long does Content Marketing take?
It depends. Yep, I said it and yes depends is a terrible answer. Most importantly marketing is not magic.
Think of a moving a large ship with a small electric motor. Starting to move the ship takes a long time. Whereas keeping the ship moving is easier.
Getting traction with your content marketing is analogous to moving that ship.
The more you publish, the more leads you generates.
Starting with an empty blog and expect zero organic visits from search arriving in months. It does depends entirely on your niche, strength of your competition, your keywords, quality of your writing, size of your network, age of your website and dozen other factors.
Where do I begin with Content Marketing?
The type of content you produce must relate closely to what you sell. Cat videos and cat memes help sell cat food.
The ‘Back to Basics’ content strategy sequence is –
Business Objectives > Marketing Objectives > Marketing Strategy > Content Objectives > Content KPIs & Metrics > Content Strategy > Content Tactics.
Distilled from this process will be:
- List of competitors content
- Gaps in your competitors content
- Gaps in your content inventory
- The pain points of your ideal client (Marketing Personas)
- What competitive advantages the competition has and how strong it is (link to fast, cheap and good)
- The engagement level of their community
- Social network coverage gaps
- Keywords and search engine ranking for your competition
Use a content audit if the ‘Start from Scratch Back to Basics’ content strategy sequence is too involved.
Do a content inventory using a quick win content audit, done on your business and your competition. Focus your audit on a) top of the funnel content, b) sales nurturing or 3) loyalty-based content.
Marketing Tip – If you are new to content marketing then create brand awareness type of content for your top of the funnel prospects. Choose nurturing sales content if you have leads. If you are losing customers rapidly then begin a content loyalty program.
How much Content do I need?
The short answer is more than you think you need to attract prospects; converting prospects into customers and enticing customers into repeat purchase. How many pieces does that equal? Let us see.
Look at the buyers journey with questions and concerns at every step. Buyers follow a ‘buying process’ similar to John Dewey Buying Decision Process.
- Problem/Need recognition
- Information search
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase behavior
Each stage has many question which need answers, (and sometimes multiple answers). So five answers for five questions per each avatar.
Remember content is consumed differently throughout the day by different people. Some prefer audio, some text. Producing only written blog posts, limits your audience.
Pulling this luxurious idea string with our 5 questions, each one answered as text, graphic, video, audio, and a presentation totals 25 content pieces.
Every business has 3-4 ideal clients (Marketing Personas) so 25 pieces multiplied by 3 or 4 totals 75-100 pieces of content.
75-100 pieces of content per product. Hum that sound like a mountain to climb and will cost a fortune.
What Dosh does this Glamour cost?
The right question is what is the opportunity cost of not using content marketing to market your business? How much money are you losing to your competition today and this week?
Recall earlier the bar for ‘acceptable behavior’ we expect from companies has risen. Simply spending money on advertisements is not enough to classify as successful marketing efforts. People ignoring ads with Sky+, TiVo, and Netflix, Ad blocker and our multi-device, time shifting attention deficit disorder lifestyle. Also ads do not build trust.
So Make or Buy…
Content marketing has many moving parts including writing, editing, graphic design, video and audio production, email marketing, SEO, analytics, outreach and influencer marketing.
If you buy your content marketing goes like this:
- Small to medium size business pay between €2-20K per month.
- Larger organization and enterprise business is between €5-50K per month.
The make argument of content marketing:
A Community Manager is the beginning with the above skills would cost between €30-70K per annum.
Make and/or buy come with choice.
“Is it soup yet?” Make some and buy some
Do you have in-house skills? Labour available? and time you can allocate to content marketing. Using internal talents and skills and outsource the rest.
Why invest in Content Marketing?
For sustainable revenue and profits! The power in the transaction has shifted from the sell to the buyer. This means your marketing has to evolve. Content marketing is the answer because a perfect storm of factors are converging:
- More competition for customers
- Knowledge and information are ‘free’
- Sales cycles are opaque – B2B buyers wait longer before contacting sales (are ¾ along their internal process before they contact sales).
- Stakeholders– the number of people in the ‘decision making loop’ is increasing.
- Content Pieces – diversity and number of content pieces buyers need is increasing
That’s a Content Marketing Wrap
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
The proverb applies to content marketing and horticulture. Posts created a year ago are generating visitors and leads today.
Social media and content marketing are not magic beans. They are only helper monkeys supporting your awesome products and services. If your products are not awesome than no amount of social, email or content marketing will not fix it. Fix your product first.
The leap into content marketing is exciting and scary. And rewarding.
BIG Marketing Takeaway – Content marketing is particularly good at melting hearts, developing relationships, and earning trust, moving people up the funnel and builds trust during the entire customer life cycle.
Content Marketing is not all roses and chocolates. Its is a long term strategy and difficult to find know what resonates with people.
Love to hear your comments. And if you like this post – share it with your friends!