This post about content marketing came from a facebook post I did in November 2012. I had been observing how some of the successful marketing channels I had been using over 16 years were diminishing in their effectiveness and how content marketing was opening up tremendously fast growth for clients that were embracing it.
For some of the long term clients that I was working with, they were skeptical and frustrated about having to move to the new way of marketing. This type of thinking can be dangerous.
With any successful business, you need to keep an eye out for the emerging strategies that will replace the ones that ‘are’ working now. If you don’t, the game can change pretty quickly.
With that in mind, here’s the challenge I posed on my facebook page, rewritten here for this blog post.
A New Model For Marketing: Content Marketing
Your mission if you should decide to accept it—is to a new model of advertising/marketing called content marketing to help facilitate faster business growth. In this article, I’ll focus on two models: pay-to-promote, which you still may be relying on heavily; and create-to-publish, the thing you need to be doing to move forward.
The pay-to-promote model, first introduced with print advertising and of course with yellow page listings, has had a long and successful history. A decade ago, most small businesses could do very well off solid yellow pages advertising, some press ads here and there and perhaps some radio ads.
The model didn’t require a lot of effort or creativity on the part of the small business owner. In many cases, a sales rep would simply offer you ad space. You’d sign on. They’d create the ad for you. You’d pay and then they’d promote you in their medium (newspaper, radio, yellow pages etc).
It was easy to do.
The pay-to-promote, or “old rules” marketing, as author David Meerman Scott has referred to it, had been easy for businesses to pursue but revealed very little about the business. Uncontested, the model prevailed until the Internet came along and a whole new industry of marketing emerged, e.g. e-commerce, lead-based websites, affiliate marketing, local internet marketing and now more than ever, content marketing.
The Internet radically changed the game because now interested shoppers could find information about other businesses in a couple of fast searches, including ones that had never placed an ad or listed their business in the yellow pages.
The control shifted from the advertising medium that owned the channel to the shopper who could now research countless other businesses to buy from.
Shoppers could also learn more about the company and decide whether this was a business they’d like to buy from. They could compare products and services and have easy access to users’ reviews. Consumers could dutifully educate themselves, before making their buying decision.
Now with a create-to-publish model, aka “new rules”, shoppers can find the information they’re seeking by ‘googling’ it, or learning more about via a businesses presence on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, iTunes Podcast, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, and a host of other user review sites.
For a lot of the established businesses that I coach, this change is confronting.
The model has changed and those that continue to use the lazy ‘pay to promote’ model are falling behind to those businesses that are embracing the ‘create to publish’ model.
Established businesses need to spend time themselves or look bring on new people either internally (staff) or externally (consultants) that can help them with the content creation and publishing of it through all the various channels (blog, social media, press releases etc etc). For them, it’s a new learning curve and breaking away from their previous marketing model is frustrating.
But, it must be done.
3 Tips for Content Marketing Creation
- Embrace the Change
As a business owner, not only do you need to understand the shift in order to compete in today’s marketplace—you must also embrace the change. Expect that shoppers are going to “google” and search the web to find information about your business, your products and team members and even about YOU.
- Create and Publish Meaningful Content
Make it easy for consumers – by creating and publishing content that contains helpful information and tips about the solutions they are seeking from a business like yours. The more useful content you create, and the more engaging your business is with potential and existing customers, the more you’ll standout.
- Generate and Optimize Content
By generating and optimizing more content, users will be able to find the information more easily, and you’ll increase your marketing efforts in a way that never could be done before with the old model.
Approach Content Marketing With The Mindset That You Are Adding More ‘Doorways’ To Your Business.
Think of each ‘content piece’ as a ‘doorway’ to your business. The more doorways you have, the more customers can find you to ‘come in’ and buy.
Put another way. Transform your 10 page website to a 100, 300 or 1000+ page web presence by putting up more pages on your site and/or using a blog. Then widen your Internet footprint via setting up channels to your market through information you share in a Facebook page, YouTube channel, LinkedIn company page, podcasts, Pinterest, etc.
It shouldn’t take long to realise that the businesses with more effective ‘doorways’ can cream their competition by using the create-to-publish model (especially if your competition is still only relying on their 10 page websites and zero or poorly maintained social networking pages).
- Create and publish content that ‘shoppers’ will value. Reveal your expertise. Reveal your product/service range. Reveal your quality. Reveal your passion.
- The wider and deeper your Internet footprint, the easier it will be for you to be found, and the easier it will be for customers to buy from you.
- Involve all your team in creating and then publishing content about your business. Right now, ‘publishers’ are the fastest growing businesses. If you didn’t realise it before, you do now.
- Need evidence? Make a list of the major players or up and coming players in your industry and check-out their social presences. How many followers do they have on FaceBook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, amongst others? You’ll quickly see the proof.
- The mere fact that you read down to here means that you’re curious about what you need to do now. Start creating content and publish it.
- If you can, employ or contract with people to help you with the content creation. Be sure though that it’s high quality. Don’t cut corners on this one. You don’t want second-rate content that closes doorways and doesn’t encourage shoppers to come in.
How have you or are you making the shift to a create-to-publish model? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.