Long Live Content Marketing

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Everywhere I turn I see some new article proclaiming the death of content marketing. What a crock…

Content marketing is not the problem!

The problem is the chest thumping, blatant self-promotion that vendors claim is valuable, customer-facing content. Here’s a clue. If you’re pushing your business and your product – it’s not content marketing. It’s promotion.

Content marketing is one of the greatest assets of any marketing organization. Our content is what creates the perception of our business for today’s digitally empowered buyers. Through content marketing – we can reach out and touch them, share our experiences and knowledge, help them solve their problems so that they trust us. When we actually execute a content marketing strategy – we can be very compelling.

The problem is – that’s not the content we deliver. As we’ve transitioned from “traditional” marketing into “content” marketing – the only thing that’s changed are the communication platforms for the content. Instead of a promotional e-mail – we write a blog. Instead of a product sheet – we create a customer story. But the content all has the same basic focus. US – not the customer.

Self-promoting content will send your audiences running.

Great marketing content is not about us. Great marketing content is all about them. In my ebook It’s Not About You Anymore I share some ideas on how to create compelling stories. Here’s a clue. Compelling stories support the customer in solving their problems – without flaunting our stuff.

So stop blaming content marketing as the culprit. The problem isn’t the strategy – it’s the execution!

How can you shift from Chest Thumping to Customer-Compelling content?

Shift your thinking. Instead of creating the status quo content focused on your product, your value, your success – shift your focus to your buyer. Consciously decide not to mention your product, company or cool whizbang features. What a concept – a total focus on the customer’s needs and not our own.

How do you make the shift? Here are a few examples:

  • Share your expertise. Your audience has a problem. Don’t try to sell them your stuff – that’s just plain rude. Instead, help them understand how to think about their problem and potential solutions. Share your expertise with them, guiding them through the logical path to a solution. For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues. Why? Instead of being an obnoxious vendor selling them your stuff, you’re now an expert sharing information and guidance freely. Which one would you trust and respond to more readily?

  • Share alternative solutions. Give them options and choices, describe how others like them have approached and resolved similar problems. Take them through the logic of each solution, share the intricacies of the problem-solving process and how the decisions were made. Create content that gives your audiences a clear and broad perspective on real world problem/ solution scenarios that were successful. If you have a few that were failures – share those too. It’s all about sharing lessons learned by others that will help your audience be successful. By sharing this content – you position yourself as the friendly expert helping them understand and evaluate all of the options.

  • Selling is selling and content is content. When we mix the two, it turns off our audiences. If you’re creating a piece of sales collateral ( say a product sheet) – then let it sell. If you’re creating customer content – stop selling! Content marketing has a bad rap because we turn everything into sales focused content and then and put a customer wrapper around it. Do you really think your audiences are that naïve?

Content marketing can create compelling market advantage.

That’s only true if you’re purely focused on educating, supporting and helping your audience to be successful. Selling your products and organization is off limits in true customer-facing content. Sharing your expertise, sharing alternative solutions, sharing the logical processes that will support your audiences in their own decision-making – that’s powerful content.

As you educate and support your audiences to their best success – you’ll position your company as a trusted advisor – not a self promoting vendor. Which would you be most likely to partner with in your business?

Long live content marketing – and here’s to the death of shameless self promotion!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.

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