I heard someone say, “Marketing is just publishing.” And if this is true, then the saying “Content is king,” should also be true. The question is… does your king have clothes? And is he dressed appropriately?
Great content is at the heart of any great marketing campaign. It is also independent of media, and shouldn’t be confused with media. Media is the way content is distributed, while content is the value and message of the information being conveyed. In Quid Pro Nada, I discussed content as the currency in the new Internet marketing world and the value of giving it away for free.
Great content is also hard to accomplish. A lot of content is garbage, mostly because it’s self-serving and sales oriented. Talking about the features advantages and benefits of your products and services tends to be boring. If you are still producing this type of marketing content, it’s why 95% of marketing literature thrown away (AMA).
Having a content strategy is a place to start. Content strategy means that you have a content map of prospect needs for particular stages of the buying cycle. This helps avoid offering ‘problem identification’ content to someone in the ‘evaluating stage’. It also means that your messaging is consistent within any particular buying stage or part of the sales funnel. Yet, as a marketer and consultant, my biggest content issues are tactical. In thinking about content I’ve come up with four key elements and a set of questions you can ask yourself about each to see how well-dressed your king is.
The four elements are: 1) Creation, 2) Quality, 3) Focus and 4) Media.
Part 1: Creation:
Marketing’s job is not content creation. A lot of CEO’s and sales people think it is. But I rarely find a marketing person who is also a subject matter expert on the things that prospects, customers and clients care about. That’s a tragedy in itself. This doesn’t mean that marketing can’t create content, but unfortunately most marketers are too removed from the customer to understand their issues and interests. Rather, the best understanding of customers comes from Sales or R&D.
Marketing’s role is one of content facilitation. Trying to get sales to create content is like… insert your favorite metaphor. However, think of them as a source. Sales people like to be interviewed. Talk to them. Put them on video. Go on a ride-along. Sales can be a great source of truth. While you’re on a ride-along, interview customers and prospects.
The other area where real ideas for content are created is in the backroom of R&D. If your marketing is not connected with R&D or consulting in a services organization, you are missing a great opportunity for content creation. True R&D people and consultants are creative and naturally curious. They have the ability to think about things differently and can be a source of thought leadership and content.
Lastly, good content has to be part of your organization’s culture. Management owns responsibility for culture. So if your CEO is not promoting a culture which values, creates and shares content, then have a strong talk with him or her. It’s up to you to convey the value of content to the organization. There are lots of ways upper management can promote content creation, from providing incentives, to allowing time for it, to setting an example. Come to think about it, rather than talk to them, interview them on camera.
The questions to ask about content creation are:
- Who owns content in your organization?
- What are the best sources for content?
- What is marketing’s role in its generation?
- What is the value of great content?
- How can you promote the value of content to your CEO?
In Part II I’ll discuss Content Quality.
Do Great Things.
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