A few days ago, one of my soccer teammates (an electrician) asked me an interesting question about content marketing. He knows I’m in the business, and that a few of our teammates are my clients.
He asked me, “What’s this ‘content marketing’ thing all about? A friend of mine is an electrician in Austin and he told me that he gets his best leads from ‘content marketing’. Whenever I research it, all I get is a bunch of general statements like: “It’s important to have a strategy” or “Always put the customer first”. Thanks, Captain Obvious! Any half-intelligent business owner on the planet knows that. But what does that have to do with content marketing?”
I could tell he was a bit frustrated. I get these types of questions (or maybe complaints?) all the time. Speaking in shallow generalities has become the fallback format for lazy content marketers.
This is a problem. While these shallow generalities aren’t wrong, they lack depth and waste your time by giving you the information you already know.
My teammate didn’t need Captain Obvious. He needed examples to know how to get the results his friend in Austin was getting.
In this article, the brilliant Yogi Berra is going to guide us to converting the 4 laziest content marketing statements into something you can actually use.
Lazy Content Marketing Statement #1 = “It’s important to have a strategy”
How many business owners do you know run their business without a strategy? Yes, it’s important to have a strategy with your content marketing too. As the brilliant Stephen Covey stated, “Begin with the end in mind.” Are you wondering what that means to you?
It means that you might want to have a goal in mind and a strategy that will work for your business to assist you in achieving that goal. For example, the goal for an electrician might be to get on the first page of the search results and get more leads.
We’ve seen the best results when businesses focus on their customer and make sure their content is useful. The key to exception content is utility. Ann Handley states it well in her excellent book Everybody Writes: “Utility means you clearly help your customers do something that matters to them—you help them shoulder their burdens, you ease their pain, or you help them make a decision.” She goes on to say that all of your content should relentlessly focus on your customer and that “everything the light touches is content.”
Here are a few quick content topic ideas for an electrician:
- Top # Lists: “Top 5 ways to save 50% per month on your electrical bill”
- Did You Know…: “Did you know that electrical fires are the #1 cause of home fires?”
- How to: “How to make your home feel more like your home with better lighting”
Lazy Content Marketing Statement #2 = “Be patient and think long-term”
We live in a world of instant gratification. Patience is hard to come by nowadays. If my electrician friend starts a blog from scratch, it might take him 5 to 6 months to start seeing consistent results. But if he consistently delivers useful content to his target market, he’ll end up like his friend in Austin. He’s spending less and less money on advertising because he gets more and more of his leads from his blog and word-of-mouth.
Blogging is your biggest opportunity to get more leads & improve your search results. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. We recommend adding a call-to-action at the end of every blog to capture leads. As stated earlier, offer something useful in exchange for their contact information.
It’s not really about being patient and thinking long-term. It’s more about your mindset and setting expectations. Because Yogi Berra is right, “the future ain’t what it used to be” so you might as well get started now.
- Blog: Your blog is the center of your content marketing efforts. Start by delivering one useful, optimized blog per week with a strong call-to-action.
- Social Media: Distribute your content and share other useful content on your social media channels.
- AMA: “AMA” stands for Ask Me Anything. Answer questions online wherever your target market ‘hangs out’. Could be on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Quora.
Lazy Content Marketing Statement #3 = “Always put the customer first”
Once again, this is a valid statement, but also obvious. Do you know of a successful small to medium sized business that doesn’t put their customer first? (Notice I said “small to medium-sized business”. I know from personal experience that AT&T doesn’t put the customer first)
Yogi Berra’s quote is particularly meaningful in this case: “You can observe a lot by watching.” Sounds shallow, but it’s actually quite deep if you think about it. Our most successful clients are the ones that actually listen to their customers. They observe them and ask meaningful questions. Then they shut up and listen.
Here are a few questions you could ask your customers in an email survey or simply when you’re talking to them (of course these would need to be industry related. In this example, we’ll stick with the electrician):
- What’s your biggest challenge?
- If you could wave a magic wand and fix any electrical problem in your home, what would it be?
- What would you like to know more about to make your home energy efficient?
- Or keep it simple with: How can we better serve you?
Lazy Content Marketing Statement #4 = “Create remarkable content”
Create remarkable content? So you’re saying good content is better than bad content? Thank you, Captain Obvious!
However, creating remarkable content is easier said than done. Maybe you’re not a writer. Maybe you don’t have the time to consistently put out remarkable content. Or maybe you don’t have the money to pay someone to do it for you. But creating remarkable content is a Must so, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Taking action and just doing something, is better than doing nothing. Do you remember the part in Alice in Wonderland when she meets the Cheshire cat? The conversation goes something like this:
“Which road do I take?” Alice asks.
“Where do you want to go?” Responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know.” Alice answered.
“Then.” Said the cat. “It doesn’t matter.”
So what’s that have to do with you? The point is, just get started creating content. It’s hard to make your content remarkable. It won’t be amazing in the beginning, but it will get better with time and when you see what your audience responds to. Do you think Yogi Berra hit a home run the first time he picked up a bat?
Here are a couple of ideas to get you going:
- Newsjacking: Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement.
- Jerry Seinfeld: What if Jerry Seinfeld spent a day with you to help you create your content marketing plan?
Was this article useful? Or was it, yet again, information overload that filled your brain with stuff you already knew? Let me know what you think so I can better serve you.
The key is to just get started and do something! If you’re completely lost and need a bit more guidance, check out our free website analysis tool. It will show you what’s working, what’s not and guide you back to the path of continuous results.
To your continued success,