(Wow… the old spellchecker went crazy on that one!)
But, I had to use that word. Demystify just doesn’t fit. Here’s why.
Content marketing isn’t the new kid on the block anymore. In fact, it hasn’t been for a long time. The Proctor and Gamble boys used it way back in the early 1800’s.
And on the Web, it’s no longer that next new thing.
It’s all grown up and still evolving.
But, there still is a lot of confusion about content marketing. So many myths and misconceptions still abound. It’s no longer mysterious…
Four of the industrial content marketing myths are:
- Content marketing is giving away free information
- Content marketing is for SEO (search engine optimization)
- Content marketing is online corporate speak (read: monotonous, bland, boring)
- Content marketing must be “safe”
These are the three main myths we’ll debunk. But, there are several more. In fact, we may squash a few of those little dragons along the way.
But, let’s start with the first one… probably the most insidious.
Content marketing is NOT giving away free information
Every piece of content you put out there should have a price tag.
Okay… it’s not always monetary. Content marketing is giving out free information with a purpose. It should have some effect on your readers and prospects.
Because there are many forms of marketing content (that’s what content marketing really is, you know), the “fee” comes in many forms.
- A change in your reader’s perspective of you. Great content humanizes your business. When it’s useful content, you become a trusted resource. Someone your reader can get to know, like and trust.
- It embeds your company in your prospect’s mind… if it’s valuable, useful content. Unlike tradeshow freebies — logo-laden stress balls, pens, notepads, and tote bags — you end up in their heads, not the bottom of their junk drawer.
- Gated content, accessed by filling in a form, gets contact information. In other words, LEADS! The info passes on to your sales team for follow up. Quick suggestion here. Don’t ask for too much info, too soon. You’re not building a dossier. Just starting a conversation.
There are other “price tags,” too. But the key point? Lose the “free” attitude.
I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Content marketing is NOT just for SEO
Don’t get me wrong here.
Content marketing blogs are a GREAT way to bring you website up in organic search. Done right, it works.
Open your Google search box and type in any of the following:
- industrial copywriter
- safety copywriter
- manufacturing copywriter
Yes, that’s me you’re finding.
But, your content must address REO or Reader Engagement Optimization. In fact, that may be more important than SEO.
Late last year, I rewrote some web copy for a client. A few weeks ago, he called me again.
“Steve, my web designers told me I needed a blog.”
“Did they tell you why?”
“Yeah, they said it was for SEO.”
“Was that all they said?”
“Yes… that’s all.”
We talked some more about it. I reminded him that once they got to his site, he wanted the reader to contact his sales team. They were trained in closing the sale, with a high success rate already.
“Boss,” I said. “We need to get them there. But we also need to get them engaged with you. That’s what content marketing is really about.”
Unfortunately, this final myth prevents that from happening.
Online, corporate speak stifles engagement
And it outright kills effective content.
Last August I wrote about writing that was difficult to read. Stodgy, stuffy boardroom speech doesn’t cut it on the web. Even offline content suffers from boring language.
Now, you obviously don’t want content that sounds like locker room banter. We are talking about business customers here. So, you don’t want to be inappropriate in what you say.
But, often a more casual tone works best. Not locker room… but, maybe breakroom or water cooler dialog.
I’ve read web copy and content that put me to sleep. And I mean literally.
It was so boring and bland that I had to struggle to get through it. Unfortunately, I had to read it because I was tasked with fixing it.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to do… if the client is onboard with the change.
There’s another culprit here, too.
My term for it is cookie cutter content. It’s content that sounds just like everyone else’s content. There is little, if anything, that distinguishes it from your competitor’s junk… I mean, content.
If your content is just like everyone else’s, why should your readers even care or bother to read it?
Not only that, it’s often too “safe.”
Sometimes, safe is dangerous
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, shared some interesting observations in a recent article.
I’ll give you the link at the end so you can read it for yourself… it’s that important.
But, here is an excerpt from the article. He was leading a workshop for small-business CEOs and operations managers.
Not one of them was happy with their marketing. This is not unusual. It’s predictable that senior leaders are often disappointed with their marketing. Why? Mostly because they believe it should be easier than it is. Others believe the product should sell itself. They also feel that they are just one secret-sauce answer away from Utopia. I mean, how hard could it really be?
…And that’s what I heard about their content efforts as well. Their blog posts weren’t getting much traffic or converting. Their email newsletters weren’t getting opened. Their customers were ignoring them on social media. Finding themselves on the first page on a search engine listing was equally hard.
Does that sound familiar?
After hearing their complaints, Joe asked a simple question:
“Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”
Digging deeper, he discovered that many were afraid to give out any intellectual proper without payment. They didn’t want to divulge any “secrets.”
They all wanted to play it safe with their content. The result?
I’m not saying you need to divulge trade secrets. But I will say this.
If you’re hiring a doctor to perform some complicated, expensive, potentially life-altering procedure, wouldn’t you want to know some details?
You may not be performing brain surgery. But, you are wanting to extract cash from their coffers.
Effective, useful, relevant content marketing makes the procedure easier.
To your success!
Here the link to Joe’s article: One Thing is Killing Content Marketing and Everyone Is Ignoring It
Article written by Steve Maurer – Steve Maurer Freelance Writing
This article first published on my LinkedIn profile here.
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