Everyone talks about content marketing. Content writers are in business, all right. Yet, businesses struggle to have any content on their websites or blogs. In spite of all the ubiquitous advice on the Internet (including this blog post), the very nature of online business, and the huge demand for content for every business out there today, we still don’t see great content – at least not on every blog or website. Why? Here are some reasons why:
Great, awesome, and epic content is expensive
While developing a blog post or a well-researched article is not as expensive as designing a website or developing a Magento-based e-commerce store, it’s probably the next most expensive asset a business invests in. One or two posts don’t cost much; but one of two blog posts doesn’t do much for the business either. For business owners, the pain of “expense” kicks in when content writers are hired for the long-term (the only way content marketing can justify the expense). Content marketing is still way cheaper than traditional advertising, though.
Content marketing will not fetch leads when you need them
Content marketing runs on a fundamental marketing premise: customers buy when they are ready to buy, but not because you took pains to start a business, that you have a great product or service, because you publish regularly, or because you asked them to. Content marketing is an easy, inexpensive way (relatively speaking) to keep your prospects engaged and interested.
Businesses don’t like this fact. They need results today. You, as an entrepreneur, need those leads to convert so that you can pay the bills, and eventually profit from your enterprise. Yet, content marketing will take its own sweet time to convert those leads into lifelong customers.
Content marketing forces you to respond, connect, and engage
Gone are the days when you’d put up an advertisement and see your company switchboard heating up (to justify the receptionist’s work even more). Also gone are the days when customers had no choice except to buy or invest in your offerings. Today, customers have choices. How do you differentiate yourself? Why would a customer come to you and not go to your competition? Apart from your product, service, your string of impressive bullet points that make up for your Unique Selling Proposition, customers will also get a feel for how you engage, respond, answer, or interact with them.
Content marketing isn’t just about publishing blog posts and sending out weekly free e-books; it’s about the entire mechanism of doing all that plus engaging with your customers effectively. Now, that’s something new that businesses have to do, don’t they?
Content marketing? But not many people read, do they?
Few people have the habit of reading. So if a business ought to publish – in the hopes of making sales finally – how and why do you publish then? Yes, they don’t like to read. They probably won’t read everything you publish (one look at email marketing open rates would tell you that).
They will read, however, when they have to. They read when they are about to put up their hard-earned money while looking for a solution to their problem. That’s the whole point of publishing, reaching out, and engaging with them across channels available to a business. The point is: you have to be there when they are ready to read, or when they need help. Publishing regularly is the only way to achieve that.
Publishing is good; personality and voice is better
Out of the very few who do like to read, and also including customers who are now in a “buy state” and are looking to invest but would like to read up a little, they are likely to be well past the stage of cramming text books. Even students (if they are a part of your customer base) would like a welcome break from any kind of patronizing content.
As a business, you are certainly an authority on your niche. You are an expert offering to help solve problems your customers have. Yet, you can’t afford to be boring, dry, patronizing, and condescending. While customers read what you publish, it’s important to communicate expertise with a personality, with a unique voice, with an element of character.
With publishing and content, marketing has never been the same again. It’s a huge opportunity for businesses. It’s just that there are certain realities that a business should come to terms with (like all businesses did come to terms with the humongous cost of traditional marketing).
Did any of these realities hit you, as a business? What’s your take on it?