Content Marketing Sucks
It's hard work. It gives away your secret sauce. It is nothing more than marketers renaming "marketing." The cost per lead is higher. It requires organizations to focus on time-sucking relationships rather than one-and-done transactions. It quickens the speed of innovation which is already at a break-neck pace.
I have heard all these criticisms and more recently.
Surprisingly, I agree... in part.
BUT... The Payoff for Content Marketing is Immense
When you hear these statements, consider these things about content marketing:
- Content Marketing makes you share at least some of your secrets for success: Yes, but isn't that called generosity? The sad state of mind that thinks it necessary to be vague and protect what has become common knowledge (try Google-ing just about anything) to retain a competitive advantage takes a lot of effort in itself. Looking over your shoulder constantly can scare you to death. When a tide rises, it benefits all boats, no? Get generous, help your prospects and customers get better at what they do, see what happens...
- Content Marketing is nothing more than marketers renaming "marketing": Sure, marketing has been around for a long time. Cigarettes were "marketed" and that didn't turn out so well. Following the best practices of content marketing would have forced cigarette manufacturers to explain in greater detail the benefits of smoking. In the age of information, the dangers of smoking would have also been discussed. Now I forgot, what were those benefits again?
- In Content Marketing, the cost per lead can be higher: True, but the quality of those leads is much higher. Marketing "pros" that tout their high lead volume are probably burned in effigy by their sales team. Good sales leads are the natural result of good content marketing. When it comes to sales leads, quality beats quantity every time. Just ask your sales team. Then compare their revenue per lead on the list of what they consider good leads vs. all leads generated.
- Content Marketing requires organizations to focus on relationships rather than one-and-done transactions: Amen! It's true that getting emotionally involved in a sale is dangerous for a sales person. Relationships can be hurt when sales don't proceed as planned. Some salespeople are reluctant to really pay attention to the needs of a prospect. Of course that salesperson will feel burned if they give the prospect what they ask for, then do not get the sale. But when the burden of lead (relationship) nurturing is shared between sales and marketing, it creates a team of "smarketers." (Toss that term in your browser.) "Smarketing" is the point of nirvana when your marketing department and sales team work together to generate leads that salespeople love to close. Your "smarketing" team should not be afraid to get cozy with your prospects. Try it and watch your sales close ratio, revenue per sale and recurring sales per account climb.
- Content Marketing quickens the speed of innovation which is already at a break-neck pace: Yep. Innovation can be a pain. I hate it when I can't find the key fob thing that opens the doors to my car, then I have to use my key. I hate it when the air conditioning in my house is not working, then I have to open the windows. If you ask, prospects will tell you what they need. This may lead to great ideas your Research & Development team missed. It may also lead to a new (legitimate) competitive edge in the market against your toughest competitor. Nice!
So content marketing increases generosity, transparency, lead quality, engagement and innovation by building a relationship with your prospects and giving them a place to learn and feel safe to ask questions and offer comments and ideas.
All that asking will lead to higher engagement, deeper relationships, improved products and services, and faster innovation. It may even increase profit margins, market share and revenues. How bad can that stink?
Another post to help with your content marketing initiatives: Rules of Guest Posting for Inbound Marketing and eCommerce Success.