“We want to be at the top of our industry. When people think of our market, we need to be the first brand they think of. How do we do that?”
With our meeting scheduled for just a half-hour, I assumed my client was looking for the short answer. A lean string of tactics working together to boost exposure and raise awareness. But this isn’t YouTube – no one’s getting paid in views. Eventually, this plan would need to warm leads and influence purchasing. So, what’s the play?
I clear my throat and proclaim, “Content marketing.”
Despite it being a total buzzword, I run through the benefits and results of a successful content marketing machine. Brand awareness, domain authority, thought leadership, organic traffic, more buzzwords. Content marketing is in right now. Everyone’s doing it, and you should too.
I wrap up my pitch and I’m fired up. Let’s get this engine running. Let’s do the damn thing!
Let’s pump the brakes.
“That sounds really great, and we’d love to do something like that,” they say. “But we don’t have content.”
THAT’S NO EXCUSE!
You have an office full of people! They’re designing, strategizing, making calls, taking calls, scheduling calls. Are you a call center? Think of all the meetings that run five minutes, ten minutes, longer than they need to. Add it up and Karen from sales could have written a draft. Bill, the copywriter, spends twenty minutes a day drinking coffee, scrolling through emails. Cut that in half and Karen has an editor.
Speaking of Bill, he literally gets paid to write. Why can’t he write content? I know he’s busy, but are you telling me there’s no low-tier task he could lateral to an intern? People talk about content marketing like it’s a goal or priority then treat content production like it’s cleaning the office fridge. Want to see a boardroom go totally silent? Ask for someone to write an article.
This is when people say something like, “I would. But I just don’t have the time to sit down and write.”
Well, guess what?
THAT’S NO EXCUSE!
Maybe your business is the exception. Maybe everyone is running at max capacity with no time to spare. They’re bogged down with tasks directly linked to the bottom line and time is money.
Perfect! You can use that money to hire a content producer.
Writers, videographers, and other freelance creatives are everywhere. They contribute to the blogs you read at your desk each day (you know, during that time you’re too busy to write). Apart from these content mercenaries, there are entire agencies and technologies like Uberflip built around content.
On the flip side, there are also people on Fiverr,
plagiarizing speed-writing content for a quick payday. If you’re combing through freelancers, be sure to request a writing sample. Run it through a plagiarism scanner like Grammarly or Quetext to be safe. While you’re at it, you’ll also want to check for duplicate content in order to protect your SEO. You can find tools for that here.
Sometimes you need to spend money to make money – everyone knows that. Dip your toe in the pool and hire a freelance writer to produce three pieces of content. Plug those into your marketing engine and see what happens. Consider it an investment.
It sounds great, I know. But there are still the clients who say, “I just don’t have the time to bring someone in. Even if I did, they wouldn’t have a professional understanding of our product.”
You’re right, but…
THAT’S NO EXCUSE!
A freelancer won’t have your level of industry knowledge. You’ll need to be involved, but it doesn’t need to be time consuming.
Take just a few hours and film yourself talking about anything and everything related to your campaign. All you need is a mic, a tripod, a light, and a nice room. Don’t stop for mistakes or long silences, hit record and let the camera roll for one giant take.
When you’re done you can go in any direction. Cut it up into a video series. Drop the visual and it’s an audio series. Hand it to a writer and your a transcription away from an article series. All this from one afternoon spent talking to yourself.
Maybe that’s still too much to ask. The recording equipment is out of budget and a free afternoon is hard to come by.
I get it, but…
THAT’S NO EXCUSE!
Look at someone like Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s wildly busy, yet he produces more content than anyone. That’s because half of his videos are short and sweet, recorded on an iPhone in the back of a car or walking down the street. He’s not producing a film, he’s producing content. As long as the video provides clear value to your audience, it doesn’t matter whether it’s rehearsed and edited or live and raw.
I think I’ve made a convincing argument, but some people are bad on camera. Some people aren’t great with words. And some people still don’t have time!
I CAN GO ALL DAY! THAT’S NO EXCUSE!
What if I told you you were one email away from premium content? No freelancers, no cameras, no audio recordings – just an email.
Remember that customer who raved about your product? The service you provided really took them to the next level. They couldn’t wait to spread the word.
Testimonials are marketing gold, promoting social proof and affirmation. Reach out to your closest customers and supporters and ask for a personal case study or review. If you’ve prioritized customer relationships, this should be no problem. In other cases, you can always sweeten the deal by offering exposure, including their logo on campaign collateral. It’s a win/win.
Maybe you already have testimonials on your website? In that case, you’ve been sitting on content this whole time. Try snapping out of the content production mindset and turn your attention to leveraging the content you have on landing pages, product pages, etc.
THERE YOU GO
It’s simple. Content marketing relies on content. Consider it the key to firing up your content marketing machine. Consider it the key to unlocking brand awareness, domain authority, thought leadership, and all the other buzzwords. It’s a priority, and it should be treated as such. I’m not telling you to bang off an eBook, I’m asking you to produce something and give content marketing a chance. There are no excuses.