People like to say that the Internet has changed everything in marketing. No so. What the Internet has done is create new channels to access customers and other target audiences. Is direct email really all that different than direct snail mail? Is buying a banner ad that different than buying a billboard? In either case, you’re trying to get your message, your brand, in front of the right eyeballs based on traffic statistics.
Yes, in the world of inbound marketing, content marketing, whatever you want to call it, it is all about content. But it has always been about content. Marketers have been carpet bombing potential customers for the better part of a century or two. Content alone is undifferentiated. I is really about whether anyone wants to hear what you have to say. This begs the question, is your content any good?
In the days before social media and web publishing, the traditional media like trade magazines and other print publications were the gatekeepers of content. Those of us in marketing would often hire PR firms to help us get “ink” in these channels to get our stories told. Trust me, your story had to be good to get published. Most companies sent out self-congratulatory press releases and wonder why they don’t get picked up. It’s because a company telling the world “look at us, we’re great,” isn’t news. You needed a story. Good PR firms could help you create stories around your company and products that made it interesting, valuable and relevant to readers. In other words, they created quality content.
We still have to do the same thing. Was it hard to break through to the media in those days? You bet. Is it easier to get your message out today? Well, it might be easier to get your message out. But that doesn’t mean that your content is getting read. In many ways, it is even harder to get noticed now. Yes, you can take your story directly online with Twitter, Facebook and the like, but so can everyone else. So if you really want to get your message read and shared, it had better be good.
Quality content in the B2B world is even more critical. You might be able to trick a consumer into buying a commodity online. People may buy a low cost trinket because of the picture or the price. Businesses, especially businesses buying big-ticket items with longer sales cycles, will not be tricked or lured into an impulsive purchase. To get their attention, you have to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and give them valuable information. Tell them something that is new, better or emerging in your industry. Educate. Inform. Give them news and information that they will want to read and share. If it is valuable enough to convince them to surrender their email address, even better.
Quality content takes work. You have to know the language of your customers and how they articulate their problems. You have to research and articulate solutions that they might not have heard of. You have to be a good writer.
See, the Internet hasn’t changed the basics of marketing. Content alone isn’t king. Quality content is king. It always has been.
If you want to learn more you can download the Alaniz Guide to Driving Website Traffic, Leads and Sales, leave a comment or question, or shoot me an email.