I hate to tell you this, but there’s a good chance you’ve got content marketing backwards. You see, there are two common views when it comes to the big CM:
1. Content Is King — All Else Will Follow. The people in this camp believe if you create it, “they” will come… although these people are a little fuzzy on exactly who “they” are or why “they” want to read all that content. But those are just details. The important part is creating content and creating lots of it.
2. Marketing Is All About Sales. The people in this camp view content marketing as a means to an end—it’s all about the sale! Rather than trying to deliver genuine value and authentic relationships, they focus on analyzing things like “propensity to buy.” For this crowd, every piece of content is all about sales and should lead directly to conversions.
If This is You, Don’t Feel Bad — You’re Not Alone
I’ve read many, many, many (…) posts arguing for each of these positions. At this point the mantra “Content is King” is so common that most marketers automatically roll their eyes whenever they hear it, and business people everywhere are certain that the best way to grow sales is to create content that sells.
And here’s the thing: both camps have a few things right; but they also each have certain things about content marketing backwards.
You see, content just for content’s sake will never be worth the time it takes to write it. Content marketing should have goals. You need a strategy.
Yet, if you think every piece of content you create needs to lead directly to a sale, well… you’re missing out. That approach will led you to miss drawing in potential customers at the very start of their buying journey, when they are perhaps most impressionable.
Instead, you need a solid understanding of who your target customer is — and then you need to create the kind of content they want to read, whether it’s directly related to sales or not. That allows you to create a captive audience, one that wants to hear what you have to say, so that when you do share the occasional sales-related post, they’re open to it.
Heck, if you’ve created your products with them properly in mind, they may even want to buy.