Content Marketing isn’t anything new. It has existed long before the internet or the digital revolution.
What may have been different is how Content Marketing was represented and what type of content was created.
From 1704 at the beginning of the Advertisement era to 2000, content was created for one singular purpose, and that was to sell. It was used to show a potential customer the benefits of a particular product or service, in an effort to convince them to buy.
At a time when the distribution of content was limited and content only came from 3-5 sources, customers anxiously paid attention to every word, jingle, and picture that came from an ad.
Today this isn’t the case.
Now we are constantly bombarded with content from every medium. From Facebook to Instagram and other Social Media platforms, TV, radio, pop ups, banner ads, pre-roll YouTube ads, and that’s just from the millions of businesses that exist around the world.
We haven’t even begun to talk about the fitness and bikini buffs of Instagram, or the new baby pictures and vacation photos from family and friends.
The point is that content is everywhere, it’s overwhelming, and customers have become numb to sales pitches.
But Why Is It Bad for Business?
As a business, trying to reach your potential customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors should be one of your primary goals.
The challenge is, when doing what everyone else does, which is only creating content to pitch your offer, you fall into the bucket of ‘another snake oil salesman’. Also, you risk being overshadowed by a competitor that has more marketing dollars to spend, more resources, and stronger brand recognition.
Here’s how both negatively affect your business.
1. Your Customers Don’t Trust You
In business trust is the most important aspect of any transaction, if someone trusts you they’ll do business with you.
Over the years customers have becoming skeptical of businesses as they realize most are only focused on making money rather than servicing their needs.
Things such as not delivering on product expectations, terrible customer support after purchase, and immoral and unethical business practices.
It’s like someone who has been cheated on several times in one relationship or one time in several relationships, after awhile it becomes almost impossible for that person to trust the words of anyone who walks into their lives.
Customers see it the same way.
Therefore, if all you’re doing is pitching, even if your intentions are well meaning, regardless you will fall into the category of every other business that they don’t trust.
If they don’t trust you, they don’t do business with you, therefore you don’t make money.
Do you see the domino effect this creates?
Nothing is wrong with selling, because you’re in business to make money. The problem is when your content is only focused on selling.
The important thing here is to find a way to differentiate yourself from what every other business is doing. One of those ways is by finding a balance with your content.
Decrease the amount of sales materials and content you have focused on selling. Instead create content that is helpful and useful to your potential customers, even without the expectation of an immediate sale.
One person that exemplifies this better than anyone else I’ve come across on the internet is Neil Patel.
Type in the phrase ‘Online Marketing’ and Neil ranks number one with his company Quick Sprout, and number two with his personal brand website NeilPatel.com.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough…
He is a New York Times best selling author. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top Influencer on the web. Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
However, with all the accolades and accomplishments Neil has that isn’t why I’m using him as an example. I’m using him because no one understands more about building trust online than Neil (at least in my opinion).
Neil doesn’t try to sell with his content, as a matter of fact he gives it all away for free. Yet he signs US Multi-million Dollar contracts from Fortune 500 companies all the time.
Why? Because people trust him as an expert at what he does.
He built this trust over time through providing helpful and useful content to his audience on how to grow their business using several Online Marketing tactics and strategies knowing that 99% of his audience would never become a client of his.
In that way he has been able to differentiate himself from his competitors and outranks them all.
When you give value first that helps your potential customers, it differentiates you, and positions you as the go-to person they can trust to always help them solve their problems, and service their needs.
2. You Can’t Beat a Better Team Playing by Their Game
Undoubtedly, you should know the name Michael Jordon, you know the greatest basketball player of his era (debatably of all time).
Michael Jordon has been known to do the incredible and win the impossible time and again on the court. In the world of basketball this was his game, this was his domain.
However, when he transitioned to try his hand at playing baseball he was a complete flop. He failed miserably. No one will ever remember him for being great at anything other than basketball.
You have to see your marketplace the same way.
You can’t play the same game as your competitors, more so if they are better than you at playing the game. You have to differentiate yourself.
When I say better in this sense, it doesn’t mean they have better products/services than you do.
Better here could mean they can afford better resources such as more skilled workers. Better could also mean they have better systems in place or are better established in the marketplace.
If you don’t have the capital to play at the level of your competitors you’re going to fail going up against them, no matter how good you are at what you do.
The key here is learning to play a different game, one that you can control and you can ultimately dominate.
Take for example Amazon. According to Statista Amazon did US$178 Billion in revenue in 2017 versus US$135.99 Billion in 2016, and worth of close to US$1 Trillion currently. They generate more revenue than the largest retail chains combined.
Amazon wasn’t the first retailer to sell a product, but they were one of the first to do so successfully online. They didn’t try to play the game of traditional retailers by setting up brick-n-mortar stores all across the world. They decided to play their own game, and dominate.
Think of your content and business the same way.
Instead of playing the game of pitch and sell, and thinking you don’t have the marketing dollars to compete, take a different approach from what everyone else is doing in the market. Provide value first through content (which no one does), that eventually will lead to the sale.
My Final Thoughts
To be successful in today’s very crowded marketplace means being able to differentiate yourself from what everyone else is doing.
If your content is focused only on selling then you’re just another small fish in the large sea of businesses out there.