Content marketing is front and center in today’s information-hungry world. Content – helpful, relevant information that reaches the right customer at the right time – is a tremendous way to improve search visibility, influence buyers, build a brand-loyal community and generate leads.
However, there’s a nasty case of denial out there keeping people stuck.
To produce, publish and promote useful information that real people want to engage with takes an enormous, customer/employee-centric commitment that many are unable or unwilling to embrace.
I speak to people often who agree they need to be engaging customers online but aren’t quite ready to commit to a real content strategy that will get them to the finish line.
The ‘not quite ready’ approach is common. It’s similar to looking in the mirror one day and saying, “Wow, I need to get in shape!” At that point, it’s only an observation. Beyond that is making the decision and taking action. A vast majority never make it beyond observation.
Content Marketing may not be a solution for you.
We’ve all bought things we couldn’t live without. I’ve got some really bad outfits in my closet that, at the time, seemed super cool. But after a few weeks of staring at the tags still on them, I realized, “What was I thinking?”
Content marketing is not an impulse purchase.
Never jump into content marketing, and especially social media, just because you think you need to do it. Having doubts may mean it’s not right for you.
Many people jump into content/social media and eventually realize there are too many obstacles. Everyone must determine if content marketing is right for them.
Sometimes, doing the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing.
12 Signs Your Company is NOT Ready for Content Marketing
Signs are good. They guide us to make the right decisions.
1. Your culture is not ready for prime time.
For years, some companies have been successful without a lot of focus on culture. Today, customers want to know more about the companies they buy from and some of those cultures are not ready for the social media klieg light.
If your culture lacks an authentically positive, customer/employee-centric culture, the company is likely not ready to reveal itself online.
2. You don’t have a company blog.
Fact: it’s difficult to do content marketing without content.
3. You have a company blog but the content is written for search engines…not humans.
Fact: No one will read your content if it sucks.
I’ve seen more than too many “company blogs” filled with keyword-stuffed drivel that’s intended to game search rankings.
NEWSFLASH: You’re doing it wrong! Google has reiterated the dangers of this tactic (but it hasn’t stopped shady vendors from continuing to sell it).
4. You don’t have resources to publish on a regular basis.
It’s true that consistent, relevant content requires resources. For smaller companies and solo-preneurs, it may not be possible to devote efforts to producing your own articles, images or videos.
But don’t discount the value of content altogether. You can still use your personal social channels to share other people’s relevant content with your network. Connecting with prospects via helpful information is far better than a spammy email.
5. There’s no real buy-in from owners or management.
Fact: Without buy-in from the boss, your success has a ceiling.
Some frustrated marketers and salespeople complain about buy-in but until they confront the issue, change is unlikely.
6. You’re uncomfortable interacting with consumers online.
Within many companies there still lies a lack of comfort when engaging customers online. However, the data shows that more consumers prefer to engage with brands online, especially if they’ve seen some helpful content and want more information.
7. You have no one to produce, manage and promote content.
This is a big hurdle for many companies. The new model of marketing and advertising is weighted more heavily on human resources.
While it’s ideal to employ a quality candidate in-house, there are a handful of viable solutions with outsourcing. But in all cases, a solid content strategy and process is requisite.
8. Your salespeople are not trained to engage online customers.
A company’s online reputation traverses all aspects of the business, which includes employees. Setting untrained salespeople loose on the Internet is never a good tactic (as if I you didn’t know that already).
Every bit of content a company publishes, including things said by salespeople, either reinforces or weakens your online reputation.
9. You have no clear content plan.
Content marketing is not solely about creating and producing content. A strategic plan is needed to define…
- When and where you’ll publish content
- How you’ll promote your content
- Where to place your resources to get the best results
- What types of content you’ll publish
- How you’ll measure and analyze results
- Who will manage it and how to plan for accountability
10. Storytelling is not one of your strengths.
Content marketing is an integrated approach to content creation, SEO, social media marketing, and influencer and customer engagement, but this is far too often where the ‘story’ ends, and it takes your brand—and its story—with it.
Storytelling is not intended to be a selling tool (although it may lead to sales). Telling stories about customer experience (through video, images or written) builds strong relationships with your customers and a thriving community of loyalists over time.
11. You don’t track how much of your content gets consumed and which does best.
Tracking, measuring and analyzing content marketing continues to be a struggle for many companies. In fact, it’s one of the driving factors in slow adoption or abandoning it altogether.
“We didn’t see it working for us.” is a common response. Just as common though is not using the right metrics to measure success.
Not having good data to guide decisions is like trying to reach shore in a rudderless ship.
12. You don’t monitor your competitor’s content.
If you want to win – whether that’s winning a war or winning over a customer – you need to know who you’re up against.
With the tools available today, it’s never been easier to monitor your competitor’s website, content and social media. What you learn provides insights to improve your own content marketing efforts.
There are huge advantages to content marketing, including increased search visibility, customer engagement and revenue. These 12 signs will help you carefully consider whether or not the current company structure is ready…and what to do about it if it’s not.