A marketing shift is upon us, possibly stemming from the great 2020/21 disruption. Seasoned marketing professionals like John Jantsch and Troy Dunn have drawn the same conclusions: creating educational and interesting content in the form of articles, videos, and podcasts isn’t optional. It must be top priority. If you are searching for an alternative to content marketing, you’ll be disrupted soon enough.
In an interview on The Justin Brady Show, Dunn went as far to say a new role should be created within organizations that want to stay competitive in 2021 and beyond: A Chief Content Officer. Jantsch explained that marketing should be expanded to not only gain customers, but a company’s head marketing person should actually be in charge of customer service, and operations, focused on what he called retention content.
If you aren’t creating a budget for content marketing via educational podcasts, articles, and videos. You’re shooting yourself in the foot. There is no alternative to content marketing.
Advertising is having a tough time
Advertising will never be obsolete, but it’s quickly becoming a very expensive and ineffective option compared to content strategy. Facebook, Apple, and Google are locked in a battle to control advertising revenue as they attempt to disable each other’s tracking tools. There’s also a big movement to escape big tech tracking with more people using VPNs, even before the work from home revolution. In addition, ads today are only clicked on 0.5% of the time. Traditionally, the only alternative to content marketing was ads. But that road is increasingly difficult and costly. But there’s one thing all customers, across the world to engage with. Educational and informative content.
“I watch these companies, especially tech companies and startups, and they’ve gone out and they’ve raised some money. They take a giant chunk of it , and then hand it off to somebody who says they’re going to go out and advertise for them.” Dunn told me. “And so much of that goes down the toilet when, for a fraction of that, they could have created a system in-house to generate rich content, and then done millions and millions of dollars of media they didn’t have to pay for.”
There’s a reason companies don’t generate rich content. They don’t believe they have stories to tell and great content takes a lot of work to do correctly. While it’s true it takes a lot of work, it’s likely false your company doesn’t have a great story to tell.
Elite media training sign up!
FYI: Troy Dunn has allowed my audience to be first in line for his next mastermind course. In his retreat-style course, you’ll meet other communicators, entrepreneurs, business folks, and get personal coaching from Troy.
Fill in this form to be put on the notification list.
How to find great content ideas
To find great content ideas in your organization, you need to train your staff to start listening to customer inquiries and comments. Your marketing and content team can then turn those insights into relevant content for prospects and potential customers.
When I took on a new client years ago they were writing simple updates that read like a boring press release about attending various trade shows. This was the extent of their content strategy. While they should be applauded for keeping their website current, giving them a fighting chance in various search engines, their traffic had plateaued. Today, they have a long list of published content ideas that return organic traffic every day.
We did it by asking every employee what they know that customers should know. Then we gave them support to help them edit and write their ideas. Not everyone is a writer, but most employees do have great ideas, and if you implement the notebook method, you’ll collect a lot o fantastic ideas on your own. It took time to get buy-in, but to date we have over 20 employees from various departments that have contributed to the website. For my step-by-step process check out my report on how to create content for your brand.
It will require your time, however. Outsourcing your content strategy isn’t really a viable option.
Content strategy is simple, but not easy
When thinking of a time-friendly alternative to content marketing, you might be tempted to outsource it to an agency. While an agency can be helpful with strategy and execution, a great agency will tell you they can’t write it for you because they are not the experts. You should never hire an agency to write content.
Effective content strategy plans work when they answer difficult questions prospects are looking for. Your professionals in your company, especially those who have been with the company for a while or have a particular set of skills are qualified to answer detailed questions and provide advice. An agency though will only write filler and fluff.
Who’s the person in your company everyone goes to for perspective and expertise? Can a marketing agency provide better insight than this individual? The answer is no. An agency may be able to write a lot of content, but none of it is sought-after, so it serves no purpose. Great content that converts browsers into buyers is written by industry pros. Period.
Next steps – content marketing in 2021
If you trust professionals like Troy Dunn and John Jantsch, it’s time to focus and execute on your content strategy. It’s not too late if you start this month, but if you wait until next year you will watch your rankings dip until you cease to exist online. (And if you cease to exist online, you cease to exist in real life.)
Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to get on my PR and comms newsletter for entrepreneurs and emerging tech folks. It’s free and I’ll send a PDF guide to get you more press exposure in just 10 days.
Just remember, the only alternative to content marketing is death.