For about a decade, I was a journalist.
I covered every imaginable area, from business and health to education, politics and literature. I wrote news stories, features and opinion pieces, and for several years edited other people too. Online stats showed I was pretty well read.
So when I finally decided to make a career shift, and move into marketing (or more accurately, back into marketing, because that’s where I’d started), I thought it was going to be pretty straightforward.
After all, so much of marketing nowadays is about writing, particularly online. Content marketing – the idea that you can attract new leads and build relationships with them by creating and distributing valuable content – was crazy hot, and still is.
All you have to do is continually generate well-written pieces about your area of expertise, and your company wins new clients, right?
I can do that in my sleep!
Well, turns out that’s a misconception lots of companies have.
All across the Internet, companies are churning out content like nobody’s business – blog posts, emails, LinkedIn posts, eBooks, guides, webinars and podcasts.
Some of them are even pretty good, containing really valuable tips, important insights and interesting arguments.
Yet so few of them result in sales!
If that’s the case in your business, you’re probably puzzled. After all, you’re producing quality. You’re publishing more than your competitors. Maybe you get occasional engagement. You are certainly more visible than you would be otherwise.
So why does it all feel so tenuous? Why, whenever anyone asks you what impact the content has had on your company, do you squirm a little? At the back of your mind, there’s a little voice wondering whether it’s all a waste of your time.
Here’s the issue, which took me a while to learn (….but hopefully you’ll learn quicker).
There is a big difference between “content” —- and “content marketing”.
The former is just about writing good, informative pieces about whatever your company happens to do. Your readers might really enjoy these pieces; they might believe you’re an expert; but they don’t fundamentally change their behaviour in any way.
Just like news, today’s blog post is tomorrow’s fish wrap (metaphorically speaking….).
The latter is about content that slowly builds the case for your readers to work with you, or pick your product.
These pieces, written over months or years, are written strategically to persuade your audience that they want and need your product or service; that you are best placed to deliver it; and to make them more receptive, whenever you make an offer.
It’s not just “content”. It’s content that changes feelings, thoughts and behaviour.
And that’s completely different.
Now, there is a key to producing the kind of content that actually moves your business along. It’s about asking yourself one really critical question before you sit down and write. Find out about that HERE.