Oct 31, 2013

Love Your Content, Love Your Brand

The formula for an effective marketing program is straightforward:

  1. Clear positioning: In the language of your customers clearly express who your company is, what it does and who it serves.
  2. Content marketing: Publish content on a regular basis to build relationships and stay top of mind.
  3. Path of search: Optimize your website and marketing programs so your brand is considered first when a customer has a need.

When you break apart most companies’ marketing initiatives you will find all three elements in play: an elevator pitch; an email newsletter, social media program or some other ongoing communication activity; and a website that hopefully ranks well in search.

The formula is well understood, but the results vary widely. The difference from one firm’s brand to the next is the care and craftsmanship they apply to their business and their marketing.

Impact takes effort

Interesting, engaging and well written newsletters are anomalies. Most get lost in the spam folder, because the company has nothing interesting to share.

Great content takes time and talent. Anything less, and the content comes off as marketing fodder that clogs up inboxes.

I have been producing an email newsletter and blog since 2004. My posts take between two to eight hours to write, edit and ship. For example, my Sticky Branding Stories articles take between six to eight hours to produce:

  • 1 hour to interview the CEO of a mid-size company, and consolidate my notes.
  • 2.5 to 4 hours to write the article. I find these articles challenging, because I’m sharing someone else’s story.
  • 1 hour to proofread and edit. In addition, I have two other people who edit all of my content.
  • 1 hour to find an appropriate image, and edit it for the post.
  • 30 minutes to setup the article for publishing.
  • 30 minutes to promote the article on social media channels once it’s live.

It’s a laborious process, but one I take a great deal of pride in. I want each article to make an impact, honor the brand I’m featuring, and bring value to my audience.

You can’t outsource love

Great content and marketing is a source of pride. If all you’re doing is producing content for sales leads, then you can take shortcuts and publish average stuff.

Companies outsource the things they don’t like to do or want to do. And you can usually spot the companies who outsource their marketing and content production to third-party providers. An Inbound Marketing firm may be able to create content that tracks well in Google, but the content lacks soul.

When you find really compelling content — articles, videos, Facebook Pages, Prezzies — you can spot the energy and passion of the author. Their interest and excitement in the topic rings through in their content, and it makes it even more engaging and worthwhile.

The companies who stand out take ownership for their marketing and their content. They invest in it, nurture it and support it. The work is a reflection of who they are and how they approach their brand.

Energy and soul is hard to achieve with outsourced content. You create amazing content and brand experiences when you own them.

Be the anomaly

Is it cost effective to invest eight hours in a weekly article? Well, that depends. How much do you love your brand and your content?

I couldn’t imagine investing any less time in my content. This is who I am and what I do. And I can justify the effort, because I see the results in my sales funnel. The phone rings with new opportunities, my sales cycle is fast and efficient, and I have the opportunity to work with the kind of companies I want to work with.

But even if the sales numbers weren’t there, I’d still invest the same effort in my content. It’s something I care about.

The formula for delivering your marketing is universal. But the variance in results and outcomes is a reflection of how you approach your marketing.

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