Getting and keeping customers with content beats crappy ads, word-of-mouth and telepathy every time. But should you focus on quality or quantity?
Are you trying to attract and retain customers or clients or patients or fans or sponsors or patrons or influencers or partners or employees or investors (organically OR within the context of an ad) by using any of the following:
- guest posts
- white papers
- research reports
- case studies
- email newsletters
- print newsletters
- print magazines
- digital magazines
- slide decks
- branded content tools
- mobile apps
- in-person events
- virtual conferences
If ‘yes’ then you are doing what marketers call content marketing.
If ‘no’ then I’m guessing that 100% of your business comes as a result of some combination of:
- Expensive, ‘content-free’, ‘BUY MY CRAP NOW’ advertising
- Word-out-mouth referrals
- Or, you’ve mastered the art of telepathy. (In which case please contact me privately to discuss over dinner – on me.)
The Content Marketing Institute have a good definition:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
While the term ‘content marketing’ is relatively new, the practise goes back more than a hundred years.
The question is, does it work and should you bother?
Assuming your business is not thriving entirely on expensive crappy ads, word-of-mouth and telepathy then you don’t have much choice.
Do it or die.
Producing content is one thing. Getting it in front of your desired audience is another matter altogether.
Over the last 7 years, the number of Google indexed pages across the web has grown from 1 trillion to 30 trillion.
Cutting through the noise is hard and getting harder by the day.
How much content should we be producing? How high in quality should it be?
Should we prioritise quantity or quality?
The conventional wisdom among serious marketers has been that quality wins. Higher quality ultimately wins out over higher quantity. Fewer but better is best.
Steve Rayson argued persuasively last week however that quantity trumps quality for eyeballs and shares.
If your goal is eyeballs (web traffic and page views) then focus on producing and distributing as much content as you can afford. Subject to a minimum quality threshold. This would apply to businesses that rely on advertising or sponsorship.
An unexpected insight by Steve was that low quality can result in high shares. But to make this work, you need to produce really high volumes of content. This is because although the average level of shares is lower for lower quality content, the very highest levels of shares are by a small proportion of low quality content!
What does that mean?
Well, if lots of shares of your content is the goal and it should be if eyeballs are your priority then quantity is more important to you than quality.
On the other hand, if making a deeper connection with your audience is your goal. If earning trust and building credibility with your audience is necessary for you then higher quality content is more important that quantity.
The hard truth however is that either direction is a big commitment. Even if you produce all your own content and you do not use paid media (ads) to distribute it, your costs will be significant in terms of time and effort. This is the case whether your goal is either:
- High quantities of good-enough quality content, or
- High quality content in high-enough quantities.
You are measuring the ROI of your content marketing right? (If not you have bigger problems.)
The bottom-line is that making content marketing work requires a significant outlay in terms of time, effort and/or money. It can and does work however for many startups and businesses.
But … we need clear goals. We need to be fully and fairly measuring ROI. The success of our business may well depend on it. But we have to accept that content marketing doesn’t usually produce fast or cheap results.
The question is do you have the smarts and the balls to see it through?
If not, it maybe best not to bother at all.
Content Marketing Done Well
Starbucks have recently launched a collection of original (emotional) short stories, films and podcasts. By featuring ordinary people doing extraordinary things they aim to bolster their connection with customers and prospective customers. Smart.
The Fintech Honeymoon Is Over
Easy money is no more and banks are beginning to get the hang of what fintech is about. René Lacerte (CEO, Bill.com) believes these three things are what fintech startups need to prioritise 1) Double-down on compliance to instil trust with customers, 2) Partner rather than compete with banks where possible to speed access to market, 3) My favourite: It’s not about building tech but building relationships with customers that matters most. That requires trust and a compelling customer experience.
Winning At Enterprise Sales
Anand Chopra-McGowan (of General Assembly, Head of EMEA) shares his top 3 tactics to winning enterprise sales: 1) Lead with insight and direction, 2) Develop an objective, data-driven qualification model and apply it ruthlessly, 3) Add boosters to each buyer interaction. Some great points for any B2B startup.
VC Economics Defined
Scott Kupor, Andreesson Horowitz, gets back to the basic mechanics of how VC works. Excellent primer for startup founders who may or may not go for VC money.
VC Returns Defined
Too Much Money
Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley “talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about life as a venture capitalist and why he’s still worried about a bubble, a topic he has written about extensively. Great entrepreneurs could raise money at any time, Gurley argues, but when funding is easy to come by, it invites in entitled and less talented startup founders“. When Bill speaks, we listen. [PODCAST]
Disrupting the Disruptors
What do millennials want from financial providers? Penny Crosman at American Banker discusses 10 ways banks can learn from what Venmo and other fintechs are doing. 1) Treat Millennials as the early adopters they are, 2) Millennials want your solution to work fast, 3) Network effects will help you so long as your customer experience keeps ahead of the competition, 4) Millennials love the so-called sharing economy and what it stands for. Work with the grain. 5) Security is a top-priority. Showing that peers are fine with it goes a long way. 6) Millennials are more inclined to trust an app, even with location data, 7) 90% of Millennials want to get into a healthy savings habit. 8) They’re more open to trying new things. 9) They response to a well designed user-experience. Especially mobile. 10) They are drawn to companies that are purpose-driven as well as money making.
Payments Over Facebook Messenger
Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus announced this week that we’ll soon be able to buy things directly from within Messenger. This has huge implications for us as users, retailers and the fintech industry as a whole. Watch this space.
Closing The Jobs Gap
Goldman Sachs: “Closing the jobs gap requires a new approach to risk-sharing, one that spreads the burden of investing in human capital more broadly. This risk-sharing approach should include a greater educational focus on social skills, creativity and judgment, not only STEM subjects; …innovative financing structures to support investments in human capital and career transitions; lower barriers to entry into certain professions; increased support for small-business creation; and regulation that supports the growth of the ‘freelance economy.’”. Long but excellent. [RESEARCH PAPER]
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