The limits of content marketing
Lately, we’ve been hearing and reading about the increase of content marketing. So, let’s take a look at its limitations and explore why it’s not the be-all and end-all for small businesses.
First, what are we talking about? Wikipedia defines it like this: “An umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.”
The definition is a good place to begin an overview.
I can think of many different examples of content marketing. Perhaps you blog on a regular basis for your company website or e-newsletter. Maybe you own a landscaping outfit that produces short videos on how to maintain your lawn, or you own a beauty salon that offers how-to videos about various hair products on a blog.
Then, there are podcasts, interviews, guest posts from industry experts, longer-form white papers and hybrid mixes of different types of content.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Why even consider the concept of content marketing? Because traditional marketing is not as effective as it was in the past. Consumers record TV shows and frequently skip the commercials, save for the Super Bowl (hence the multimillion-dollar price tag for a 30-second spot).
People aren’t reading as many newspapers anymore. Banner ads on websites are beyond ineffective; that’s why they cost so little. Yes, people will listen to or view ads on free music sites like Pandora, but are they willing to act on them?
By generating interest content for your site, you’re marketing without really marketing. You’re attempting to educate your customers and prospective customers. With that knowledge, you hope that they’ll opt to buy more of your products and services.
So the theory goes.
I can think of many limitations of content marketing, but perhaps the most significant is competition. The amount of content on the web is nothing less than staggering these days. For instance, let’s say that your beauty salon wants to generate some videos, blog posts and the like. You spend a bunch of time and money on some slick videos and pay professional writers (like me). You expect massive traffic and, by extension, business. But you hear crickets. Why?
There are already many well-read beauty blogs. The word saturation easily comes to mind.
Don’t believe me? Click here to see an assortment of the best ones. Those expecting an immediate ROI on content marketing are going to be disappointed.
So, what do I recommend to my small business clients? Take a balanced approach to marketing for your small business. Yes, generate content and make sure to get the word out on your latest contributions via social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But don’t stop there. Balance your “computer time” with your “real world time.” Go to conferences, mixers and industry events. Network. Meet people – real people. That way, your company can become not just another Twitter handle or website. I’ll bet that you’ll find the time and expense well worth it.