When we first speak to someone about content marketing, there are plenty of folks who ask, in essence, why? Why expend so much effort to create quality content? Why focus on your own website? Why turn to content instead of advertising and other marketing disciplines?
And here’s the whole point: The goal of every content strategy should be to dominate your industry conversation. I said dominate. Be the 2,000 pound gorilla. Become the go-to information source. If that is not the goal, it probably doesn’t make sense to even try to play the content game.
When I say dominate, I don’t mean that in an eviscerate-the-competition kind of way. I don’t mean you should be throwing grenades at the competition on your website, saying that your service is great and that theirs’ is terrible (in fact, if anything, you should be complimentary towards them, demonstrating that you are so far above the fray that mentioning them causes you no pain).
No, what it means is that the media that covers your industry is ready to be overtaken. As you may have heard, the news media is struggling. Newsroom staffs are being slashed. Senior reporters and editors are being pushed out, leaving behind less-seasoned reporting staff with diminished industry knowledge. And while information sources shrink, the audience is craving more information. Your organization is (conceivably) in a perfect position to deliver this information. If your organization is successful, it’s at least due in part to really knowing your business. Your workforce has tremendous knowledge waiting to be tapped. If you’re successful, I guarantee that your staff knows more about your industry than the media source that everyone considers the go-to source.
You know more than they do.
And, as the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi wrote this past weekend, your company is probably far better positioned than most traditional media companies to support the production of great content.
All you have to do is commit to a content strategy, and then execute. To execute well, you need to be prolific, agile and audience-centric. And you need to adopt journalistic principles, talking about trends and emerging storylines in the industry, not just what’s happening within the walls of your company.
So, why do it?
Because being the force that drives the industry conversation forward is the best possible position. This is the preference marketing era, so customers now hold most of the cards. They buy from brands they trust. Advertising cannot build trust, because most audience members do not see it as trustworthy. Entertaining, yes; attention-getting, yes. But not trustworthy.
And in 2013, trust is mandatory before the sale takes place.
So get ready to dominate the information flow in your industry, and launch your content strategy.