I originally published this article on LinkedIn Pulse, but felt it was good enough to reprint here as well. Let me know what you think!
There are dozens of different metrics you can track to put some science behind the art of modern marketing, and there are hundreds of different apps and web tools designed to provide the what, the who, the where and when for every type of digital marketing there is, and for every industry.
There are also millions of professionals (like me) who are willing and able to tell youhow to use all that information and all those tools to accomplish your marketing goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.
But there’s a part of the equation that’s all too often lacking in modern marketing, and that’s the why.
You see, sometimes we all get so caught up in doing what has to get done, we forget why we’re doing it. And that can lead to a lot of wasted effort, failed projects, and squandered resources.
The Why of Content
As a perfect case in point, take the creation of brand content.
Everyone’s doing it now, and for good reason. It works. It’s important for branding, for visibility, for educating the buyer and helping guide their decision making process.
So, over the last few years pretty much every company, large and small, has started investing time and money into creating content.
Sure, all those reasons I just listed are valid. But are those really the reasons behind this huge surge in content creation?
Unfortunately, no. At least not all the time.
In many cases, companies are jumping head first into content creation just to keep up with the competition. They look at their rival’s website, then they look at their own, and they realize, “his is bigger than mine.” And any male reading this knowsthat doesn’t feel good.
So they start sinking money into creating content in order to fill that apparent void. To feel better about themselves, and to ease this vaguely-defined ache inside that’s confirming a closely held opinion about themselves that they’ve never been able to shake:
The fear that they’re inadequate.
The Limp Truth About Male Enhancement
If you dare, take a break from reading and open up your email’s spam folder. I can almost guarantee you’ll find at least one if not dozens of emails advertising penis enlargement.
What an incredibly odd and relatively disturbing thing to be bombarded with on a daily basis. And yet, my marketing mind is telling me – accurately, I’m sure – that they wouldn’t keep sending those emails out if they weren’t making money doing it.
Do the pills or machines or exercises or whatever they’re selling actually work?
Who knows. I’ve never tried. But I have to imagine any positive effect is minimal and temporary or it would be a much more mainstream product.
You see, these sleazy little ads are successful because they appeal to the vain and insecure part of every man. The part that worries that we’re not good enough, not big enough, not strong enough to satisfy.
And it’s that same vain and insecure feeling that is driving so much ill-conceived content creation these days. Just like those pills advertised in those spam emails, though, the actual results of this content are often minimal and temporary.
But just putting it out there can give a business owner – male or female – a false sense of security and pride because they feel like they’re doing the right thing to carve out their place in the industry. They feel like they’re getting bigger so next time they compare themselves to “the other guy”, they don’t have to be embarrassed.
There’s a better way.
Finding Your Why of Content Marketing
There are very clear and valuable reasons why your company should be producing content. There are logical and supportable reasons why a given type of content, tone of delivery, distribution method, and any other component of your content strategy is the right choice for your company at this time.
But you’re not going to figure that out by coming at content marketing as a “me too” necessity.
To understand the “why” of content marketing for your unique brand, you need to start with the most important person in your entire organization: your customer.
You need to learn what she wants and needs to know before she can make a comfortable buying decision. You need to discover where she’s most likely to go for that information, and how she prefers to take it in.
Put simply, you need to understand your customer inside and out, and then you need to develop your entire content strategy around providing that individual with the most valuable, helpful, and interesting content you can come up with to satisfy her wants and needs.
That’s your why.
With that as the basis of your strategy, you’ll have the length of vision, the girth of reputation, and the longevity of experience to satisfy the most demanding of customers.
And you’ll find other, less secure, members of the competition doing their best to catch up with you.