Content marketing is an incredibly hot topic right now with virtually every company on the planet. This is especially true for B2B and professional service organizations for whom traditional mass-media, such as television, radio and newsprint formats, are out of reach either because of budgets or because of targeting.
A content glut has obfuscated that which is really good counsel from that which is merely noise. This has made it very difficult for professional service firms to rise above the din and realize the engagement they desire for their ideas. I hear the nervousness in the voice of my clients when we talk about the analytics of their content strategies.
This is leading some Chief Marketing Officers, Directors of Marketing and Directors of Content Marketing to consider what I would call a dumbing-down strategy. The fear is that with so much content being available, if your posts are not showing up every 20 minutes or so, you’ll miss opportunities.
I cannot speak to the frenetic nature of the speed of content posts. I believe research needs to be done in this area to guide all of us toward the right balance. But I can speak to the dumbing-down strategy. My message is simple. Don’t do it.
If you want to be a trusted advisor, you cannot dumb-down your content. You need to make it rich with ideas that help prospective ideal clients move ahead on critical projects.
Are decision-maker’s attention spans really that short?
The idea behind the short post is that people skim these days. They don’t read anymore. While this may be true for some, in my experience, the people that professional service firms need to engage do in fact read. They read quite deeply.
A decision-maker, someone whose career is on the line and who has to stand behind the decisions they make and the products and services they recommend, well they have a lot at stake. If they make a bad decision or at least cannot justify the rational for a decision made at a moment in time, their careers could suffer. They could be fired. In certain instances, they could be sued.
In my experience, these people really pay attention. They are sensitive to language. They are easily put off. More importantly, they recognize good ideas when they hear them.
Is more better?
Content marketers these days seem to operate from the notion that more is better. I agree. More good thinking is better. But more posts or more noise – well I’m not so sure about that. I also don’t believe that the really smart people who make decisions about professional service firms want to be inundated with more. I think for them, less is more. They already have too much on their plate.
I have a sense that decision-makers, those with budget authority, decision-rights and an imminent need, are really just looking for solutions – not content. Content is the swamp that they have to wade through to get to the ideas that will help them accomplish goals, realize opportunities and overcome challenges. But it’s the ideas that matter.
What happened to being a trusted advisor?
In days gone by, the goal of creating content was to establish a person or a company as a thought-leader, someone who could be trusted. These days it feels like the goal of content marketing is simply to drive traffic to websites. Does that really shape the behavior we all want to see?
I have a sense that what we really want to see from content marketing is a deep connection with the right prospective ideal clients. Usually these connections are built over time, not quickly. In some rare instances, where someone has an immediate goal, they might rush a decision. But most people who have an important decision to make, because there is so much on the line, will take their time. They’ll look at a number of providers. They’ll consider your approach and the clarity of your thinking and strategy. And they’ll draw their impressions from the content you create.
If you want to be a trusted advisor, you cannot dumb-down your content. You need to make it rich with ideas that help prospective ideal clients move ahead on critical projects. The richer your ideas, the stronger your connection will be with these people.
How to get started
To help you build these kinds of strong connections, I have a free resource for you. It’s called 7 Steps To A Content Marketing Program That Consistently Yields Ideal Clients. It contains 7 videos and downloadable tools that you can use to build a highly effective content marketing program. It’s free and it’s available right now.