News article

The problem with content marketing, and how to fix it

Way back in the 1990s Bill Gates said: “content is king”.

Originally part of a longer essay, those words are often quoted in isolation. And, that’s the problem; in isolation, they disregard the importance of promoting your content.

In reality, a successful content marketing strategy needs two things:

  1. Production
  2. Promotion

We’re seeing a growing issue though; advisers and planners focusing too much on producing content and not enough on promoting it. That means their content strategy is doomed to fail.

In fact, let’s be honest, there’s no strategy at all. If there was, there would be equal focus on promotion and production!

Two examples bought this home to me over the past few weeks.

In the first, an adviser who already has plenty of content suggested that they need a retirement scorecard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love scorecards and believe they can play a very useful role. However, her problem wasn’t a lack of content. It was a lack of promotion.

Creating a scorecard would have just compounded the problem and produced another asset gathering dust on the electronic shelf.

In the second an adviser wanted us to write news articles monthly, but only send to his clients every quarter. Why? Because they didn’t want to “bother them”.  That makes no sense whatsoever.

Why produce content that you’re not going to send to anyone? And, your content should add value (while demonstrating knowledge and positioning you as a go-to expert). If it does that, why wouldn’t you want to send it 12 or even 52 times a year?

Production is easier than promotion

It’s not hard to understand why there’s too much focus on production and too little on promotion.

Producing something new is exciting. The moment you see that new blog, guide, video, animation or scorecard is very rewarding. There is also no shortage of marketing gurus lining up to sell you content.

Production is tougher. It takes creativity, consistency and hard work. Results need to be measured and changes made. There are so many ways to promote content it’s understandable if you’re paralysed by choice. Then, there’s the constant fear of negative feedback or engagement.

It’s perhaps not hard to see why so many advisers and planners focus more on production than promotion. That doesn’t make it right, though!

The most successful content marketers I know understand the value of producing great content then constantly promoting it. They understand the need for balance and that there’s a better way than constantly producing more and more content.

A better way

Devote equal (if not more) time, effort and resources to producing as you do promoting by following this method:

  • Create
  • Promote
  • Repurpose
  • Promote.

Let’s look at two of those now and try to offer some practical solutions. First, promotion.

Build a plan

There are many ways to promote your content:

  • Newsletters
  • Website
  • Social media messages
  • Paid-for social media posts
  • Direct messages on social media
  • Your Google My Business listing
  • The press, both consumer and trade
  • Online forums and groups
  • Physical networking events.

The sheer amount of choice means you need a plan. The plan should show:

  • What you’re going to promote
  • Who you’re going to promote it to
  • When you’re going to promote it
  • How you’re going to promote it.

Repurpose content

Producing content is hard. It takes inspiration, writing, editing, proofing and design. You can get more value out of each piece of content by repurposing it.

For example:

  • Turn a blog into a guide
  • Write a presentation based on the guide
  • Cut a listicle style blog into a series of social media posts
  • Write a blog based on your webinar
  • Add details to a “show your work” style social by turning it into a blog.

The possibilities are almost endless and the pay-off huge.

Content is king…

But, without promotion, its production is largely pointless. All too often a piece of content is produced, promoted once and then left to wither as new content is produced.

That’s not right. And it needs to stop.

If you’d like help producing or promoting content, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to request details of Yardstick Membership (or newsletter and blogging service). Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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