Back when I focused more on my career change business, I was trying to set up my email marketing program. Several gurus were advising everyone to email their lists frequently. In particular, several people suggested a sequence of autoresponders to send to new subscribers. The goal was to send one a day for the first 30 days.
For me, that lasted about a week. Then I started hearing cries of pain.
“You sound desperate!” someone said.
“This is too much!” said another reader.
So I cut back and now I email that list once a week .. usually less. (If you know someone who’s changing careers, the site is still there.)
Yet another time someone returned from a conference, all gung-ho to set the world on fire.
“You need to have a CD!” she insisted.
“But … I don’t think my market wants CD’s,” I said.
“Nobody’s different,” that person said. “It’s a sign of weakness if you say, ‘That doesn’t apply to me!'”
That person was and is quite well-known and respected. I don’t know if she still believes what she said. But now I know that your content strategy has to sync with your personality, your style, your preferences and, especially, your market.
So I was delighted to see this email come from Ian Brodie, one of my favorite marketers and a fan of Newcastle United. (Don’t confuse them with that other team, like I did. He’ll correct you on the spot.) He gave me permission to reproduce it here. And if you want to learn more about Ian, I interviewed him for my Pivot Your Business summit. You can get all the recordings here.
GUEST POST – Your Business Is Different, By Ian Brodie
Good marketing is based on timeless principles that apply across all businesses.Deep understanding of your ideal clients, a clear and compelling value proposition, giving value in advance, nurturing relationships. Doesn’t matter what your business is, these will all work for you.
But you also need to adapt your marketing to the specifics of your business: the clients you target and the products and services you sell.
This week I want to talk about a simple technique for adapting content marketing to fit your business.
There’s an awful lot written and talked about the importance of content marketing. Some of it very good. Some of it just tosh.
The problem is that very many writers on content or online marketing only really know the marketing business. They’ve never worked for real bricks and mortar businesses, or even non-marketing online businesses.
As a result, they’re blinkered. They see techniques that work for marketing businesses and they assume they work for all businesses. For example, I recently read an article saying how the bar has been raised and we need to create even more content these days, and it needs to be longer and more in depth than ever.
Now I’m a big fan of encyclopedic content. In many fields it gets shared and linked to more than any other type of content. That’s certainly the case in the world of marketing.
But I’m skeptical that every business needs to post as frequently and do such in-depth content as a marketing business.
Here’s something you can do in your business to see what will really work for you when it comes to content marketing: reverse engineer what is already working for others.
Don’t just take the word of the marketing experts at face value. Check what’s really succeeding in your marketplace.
When it comes to content marketing, what’s the purpose of your content?
Partly it’s to build credibility and trust with potential clients. But it’s also to attract them in the first place by getting found in the search engines and getting shared on social media.
And you can measure that.
Think of some of the keywords you’d like to be found for and search for them on Google. Then study what appears in the top 10 results (look for normal sites from your competitors or similar businesses to yours rather than things from Wikipedia, the BBC or Forbes magazine).
Look at the specific articles that appear in the results. Are they really long articles or short ones? Video or text or audio? Specific or general? Full of images or plain text? Are the articles simple lists of tips, case studies, in-depth analyses, personal stories?
Go over to Buzzsumo.com and look at the articles that are the most shared on social media for those keywords too and do the same analysis.
Then look wider at the sites they’re from. How often are they posting new material? Are they very niche or do they cover a broad range of related topics?
All this will give you clues as to what type of content is working in your field to get shared and to get ranked on Google.
Then use that to guide the type of content to produce yourself.
Because if your audience is rewarding that type of content by sharing it and Google is rewarding it by showing it high on the search results, there’s a good chance that’s the sort of content that will work well for your business.
No guarantees, but a good chance.
And a far better chance than if you blindly follow what the marketing experts tell you “always works”.
Quick case in point: I googled “teambuilding techniques” and looked at the word count of the top 5 articles for that topic. Far from needing to write huge 2,000+ word articles as content marketing gurus would have you believe, not one of the top 5 articles was over 1,600 words and the average word count was just 873.
Try it for some of your keywords. You’ll find that very often what it takes to succeed in your business is quite different to what the experts assume.