Blog #6: WHY Content Marketing

A lot of the time, human action doesn’t make a lick of sense until you understand the “why” behind it.

Previously, I thought that all marathon runners were either masochists or psychopaths. As it turns out, those freaks just love being outdoors, the rigors of a strict training regime, watching themselves improve along the way, the endorphins — or “high” — that they feel on occasion, and the all-around sense of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line.

(Having suffered through a half-marathon myself, I would still contend that there’s a non-zero percent chance that they are crazy people.)

All jokes aside, out of the who/what/where/when/why/how sequence, the “why” is by far the most fascinating and powerful. It definitely deserves the most thought and attention. For instance, we live in a time where most people believe that nobody can honestly disagree with them for any reason whatsoever. But if they just sought out to understand why other people hold different beliefs, then they would maybe realize that they have more in common with most people than differences.

I cannot lie — this is about to be a behemoth of a blog entry. However, it’ll be proportionate as it covers much of what my thinking has been obsessed with over the past few months. Content marketing is a simple, yet overlooked, angle to biz dev that I think is still in the early stages of adoption. An angle that, in my opinion, you probably should’ve started yesterday. An angle that, in hindsight, will make more sense than 2+2=4.

And an angle that is so untapped (only 7 percent of B2B owners are executing this to be exact) that compelled me enough to ditch my career in finance to pursue…

In fact, the “why” behind content marketing is probably one of the few hills that I would choose to die on. So buckle up — this is about to be a ride.

Weird Analogies

(^ fully aware that this is probably not an ideal heading)

Imagine this: You’re on your annual camping trip with your buddies from college — the one weekend each year that you’re free of responsibility. The beers are flowin’, stories from the glory days are being told, everybody’s being brought up to speed with what’s going on in one another’s lives, laughs are being had like none other, and it’s just a great time all around… Then all of a sudden someone pops out of the woods and tries to convince all of you to buy their hiking backpacks. 

Or, imagine you’re visiting one of your grandparent’s graves on what would’ve been their 100th birthday. All of a sudden, in that moment of remembrance, a random passerby at the cemetery tries to sell you a selfie stick…

In both of these analogies, we can clearly see the importance of timing, context and content. Moreover, they highlight just how tone deaf we can be as marketers when we’re not customer-centric. Would you really expect anybody to actually buy anything in these scenarios?

This is is pretty much what’s going on in the internet on a daily basis. Let me go out on a limb here when I say that most people don’t go on social media to consume advertisements. 90 percent of the time, we find ourselves on social media for one of three reasons: (1) to stay in touch with our family and friends, (2) to learn something or be brought up to date with current events, or (3) for a brief moment of escapism. 

So why do people think intrusive advertisements and interrupting people’s online experience is a good way to get them to do business?

When did we become so out of touch?

This is one of the main topics that I’m going to tackle in this blog post. I’m truly flabbergasted by how much of businesses’ marketing budgets go towards trade shows and lead gen (specifically paid advertising) instead of demand gen (like content marketing). Especially given the staggering amount of time we spend on our mobile devices and how adept we’ve become at tuning out commercialized messages. 

Frankly, modern-day marketing pisses me off. It’s one thing if you’re pestering someone about something that they could pay for with pocket change — say, a candy bar — on the spot. But it’s a whole other thing to pressure them to invest in 4-figure SAAS product, course, or B2B service that they aren’t ready for.

That said, what I want to impress upon you today is the massive paradigm shift in the buyer-seller war and how we can leverage the internet in such a way that, over time, we can transform ourselves into liked and trusted advisers instead of being just another seller seller of ‘x’, ‘y’, or ‘z’. My thesis is as follows: With consistency, patience, and a willingness to listen to our audience and cater our content for them, we can make ourselves sought-after instead of constantly running on the hamster wheel. All of which can be done with an astonishingly small cost — in terms of both money and time — and at scale.

The window for execution is small, though. More and more businesses are waking up to this empathetic wave of marketing and the idea that we should treat people like humans instead of transactions. So let’s dive right in.

A Game of Power

Marketing is a game of power.

Pre-internet the sellers had the upper-hand. The game was predicated on buying advertisements through the TV, radio, newspaper, and billboards with a heavy dose of cold-calling and door-to-door sales. But here’s the thing: only the companies with the biggest budgets were able to afford to play. Back then, it was literally an arm’s race to see who would fork up the most cash for a few moments of recognition. Marketing budget had a self-reinforcing effect on market share — not a good formula for competition. 

But the game has changed.

In the age of the internet, tech, and advanced targeting, the power undoubtedly belongs to the buyer. Whether it be our email inbox or social media account, we have more leverage than the sellers because we can choose who we follow and subscribe to on the internet. If we’re interrupted by an advertisement that we don’t like or someone’s constantly yelling at us to do something, we can easily close the app or block them. Furthermore, since people prefer to follow and subscribe to people that they like and trust — not faceless entities — it is on the marketers to listen to their audience and create relevant, customized, and valuable content based on what piques their interest…Otherwise, they’ll be at risk of being tuned out by their audience.

You see, pre-internet the snowball effect lent itself to those with the biggest marketing budgets. But post-internet the snowball effect lends itself to the empathetic educators that that play the long game and *actually* make people feel something.

Because gone are the days where we have to pay a pretty penny for a mere 3.5 seconds worth of time to close someone driving 65 miles per hour down the highway, GONE ARE THE DAYS OF SHOUTING AT OUR AUDIENCE TO TAKE ACTION NOW, and gone are the days of being deceitful.

Everything is “out there” now in the age of transparency.

So what do you have to hide, anyway?

Home Field Advantage

The advantage of playing at one’s home arena cannot be emphasized enough in the world of sports — and I’m not just talking about having the fans on your side or being able to sleep in your own bed the night before a game instead of taking a red-eye flight…

  • In baseball, home field advantage equates to having the last chance to bat in the ninth inning to win the game. It also means being more familiarized with your field than your opponent is in terms of it’s dimensions, quirks, etc since every field is unique.
  • In football, home field advantage means your fans will be loud enough while you’re on defense to impair your offense’s ability to hear the snap count. When the snap count is difficult to hear, it draws more offside penalties and makes running the ball more of a challenge for the away team. 
  • In basketball, home court advantage means having guys like Drake and Spike Lee to talk sh*t to the other team court-side. Offensive and loose ball fouls also go the home team’s way more often, which gives them more free throw opportunities. Furthermore, travelling calls are made on the visiting team 15% more often. All of which give the winning team an advantage to the tune of an additional 0.8 points per game.

Across the three major American sports, teams with the home field have an extra five to ten percent (!!) chance of winning on average. And clearly, the spectator component is equally as valuable as being familiar with the physical arena.

In the realm of marketing, there are ways that we can obtain a “home field advantage” of sorts. To name a few, we can leverage unique selling propositions, credentials, economies of scale, and differentiation.

Conversely, there are ways that we can put ourselves at a disadvantage. The two biggest ones that I can see are: (1) relying too heavily on a platform that isn’t yours, and (2) by not having an engaged audience. These are often grossly overloooked.

Let’s first illustrate why it’s not a good idea to be overly-dependent on Facebook for lead gen:

Facebook is a sick platform, plain and simple. Everybody and their mother — heck, even grandmother — is on Facebook. No, seriously — it’s the home of 2.7 billion users worldwide. And not only are 34 percent of the world on the platform, but ads can be targeted at them based on geography and demographics. Meaning, out of the trillions of transactions made every day, Facebook gives you the opportunity to put yourself somewhere in the middle. 

HOWEVER, their developers are constantly tweaking the algorithm that ultimately decides which ads get seen and which don’t.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, Facebook’s product is the user. Without the user, Facebook would have nothing to sell. But the thing is, 98 percent of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertisers (they paid $70 BILLION last year alone). So there’s a constant battle between coddling the user and monetization. For instance, if users feel like they’re getting spammed by advertisements then they might ditch the platform altogether and switch over to a different one, say, MySpace. Without advertisers to fatten Mark Zuckerberg’s wallet, this would’ve been no more than a fun side-project in college. This would be a tragedy since this platform connects family, friends, and in some cases organ donors.

Thus, there’s a constant game of cat and mouse — Zuck being the cat, advertisers being the mice, and the user being the cheese. In this game, Zuck’s algorithm chases away the “spammy” advertisers that might repel users from his platform and gives cheese to those that are actually thoughtful and engaging.

Ultimately, the strength of Facebook is in its ability to strike a balance between happy users and ad monetization.

Or, let’s take a look at YouTube as another example:

YouTube influencers don’t sell merchandise or partake in affiliate marketing from the moment they create their channel. Rather, they spend months producing consistent content and growing their audience. Then, once they hit a certain number of subscribers — say, 20k — companies will start sending them free products in hopes that they will be an affiliate for them.

For the first time ever, we can grow an audience (on a global scale) and THEN bring a product to the market instead of having to take on debt, raise capital, develop a product, and pray that there’s a product-market fit.

But the bottom line is this: Running ads on major social media platforms is good, but having an engaged audience that will follow you wherever you go and owning your platform is better.

Here’s another analogy: when you choose to rent an apartment instead of buying one, your landlord gets to make the rules. Since the landlord makes the rules, they can do whatever they so choose with your humble abode, such as hike the amount they charge you each month by 5-10 percent from one year to the next (among other things). 

The leverage belongs to those that own their platform and have a cult-like following.

If YouTube were to disappear all of a sudden, for instance, influencers might panic right away. However, if their subscribers are evangelists then there will always be a way for them to pivot — say, via Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter.

But if all social media platforms were banned for whatever reason, it would be necessary to have your own website. Having your own website and email list is akin to always having a roof to sleep under if things go pear shaped. Sure, your audience is going to be smaller as it’s closer to the end of the funnel, but counterparty risk is completely eliminated.

Optimally, you would own your own website ~and~ have an omnipresence across all relevant platforms.

As often as you can, you should strive to be the landlord — not the renter. 

If You’re Always Selling, Then You’re Never Selling

As an outdoor sport, baseball is subject to a wide array of external factors — hot weather, cold weather, rain, wind, etc. Growing up in Minnesota with a high school season that started in late March or early April, we had no shortage of games that were postponed due to snow. And many of our games that weren’t postponed were played in 40 to 60 degree weather. One of the things my coach told us before these games will always stick with me:

“If everybody’s cold, then nobody’s cold.”

Meaning, the weather is a level playing field — it affects everybody. If everybody’s outside, then it’s no longer cold… it just “is.”

Similarly, if 100 percent of your marketing efforts are directed towards making an immediate sale, then your audience will always know exactly when to tune out. Conflating sales with marketing is a recipe for disaster — just because you can buy traffic doesn’t mean that you should. It’s like running a Hail Mary all four downs for the entire game — the defense can just sit back in a prevent defense and deflect every pass along the way.

(Y’know what, I take that back. I actually appreciate spammy advertisements — they make the decision to turn on autopilot and scroll past the message that much easier. They’re great bullsh*t detectors.)

Fueling Escapism

Look, Facebook and YouTube advertisements are a great tools to market your product or service. They should definitely be in every company’s arsenal. But here’s the thing:

Everybody’s doing it, and people don’t even like being sold to in the first place.

Meaning, you could have the BEST advertisement in the world, the best product, the best customer service, the best price, the best… everything. You could have a magic pill that would make me live forever. But if I’m not in the mood to be persuaded (which is most of the time tbh), then I’m not going to give your content the time of day. And that’s just the cold hard truth.

In fact, I might even begin to despise your brand.

It’s really quite simple: When I’m briefly making an escape from the minutiae of everyday life, the very last thing that I want is to feel demanded to do one more thing.

I could be lost, tired, and dehydrated in the middle of the desert while resting under a bit of shade. If you had the audacity to disturb me in that moment of tranquility… it better be because you have a glass of water to quench my thirst or a map that will show me my way out of the desert. 

Anything less and I might come for your neck.

Because let’s be real — 99 times out of 100 (but probably more), we’re going to hit the “skip” button after five seconds of the YouTube ad has passed or automatically scroll right past the ad in our Facebook feed. We spend so much time on these platforms that we’ve developed an innate ability to “tune out” the content that we don’t care for. Meanwhile, it’s becoming more and more expensive to buy this type of media.

So instead of allocating the majority of our marketing budget towards instant monetization and making our audience’s online experience worse, how about we focus on fueling their escapism and actually becoming what they’re interested in?

Because, after all, the more you chase a cat the further it runs away from you.

For this reason, it is critical to leave “lead generation” to your sales department — there’s a reason why it’s separate from marketing. “Demand generation,” on the other hand, can make leads easier to close. By focusing on a few immeasurable metrics — like brand awareness and having an educated audience — selling becomes easier and sales cycles shorten. Building demand takes time, though — there’s a reason why we say that it’s simple but not easy. The simple (but not easy) way to do so, is (1) by providing value, (2) by being consistent, and (3) by doing so at scale.

Get these right, and you’ll have the keys to the city.

#1: Value

To do content marketing the right way (there is a wrong way), it is imperative that what we create is valuable. Because value is beautiful, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder… then can we say that the audience should tell us what’s valuable and what isn’t?

I think so.

Ultimately, the goal with content marketing is to make yourself so influential that people believe in you as the solution to their problem. And in order to be believed, you must be known, liked, and then trusted.

Below I’ve created a list of ways to get you there — much of which are highlighted in Robert Cialdini’s bestseller ‘Influence.’ The cool thing about this list is that, not only can each element add to the potency of your strategy, but they’ve stood the test of time and could easily be explained to a third grader. They’re flat out obvious ~and~ have the lindy effect on their side!

  • Familiarity. People prefer to do business with people they’re familiar with over complete strangers, period. Make yourself known to your audience by cracking jokes, being vulnerable, personable, and authentic with them, and by having real conversations with them.
  • Likability. People are more likely to do business with people they know and like. By making yourself liked by your target audience, they will be more likely to comply with your request for a 1-on-1 meeting (if that’s what you’re asking from them). Become likable by relentlessly focusing on them while being a relatable, friendly, and fallible voice.
  • Authenticity. Studies show that humans instantly judge others based on competence and warmth, the two largest components that make up authenticity. What this also means is that you have to *actually* know what you’re doing so that you can help them solve their problems. And by being honest and empathetic in your content, your warmth will make itself felt. It isn’t uncommon for people to do business with the more authentic option despite having an inferior product/service or higher price than a competitor — this is the power of authenticity.
  • Generosity. Giving first to get is a timeless reciprocity strategy. But the thing about generosity is that you must give without expecting anything in return — the very definition of the word. You can gain a lot of initial traction by simply giving a lot of meaningful value to your audience. However, the most important important reason to be generous is that your audience members won’t feel like “leads” or “prospects” that are being sold to. (This means no “half-gives” where you give them a little bit of value and then try to stop them in their tracks with an offer.) After weeks — maybe even months — of giving without expecting anything in return, your audience may feel compelled to reciprocate in one way or another. This is due to the strong cultural pressure inside of all of us to reciprocate gifts because, long story short, people who “mooch” are often disliked by their social group. At this point, a larger percentage of your leads will be inbound. Meaning, they will be choosing to do business with you instead of feeling pressured to do so. Not only will this shorten your sales cycles, but they’ll feel happy to choose you! So when in the early days of the implementation of your content marketing strategy, do not fret if the ROI isn’t quite “there.” Instead, look at all of your ongoing relationships with your audience and imagine what they could do for you when you fully win them over. Most businesses don’t have this kind of patience, but make no mistake — these relationships are worth their weight in gold!
  • Education. Sometimes people don’t even know what they don’t know. Correction, most of the time we don’t know what we don’t know. By educating people to the point where they can do business with us, we urge them to think of us as a potential solution to their problem by challenging their mental framework and making them smarter. What’s more, evidence shows that people process educational content more favorably than they do promotional content. This proves that overt persuasion is actually less powerful than subtle forms of persuasion (i.e., education) since they’ll be less likely to tune out. And to really drive the point home, educators are flat out some of the most influential people in the world. So be a teacher and leverage your knowledge, expertise, and insights!
  • Demonstration. It’s funny how much of the advertising we see today on the internet is still predicated on claiming one’s expertise instead of demonstrating it. Nobody wants a dentist with bad teeth, a dietitian that is overweight, or a financial adviser who is poor. Actions do speak louder than words, after all. What we see today, however, are tons of self-proclaimed guru’s who claim they can perform open-heart surgery because they watched all 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t be like these guys. Demonstrate and earn your expertise, don’t just claim it! 
  • Trust. If all of the above objectives have been achieved, you can rest assured that you’ll have an audience that trusts you — the last element to be believed. Sure you may only have 1/100th of the leads, but they’ll be more qualified by leaps and bounds. And when they finally need to solve their problem, you will be the top-of-mind solution. They may also feel compelled to spread the word to their family, friends, and colleagues — free marketing (the most effective, too)! Moreover, when your audience fully trusts you, they’ll perceive you as an industry thought leader for the very same reason people trust actors dressed in scrubs on a television commercial. But you won’t need to spend eight years and hundreds of thousands of dollars at a PhD program to earn the highly coveted diploma. People like these kinds of mental shortcuts so that they don’t have to think so hard about everything — make yourself one of them!

As Crag Davis (Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson) once said, “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and *be* what they are interested in.”

The takeaway is simple:

Be anti-interruption. Be anti-demanding, anti-opacity…

And instead be pro-patience, -listening, -transparency, and -generosity via free content that facilitates education and escapism.

#2: Consistency

There’s a pretty direct relationship between the price of a product and the number of touchpoints needed to convince someone that to buy or invest in it. For instance, zero touchpoints are required for a candy bar at the gas station. To buy a $20 book, one or two should be good. For a lawnmower it may take four or five. But for a $2,000 to $10,000 product or service, say, a monthly retainer or an online course? It could take anywhere from 10 to 1,000.

Let that sink in.

You see, running ads on YouTube and Facebook as a primary means of lead generation will only convert a small fraction of the 1% of people that:

  • know specifically what they want, and you provide exactly that (i.e., immediate product-consumer fit)
  • AND are emotionally ready to part with their money no matter the price

It is thus a matter of being in the right place in the right time, which is a very rare occurrence. Furthermore, it’s not very repeatable since these platforms are always switching up their algorithms and banning accounts at a moments notice. And like I said earlier, most people aren’t going to be cool with your ad jumping out at them all of a sudden — they’re going to say, “f*ck you”, pay no mind to what you have to say, and consume the free content that they want to consume.

So on one end of the spectrum, we’ve got a tiny sliver of people that are ready to buy from anybody right this instant. Everybody and your mother are competing for this cohort.

And on the other end of the spectrum there are those that won’t do business with you no matter what, and there’s nothing you can possibly do to change that…

But that grey area in the middle? That large chunk of people that could be persuaded to do business with you if they were educated properly and became familiarized with you? The rational bunch that prefer to not make decisions on a whim?

These are the people that we should focus on. These are the people that we can win over by creating valuable content on a consistent basis. Make as many high-quality and well-timed touch points with them as you can.

Because not only do they represent the majority of the population, but once you win them over after months of nurturing a rock-solid relationship with them, they will gladly spread the word to the people they’re close with.

Major key.

#3: Context & Scale

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all extremely powerful social networking platforms. They’re not like sports teams, either. Sure, each platform serves a different purpose and we all have our preferences. For example, I love Twitter and Instagram but my parents and grandparents spend most of their time on Facebook. But for the most part, if you’re on one of them then you’re likely to be on the rest.

Moreover, all of these platforms are unique in terms of the type of content we share, how much we’re allowed to share (e.g., Twitter limits us to 280 characters), and the context in which we sharing it. Thus there’s not only a need to be on each of these platforms, but also an obligation to be contextual. 

So in any given month, a documented content strategy would look something like this: (1) article for our website, (1) email newsletter, (8-12) LinkedIn posts in professional tone, (15-20) Instagram posts of our best moments, and (60-90) tweets for smaller tidbits + experimentation of fresh ideas + jokes on current events.

These account for both the contextual requirements that each platform demands, the number of touchpoints needed to win somebody over, and having an omnipresence across multiple platforms (scale).

Few are willing to do this.

This is why it is imperative to scale your content across all relevant platforms and distribute in a way that is most easily consumed by the audience.

A Few More Points…

  • Social Scalability. Network effects should be the eighth wonder of the world. You see, it might take a half a year to go from “zero to one” in terms of growing your online network. But once you arrive at one, it’s all of a sudden much easier to go from one to ten much easier. This is because word of mouth spreads faster when you have more, uh, mouths to spread the word. Especially in a world where seven degrees of separation are between you and any random person from, say, Croatia or Brazil (or another potential client). Be patient with the snowball — once it starts rolling, so too will the inbound opportunities.
  • Cost Savings. Advertisements on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. are obviously pay-to-play. Let’s say you run a demo request ad on LinkedIn and pay $100 for every person that signs up. And let’s say 30 people sign up. The real cost isn’t just the $3,000 that you paid for incredibly cold leads (none of which that you were able to close), or the time that your sales reps wasted following up with them and trying to take them through the funnel, but also the fact that you’ve conflated marketing with sales — effectively making your marketing less potent.
  • Economic Scalability or “Economies of Scale”. If you outsourced your content creation to a consultant/freelancer, this will represent a fixed cost to your business. It won’t cost very much, however. Depending on the quantity and quality of their output, you’re probably looking at spending anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. And if they know what they’re doing, they can squeeze a lot of quality content out of that spend. When the snowball starts rolling, that fixed cost will be spread across more and more clients. 
  • Your KPI’s Are Probably Just Symptoms. Engagement and traffic are great. However, they’re merely symptoms. And symptoms don’t guarantee anything. Followers can be bought on Twitter and Instagram for crying out loud. Instead of engagement, traffic, click through rates, and time spent on a landing page, how about we focus on sales, conversations, monthly meetings with potential clients, SEO ranking, and recurring customers? You know, metrics that *actually* move the needle?
  • Separate Sales (Lead Gen) From Marketing (Demand Gen). This is a big one. We need to be picky with how we define lead generation and demand generation. Lead gen is the attempt to pinpoint leads for your sales department to sell to. Just because the internet, tech, and targeting have made lead gen more accessible does NOT mean that we should conflate it with marketing. Demand gen, on the other hand, is the attempt to create awareness for your business via free education and value. One of them plays the short game by looking for an instant transaction right now, and the other plays the long game by establishing authority, building up trust, and future consideration for their offering. And the big winners in life (and in business), in my opinion, are those that play the long-term games.
    • Reach (Quantity) vs. Depth (Quality). People in the business of lead generation will tell you that it’s a “numbers game.” For them, the quantity of leads they get (or reach) is the most important. Conversely, people in the business of demand generation are more concerned about the quality (or depth) of their leads. They would rather publish a podcast that has 100 audience members spend an hour each listening to than 10,000 people being coerced into watching a five second advertisement. For a $5,000+ dollar product, would you rather have 10,000 touchpoints spread across 10,000 people or 10,000 touchpoints concentrated among 100?
    • Time Preference. Lead gen is a high time preference activity. This means that your actions are in alignment with doing whatever deemed necessary to make a sale, including lying via deceitful tactics such as scarcity, FOMO, and the like. Lying is also an incredibly high time preference activity — by getting what you want right now, you run the risk of eroding trust in the future. Demand gen is a low time preference activity. Meaning, you’re willing to forego a smaller quantity of sales right now in exchange for the possibility of a much greater quantity down the road. The abundance mindset and being patient with your audience helps foster a sense of trust among them. So are you going to go the “growth at all costs” route or the “when you realize that you need [our product], you’re going to buy from us” route?
    • Shorter Sales Cycles. When solid demand generation is in place, all of a sudden lead generation becomes a lot easier. This makes perfect sense, though: when people are aware of your brand, educated on what you have to offer and are fond of your transparency, you’ll be top-of-mind when they need their problem to be solved. Sure, they might not need your help right now. And if that’s the case, why would you want to force that onto them anyways? By being patient with them, you trust that they’ll know who to call when they have a problem (you). What’s more, they won’t be asking you time-wasting FAQ’s; they’ll already know everything they need and their decision has been made. Ultimately, this means less time will be spent trying to close people who are not very interested in you or your offer — and not to mention, who wouldn’t be good clients to do business with anyways. It also means you’ll have more time at your disposal to to handle bonafide inbound leads with quicker response rates.
    • Higher Win Rate. None of this is to say that lead gen is bad or demand gen is the be-all end-all. They should work synergistically. That said, I feel as though most companies are weighted a little too heavily on the lead gen side of the equation. When outbound marketing is firing properly, not only will sales cycles shorten but win rates will also increase.
    • Cost Savings. Nope, this one isn’t a duplicate. You see, when inbound marketing contributes 30-50% of new business instead of 10-15%, the entire structure of your business can change. For example, all of a sudden you don’t feel as pressured to expand your pipeline that wins at a lower rate and has longer sales cycles. 
  • Expert –> Thought Leader. There’s no shortage of experts in the world. Accountants, personal trainers, plumbers, and software developers have all spent years sharpening their craft to put themselves in a position to solve other people’s problems. The odds of any one expert being the best at what they do, however, are slim to none. In fact, the internet is actually doing its best to monopolize the best at what they do. I mean, why ask the ho-hum accountant down the street for advice on decreasing your annual tax spend when you can book a zoom call for a few hundred bucks with someone that you know is going to save you thousands because they demonstrate their expertise day in and day out and have a handful of testimonials to support their work? *This* is why you need to transform yourself into a trusted thought leader instead of a tired, old expert.

Outro

I hope that by now you get this gist of why content marketing could be a huge differentiator that sets one business apart from the rest of the pack. I’ve just got this gut feeling that running intrusive ads and constantly being in a state of “sell, sell, sell” isn’t in your best interest or the best interest of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. No matter how much you pay them, they will still weed out your content to maintain the integrity of their platform. Conversely, content that is perceived as relevant, of high-quality, valuable, well-timed, and ultimately drives engagement will *always* make Facebook happy. Not to mention your own audience, too.

5,000 words is enough, and frankly I’m too exhausted to complete this outro properly. In the future I will go back and expand on some of the points made in this entry. In the meantime, thanks for staying the course — I hope you got some value out of it!

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