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Winning The Uphill Content Battle

By Sander Biehn | Mar 20, 2014

For those of us in the social and content marketing world, the challenge may seem daunting. So much content floods the internet each day that it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. Experts hock their wares offering help with SEO and distribution. The meek look up to the well-heeled in followers and plead for a shout out…a ‘bone’ to pounce on to get more eyeballs on a message.

Still, other media experts urge content creators to ‘kill themselves and save the world’ from drowning in schlock. Or, worse yet, remind us that others will outspend our efforts and eventually win the hearts and minds of readers regardless of the merit of our message.

All of this rings so true. It seems that US political campaigns are won or lost by spending and not ideas, so why wouldn’t the same be true for commercial ventures on the internet?

But then along comes Gangnam style or the American Shaver’s Club.  Along comes, a band like Nirvana or another Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Something always seems to come out of left field and captivate us for its originality and decidedly low-tech or non-existent self-promotion.

While it seems as unlikely as winning the lottery that our lowly messages will end up with 2 billion hits on Youtube, this kind of thing is happening every day in smaller, but equally surprising ways. One brand gets it right on social and their competitor does not. One city or municipality stands out with a solid message while others are indiscernible from each other. After all, our job as marketers and sales people is not to sell and market to everyone, just to the people who would want our product. In B2B sales this is even more pronounced and scary. You can have millions of eyeballs on your content, but if you do not have the right ones, forget it!

I have blogged about how important it is to have the right message aligned with your customer’s problems. But it is equally important if you are going to enter this very messy and full space of content marketing to carry a few other things along for the ride.

First, is what I call purity of purpose. You cannot be in social media just to measure results and build a science around digital persuasion. You need to believe that social is a better way for everyone to make informed decisions. If the major advantage you see to social media is that it is ‘free’, you may have to reset your values if you hope to have meaningful results. Look, I hate waxing touchy-feely, but if you approach this business with a head full of SEO tactics and spamming marketing tools you will become frustrated quickly.

Second, is a narrow focus. It can never hurt to have more people see your message, right? This is true, but if you need more impressions than you can afford or have the clout to earn, you may need to figure out where the fish are and narrow your scope. The difference in approach is analogous to fly fishing a la “A River Runs Through It” compared to deep sea trolling in “The Perfect Storm.”  Your survival, safety, and sanity are all at stake here.

In my estimation the world tires of everything no matter how great and powerful it is. But the last thing that humanity will tire of is a good story. If you have one, don’t back down or let the experts tell you are foolish. Stay focused on what brought your business to this point and keep a bead on magnetic north.

See you at the top!


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