Take it from us, content marketing works.
“I need leads,” you say. “I need new clients. I need revenue.”
To which I say, “welcome to the club!” Seriously, what business isn’t looking for new opportunities?
The temptation is to develop an aggressive sales process to pull in as many new prospects as quickly as possible, by whatever means necessary. Some businesses go down that road. But I’m here to tell you there’s another way. It requires genuine content, real connection, and patience. And it actually works.
Just in the last few days, I’ve received multiple messages on multiple platforms from people wanting to talk business. Specifically, there were two text messages, an email, and a LinkedIn message. One of the individuals wanted us to build their website and the other three wanted us to help them build podcasts along with other content.
After some back-and-forth communication, it turned out that although all four had known about us for some time, each had been motivated to reach out by different pieces of content we had put out more recently. Two of them mentioned a combination of LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. One mentioned an email that caught their attention. Another told us about having an epiphany from one of our LinkedIn posts.
Here’s the thing; not one of these four people was sold by us. Not one of these people was on any sort of sales pipeline.
Now don’t get me wrong—we have a sales process, but it’s for people who want to work with us. And it’s really to make certain we don’t drop the ball as the relationship develops. If someone wants to work with us (and we want to work with them) we take that very seriously. We want to handle it the right way.
So, what I am saying is that content marketing works and can intrigue people and lead to conversations. If done the right way, people will call you. I know this because that’s how we built our business, by creating engaging content—and we did it in the face of people telling us we needed to build click funnels and join LinkedIn engagement pods (if you don’t know what those are, go look at a LinkedIn post that has 100 likes and 80 comments—those numbers don’t happen unless people contractually must leave a comment). The point is genuine content can create new opportunities—even when you’re not looking for them.
I create content because I enjoy creating. And if I can build a business around the different things I (we) enjoy, then I’m doing that!
Now, I know a lot of people are going to ask about ROI. Hey, I get it. Nobody wants to go through the effort of creating content and then get nothing for it. The problem is that calculating the true return on quality content can be difficult. That new client might not tell you it was your podcast or your multiple blogs that are now on LinkedIn that intrigued them in the beginning. Sometimes you’re just not going to know. What you do know is you put the content out there and your business grows. And while you can’t measure the exact impact of a single post, you can get feedback—because some people will tell you what attracted their attention. So just talk to people. Find out what intrigues them. In our case, because our clients are looking for help with content marketing for their business, these conversations have added value; we’re not just finding out what works for us, we’re also talking with potential clients about what might work for them.
All of this isn’t to say building a click funnel can’t work (major point–it can’t be manipulative). It’s just not the genuine content creation we are talking about here. And anyway, a click funnel needs great content or what good is the funnel? All marketing has to involve elements of content marketing, it’s just a question of emphasis and approach. Sooner or later, you have to make a genuine connection with people.
The important thing with content marketing is patience. If you need to generate a sale right now, putting a lot of content out there won’t do it for you. But business isn’t a shortsighted thing. Either you are in the early stages of a long journey—in which case you want to build something out and the immediate sale isn’t essential—or you are on the journey already, in which case you’re working on a multitude of deals, some closing very soon, some down the road. The content is the driver of potential business months or even years out.
People don’t buy because of just one Instagram or LinkedIn post. Even if one post triggered the sale, that was after multiple points of connection before. Over time, you build a relationship. In the beginning, it might be one-way, where they’re reading or listening to your content and you don’t know who they are, but they’ll get to know you, mention you to someone they know, and maybe in time that someone reaches out to you. You’ll make a connection that may eventually lead to new business.
Break out the calculator and tell me how you measure that!
I suppose there’s a way (but talk about mind games!), but really figuring out what works and what doesn’t in terms of content isn’t a cut-and-dried, unambiguous thing. It’s more of a nuanced judgment call, where you sit back and honestly evaluate what you’re doing with an open mind and a clear vision as to where you and your business are heading.
Here’s the thing: it works for us, it’s worked for others, and it can work for you. If, you are willing to create, put yourself out there, have patience, adjust as you go, have consistency, have something to say, and have someone to say it to, then do it.
We do it for ourselves, so in my mind if it is good enough for us, it’s good enough for you.
I’m pretty much obsessed with content. Because, here’s the thing…
Content marketing works.
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