No matter how you plan to grow your business content has become the entry point and catalyst for effective growth in most every channel. No, content is no longer king – that’s so last decade, but more on that in a bit.
I’ve been writing a great deal about growth of late because I’ve become fascinated with the struggle it presents.
One of my core beliefs about growth is that it comes from doing less instead of more.
While that may sound a bit counterintuitive it springs from the fact that marketers today have something like sixteen channels to choose from in order to create awareness and ultimately grow their businesses. (I outline all channels in this Lead Generation System post)
Terms like social media marketing, influencer marketing, content marketing and search engine marketing entered the marketing conversation in the last decade.
While this may seem to present a golden opportunity for some businesses, it has created frustration for others. It is simply impossible to effectively create a meaningful presence everywhere and attempting to do so creates so much fragmentation that the message is often lost completely.
The key to succeeding in the current environment is to master two or three channels at the most and commit to going deeply there. In my experience, most businesses already have one or two channels that produce the bulk of their business, yet they do little to amplify that effort. (I’ve written more on this idea of Channel Leverage here)
For example, many businesses derive a significant percentage of their business through referrals and word of mouth recommendation but have no formal referral program in place.
My contention is that business should focus on building multiple referral programs and explore ways to use advertising, strategic partnering and even content to amplify their referral channel – less is more!
And now to the real point of this post (Sorry I had as one of my editors called it a lot throat clearing to do to get to the point.)
No matter what growth channels you decide to pursue, content is your ticket to entry. Now, before I go much further let me say that by content I mean, long, deep, dramatic, useful, dare I say epic, educational content.
Again, in this regard – less is more.
The days of writing 500-word wispy blog posts three times a week are over. They certainly served a purpose four or five years ago (hello SEO) but no longer.
Today you are better off writing one or two epic posts a month and using them as a tool to power every channel. (That’s good news, right?)
Your approach to content as an asset still needs to be based on an editorial calendar that serves your business, but creating that plan is even easier if you start to think about ways to use your content for multiple channels.
When we work with businesses today content development is the place we must start. There’s little hope in expanding the reach of a business without a substantial content asset to draw from. There are few channels that don’t run on content.
Let me give you an example of how this could play out.
Let’s say you commit to 12 epic blog posts per year – something in the 1500-2000 word range with lots of deep useful advice, some nice design elements, maybe a dash of data and even a bit of drama.
If you’ve done your keyword research and spent a little time using a tool like BuzzSumo to drill down into specific post ideas you have the makings of an annual editorial calendar. (Here’s a post on how I use BuzzSumo)
Now, let’s make this content pay.
In one sense you already have. Your post will most certainly help your SEO efforts the chosen topic and set the table for shares and links. (By far my most shared content is over 1,500 words)
Let’s say one of your posts describes the sixteen most awesome ways to do X. It’s long and it’s meaty and people devour it, but you know what would be cool – if you added a one-page checklist with all sixteen points.
Wow, people are actually opting-in at a pretty high rate, why don’t we see what happens if we buy some targeted Facebook ads to drive some cold traffic to the post. All of a sudden content is making our advertising pay off.
If all these new people are going to opt-in we should make sure that our email follow-up directs them to last month’s epic post so they begin to realize how glad they are that they know us.
Now, let’s amp things up a bit.
Our blog post on the sixteen most awesome ways to do X would actually make a nice presentation. We could simply promote it to our audience and hold a webinar, but why not reach out to some potential strategic partners and offer to do it free of charge for their audience instead.
This is a great way to extend the reach of your content, but more than that it’s a great way to get referred by a trusted source and potentially meet some very qualified prospects.
The key to making channels pay is a commitment to producing the most useful content possible.
- Content makes your advertising more effective
- Content makes your selling efforts more effective
- Content makes your referral outreach more effective
- Content makes your SEO efforts more effective
- Content makes your influencer outreach more effective
- Content makes your email marketing efforts more effective
- Content makes your social media efforts more effective
- Content makes your PR efforts more effective
Much has been written about the need for great content, but I believe it’s more than king or queen, it’s more than a channel, it’s air – we need it survive. It is the catalyst and enabler for every other channel we use for growth.
This isn’t a call to write more, better content – it’s a suggestion that you must change your view of what content has become and what it must mean to your ability to grow.
Put epic content at the center of your marketing efforts – do less, but do better – and you’ll find that you have far greater opportunities to expand in every direction.