Content marketing and gamification are hot topics these days. Partly because marketers need something unique to sell, partly because they were neglected real estate outside of SEO circles.
But if you’re a small business owner (or even a large business owner), content isn’t always the best way to sell your product. Though marketing circles treat it as something that is for everyone, the hard reality is that it’s an extremely situational form of marketing.
Why Not to Do It
- Every dollar you spend, every hour of time commitment you spend, is money lost or not invested in media. If you do not recoup that investment, it’s a vicious spiral of wasted time.
- To recoup the investment, you need traffic - organic or paid. Traffic you could be directing to your product, you are instead sidelining to make yourself a thought leader.
- Learning to make good content requires more time investment than just writing, posting and driving traffic. It also requires an analytical mind to measure and refine through analytics. Learning to make great content is a life-long commitment.
How to Do It
- Have a source of traffic, a way to get people to your content. Don’t rely on “virality” because you can’t really control that. If you don’t have a media plan, and you don’t know it’s smart, it’s not worth doing.
- Have patience. It takes a long time to build up a following on content. Years.
- Follow the rules of good journalism: Write simply. Write about topics people care about. Cut down as much copy as you can. Have a unique hook.
- Once you have people viewing, refine, test, refine, test, repeat. Understand who your audience is and where they come from.
- Make sure people care about your topic. If your product audience is niche, make niche content.
If you are a small business owner, strongly consider strengthening your product sales first, before going into content creation. If you are doing it as a branding exercise for a mid-size or large company, understand that while content works towards that goal, it’s not going to have a measurable impact on your bottom line at the end of the quarter.
Overall, please, weight all the options. Almost all content creation endeavors, outside of a select few major online publications and people who are smoke / mirroring by getting income through another channel, fail. This is fact. Tread lightly my marketing fellows.