Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing material to ensure you gather and retain customers. Personally I think nothing beats some good old fashioned lead generation activity, even if it can be soul destroying at times, but nonetheless content marketing is here to stay.
However with my generation – the millennials – content marketing has become somewhat of a buffer to avoid making phone calls and attending meetings. Phone calls and meetings are unfortunately the life and soul of most businesses so it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Now I want to mention that I’ve got no issues with content marketing, in fact I enjoy the process of researching, designing and reaching out BUT I’d never replace it as my main source of lead generation. So I’ll explain why I’ve got beef with content marketing below.
1. It’s Too Fluffy
Get down to the basics of content marketing and it’s just another form of lead generation that’s masked as something less intrusive. Whilst some content marketing tactics will work and they will drive leads, they’ll also drive even more people that aren’t interested or are simply wasting your time.
To me content marketing, even though it gets very specific with targeting and where it’s placed, it runs the risk of getting published and lost in the WWW, attracting vanity metrics that make us believe it was a success.
If you stick with the knowledge that content marketing is a lead generator and accept that getting views and visitors isn’t an actual metric of business then you’ll be OK. Saying that, we’re placing more value on vanity metrics than ever and that is scary when it comes to projecting real business growth – cash, debt, expansion etc.
2. It’s Too Slow
To survive in business you need money, you need sales/leads and you need it from day one. To be honest any form of traction that involves some sort of money transaction is great, small or big it all adds to the financials at the end of the day.
Now with content marketing it takes time, serious time that involves research, design, creation and then the marketing. Personally I’d rather invest that time and money in sales training to ensure everyone and myself is fully focused on initial traction and growth of the business. Sales training is some what more successful in delivering tangible results from day one.
A lot of online marketing strategies tend to revolve around the magical 6 month time period before any of your investment starts to see some fruition with results. Even on a bad day or week of cold calling and email prospecting you’ll probably find more leads and success with traditional lead generation than you would waiting and marketing your content.
Realistically it’s a time:risk:reward ratio that needs to be addressed with content marketing, more so during the early days of a business when traction and money is so important.
3. It’s Hard to Justify
There have been many projects and ideas that have been put on hold, why? Because these ideas involved investing a lot of time for potentially no results. Whilst we read plenty of successful and wonderful case studies of wildly profitable content marketing campaigns we don’t hear about the many attempts that fall flat.
Content marketing takes a lot of time to research and determine what content is needed to answer a problem or an issue. For me I found that in the worktops industry there’s hardly been any innovation or progression into a newer age of online business and awareness. This has been ripe for content and marketing with, so far, a number of pieces doing considerably well.
But again if you’re not a decision maker when it comes to spending the cash then you’ve got to think long and hard about how you’ll pitch the content idea for the time and money it needs to have allocated to it. From this perspective you’ll see that it’s very hard to justify it, the hours dedicated to it alone can make business owners squirm with the thought of lost productivity on something that might flop.
My final take
Whilst this whole article may come across somewhat negative in nature I want to ensure that I’ve got no problems with prospect of content marketing. What I have beef with is that the process itself tends to distract and takeaway from real business developing actions with false hope coming in the form of number of views and visitors.
I’ll always look for material that I can create and market to grow my audience and grow my brands but in the end I’d be hard pressed to even consider giving up old school methods of building business during the crucial traction stages. Until there’s a solid line of business coming in and the time is right I’m sticking with emails and phone calls.