I thought content marketing would be as easy as surfing the net
As I was writing tweets for this ColdAd blog about encouraging corporate interest in blogging, I started to reflect on the subject matter and how it plays out in my job at the moment. You might also want to check out the author of that blog, Andrei Petrik. Cause he knows way more than I do.
They told us in ad/copywriting school (I won’t say the name out loud), that things move quickly on the Internet. What’s hot one day, quickly grows cold (and mold) the next. So one would figure that in-house blogging would be a safe haven from the daily shifting of the Internet’s ever-scanning eye. It’s not as if I were working at Samsung, or something, where daily trends and customer feed back move at a million times a second.
Despite the apparent simplicity of blogging for a corporate client, the day-to-day activity of an in-house blogger is quite fierce when it comes to working alongside the client. What I mean is, I thought I’d be working from home more.
So I thought I’d compile a simple list of helpful tips if you were planning on doing (or paying to have done), Inbound advertising with an eye towards content marketing through corporate blogs.
In a simple world, content marketing could entirely be done over the Internet, without the face-to-face contact of regular business. And perhaps in the future, that’s the way it could be. Certainly, ColdAd could profit from being able to do its content marketing magic around the globe, rather than being rooted in the GTA as it is.
To do content marketing right, you have to know your client
As I’ve learned, a properly managed inbound, content marketing strategy, with a keen eye towards Google-hungry content, can’t be done simply over email. Take my own job at ColdAd as a content marketing specialist for example. (And I didn’t put on the “specialist” at the end of that – but I’m stuck with it, nonetheless.)
The main issue with a mid-level-sized company is that so much work is being done on the front lines of its business. The client for whom I write blogs are incredibly busy! Their priority is with their clients and building strong relationships with them (a tactic I’m learning is key to my profession as a blogger, as well).
Being in constant, personal contact with their clients is a great sales technique. So it takes perseverance to keep the idea of a corporate blog at the forefront of their interests. Since content marketing, SEO-driven blog writing and inbound marketing are relatively new ideas, it’s not yet well-known how effective it can be in creating brand awareness, Internet Search visibility and ultimately, in terms of generating leads and income.
And if I learned anything from the ColdAd interview with Jim Estill, it’s that some employees are simply not cut out to be writers. But that’s fine, cause that’s what us writers are supposed to do. Generally for 5 cents a word in the “blog farming” community.
I figured that emailing and such were simple ways to keep organized and on top of communication. But, what actually happened to me was something else.
When content marketing meets a deadline
Blogs need approval from two different sources. The topics as well have to go through scrutiny and approval before they can be written. Tweets as well have to be approved. Some blogs get ignored because the material is too vague.
Where’s my blog? I ask
Some blogs get “tabled”, as in, they’re fine, but not for now. So I have to come up with something new, pretty fast. Even as I write this, I’m in the midst of writing / re-writing 6 different blogs across 4 different niche markets.
All of which are due tomorrow. I’m procrastinating now, obviously, so bear with me.
But fear not, corporate blogger. Because there’s a corporate system of checks and balances in place, your blog will eventually get approved. It just takes time. But this is what is so essential about being “in-house”: You are privy to the way that they conduct business. You can see what niche markets take priority. You can tell where the main interests lie and who is most devoted to your cause. You’re an advertiser, after all. So you should figure out what they want to advertise.
All of this gets personal. And it should be. Just like Ad companies that sift through the data of a large corporate entity, we all know that sometimes the most significant piece of advertising can come from an insignificant source.
But seriously, where’s my blog?
The bottom line is that blogging isn’t as easy as I’d expected it to be. But I’ve come to realize a few key pieces of learning that I follow day-to-day:
- Never assume clients approve your blogs after you’ve submitted them
- It’s best to write ahead, so you’re not behind
- Don’t assume clients are primarily concerned with your blogs
- Clients can’t avoid you when you’re there. So be there
- My best writing comes from personal interactions
- Things happen quickly in an office; less so through email
- Do your research. Read other blogs/Internet chatter
- It will give you ideas for blog content
- It will show the client you’re committed to the subject
- You may impress with your knowledge
- Write your Tweets along with the blog (trust me; it saves time)
- Don’t play Minecraft. Because your day will disappear
So as much as I’d love ColdAd to branch out to those interested leads in California, I can see how to do content marketing properly, it’s impossible. Not because the technology isn’t there yet. Certainly between emails and Skype, you would think that everything could be possible. And of course, there are other forms of business that profit immensely from the technologies of email and Internet marketing.
There’s just one caveat to the whole technology system: people.
Clients are people — but they make content marketing personal
In the end, people are prone to care more about face-to-face interaction than through email. Whatever the reason you can make up, people will only reveal themselves in person.
The Internet is fine if you’re purchasing something tangible. It’s also great for venting and sending feedback to a company. It’s perfect for learning and communicating knowledge of your company’s brand. It’s ideal for offering new products and giveaways.
But when it comes to getting a personal story (something intangible) from a client, it’s unlikely to happen over the WWW. If the Inbound approach is to work, the content marketing “specialists” are going to have to write blogs that matter, have worth, are personal, are warm, are relevant, are human.
People are unlikely to buy a car or a home over the Internet (just yet). And that’s because some purchases are personal. You have to feel good with the thing you’ve purchased. Proper content marketing portrays the same conundrum. It shouldn’t be a technique or an algorhythm. It shouldn’t be a title or keyword phrase that you can farm out for 5 cents a word, anywhere around the world.
Good content marketing is personal
And you can be sure that someday, Google will have an analytical tool that can “feel” the personal side of blogs.
So farming blogs for 5 cents a word may be fine for you now, but authentic content is worth more. It adds value in intangible ways that can be felt now, and as well, it will be felt for as long as the Internet chooses to live.
What do you think about this approach of content marketing?