A Story About Content Marketing

This is Part 1 of a 4-Part Course called "The Small Business Equalizer." If this is your first time here, I recommend that you start at the beginning.

In 2011, I wrote a blog post about the day I became an entrepreneur.

I vented about my job and how it made me feel like a company expense instead of a taco-loving human.

It was a quick read of my thoughts and opinions.

Average at best.

But I shared it on Facebook and boom, shockwaves were sent from my island of the internet. 

The post was flooded with likes and comments. It was shared by dozens of friends. And I got messages from strangers telling me how they were dealing with the same shit-bull at their own jobs.

I like to think my content’s gotten better over the years.

I know more. I’ve had more experiences.

But today, even with my content being 10x more polished than before, it’s 100x harder to get any traction.

Why? 

I’ll share 3 reasons why hustlers are struggling with content marketing.

But first, let’s look at why content marketing is so popular to begin with. 

3 Reasons Why Content Deserves To Be The Cornerstone Of Your Marketing

Before I start, reasons like SEO and traffic are obvious to marketers, but to the non-expert, they might as well be myths about Bigfoot. Have a conversation about “keyword optimization” with a life coach and you’ll know what I mean… 

Instead, I’ll talk about the intangibles. The things you need but can’t measure:

1. Content builds your authority as a thought leader in your niche.

I met a guy at an event who bragged about being "the best real estate agent in California."

He talked a big game.

So when I checked out his website and found a cookie-cutter site from his company (with nothing but his photo and phone number), I added “Don’t Pick Up” to his name in my phonebook.

On the other hand, I see my friend’s posts about real estate trends on Facebook at least once a month. She talks buying vs renting, different types of loans, and what lenders to avoid.

I’m not in the market to buy a house, but if I was, she’d be on my list of top 3 people to call. She doesn’t have to tell me I can trust her because she’s shown me that I can.

That’s what good content does. It demonstrates authority instead of merely claiming it.

2. Content is your differentiating factor in a crowded market.

I love my truck. I want her to keep lookin' fresh as the day I got her custom-painted.

So when I was looking for a detailing service to give her the spa treatment she deserved, the problem I found was that all companies promise the same thing.

Then I found a person running a one-man show. He wrote articles on why he used certain soaps over others, how all paint inevitably shows damage over time, and about his overall fascination with custom cars. 

I was sold. 

While every company's before & after pics were impressive, this guy was the only one who showed passion for the job.

3. Content builds lasting (profitable) relationships with your audience.

I sold t-shirts in my first business.

But behind the scenes, I did it everything else too: designing, manufacturing, distribution, promotions, and the whole kaboodle.

I didn’t realize it was marketing back then...

But I’d write behind-the-scenes blog posts to share the process and guess what?

People were down it.

I'd get thanked for the stories and some even wanted to promote me because they could relate to the hustle. 

I made friends with influencers, they’d share my content to their networks, and orders came in whenever I released new designs.

All this from publishing content that built relationships with my community.

Authority, Differentiation, & Relationships Are Requirements For Any Business To Be Successful

But be warned. 

While content marketing can grow a business, it can also sink it.

Here's the typical scenario:

Hustlers get excited and decide to publish content. They make a plan, set a schedule, and post fresh releases every week.

After a month, they get no results.

It takes time to make content so without results to keep 'em motivated, they give up before they even get started.

Sound familiar?

3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Is A Dying Tactic And What To Do Instead

That's why it feels impossible to get results with content:

1. Everyone’s doing the same thing.

Remember when you needed to have a degree in journalism to publish an article? 

Neither do I.

Search your topic and your competitors will show up before you do.

Open social media and content you care about is already on your feed without trying.

Do nothing and content will still manage to find you.

No matter what you do, you're bombarded with content the second your Star Wars alarm clock goes off in the morning.

Whether its on Instagram, YouTube, blogs, or on the walls of a public bathroom...

Everyone and their momma is posting content these days.

2. People have shorter attention spans.

We have the same, 6-second attention span as a goldfish, or even worse, a pacific blue tang (that's Dory from Finding Nemo. Yes, I'm dorky like that).

Companies blast us with jokes, tutorials, skits, and medleys.

They use to get our attention and dammit, it works every time.

I know because that "Nationwide is on your side" jingle keeps creeping into my brain.

Make it stop!

Our brains are pulled in a thousand directions so if you don’t hook 'em within 6 seconds, your content’s already forgotten. 

This leads to the third and most frustrating reason.

3. There’s no guarantee people will find your content.

Algorithm changes will turn your business upside down.

Because even if you spend hours creating helpful content, algorithms make it impossible to get discovered.

And it's not just the little guy.

Influencers with huge followings struggle to get engagement because these updates force 'em to rethink their methods.

And it’s across the board too: Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any platform you can think of.

Technology evolves constantly.

And it’s why you can have 2,000-person audience and only have 100 people see your content, if you’re lucky.

In The End, Technology Makes Content Easier And Harder At The Same Time.

Easy because it lets anyone publish. 

Hard because content gets lost in the noise.

The good news is that the ways to make content work are in the same reasons why they wouldn’t.

  1. Everyone’s doing the same thing? Good. Do the opposite. Zag while they zig. Realize that content comes in all sizes and shapes so find a medium that isn't crowded.
  2. People have shorter attention spans? Fine. Don’t worry about them. Focus on the people who are serious about their problems. Because someone who won’t pay attention for one minute probably won’t pay for your service either. 
  3. There’s no guarantee people will find your content? No worries. Give yourself the best shot at getting found by going where there’s the least competition. The internet's not the only place people. Zag while they zig.

Is content still king? 

Yeah.

It prob'ly will be forever.

And while your niche might be action-packed with content already, that doesn’t mean stay away.

It means thinking outside the box when it comes to producing content that matters.

You might be thinking, "I get it. But Dammit. Content is so time consuming."

I feel ya on that one.

No one's thrilled about going on vacation to do content marketing, unless you're a vlogger I guess.

So let's dance over to Part 2 where you'll learn about the only piece of content you need in your business. The piece you'll create once and promote over and over.

This is how you save time.

When you get this right, it'll be like having an army of heroes saving your best prospects and bringing back dedicated fans.

Wouldn't that be nice?

Let's boogie.