Content marketing: The right (and wrong) way to go about it

content marketing mistakes

There is an adage: “Content is king” — increasingly because of the way Google prioritizes materials, and also in the way potential clients build confidence and trust in your business (brand). If your website and social media have great, relevant content that is truly useful, you’ll attract more business, at a cost far lower than most other marketing methodologies.

However, how do you get started, and how do you avoid the pitfalls, which can include crappy (spammy) “content”, while maintaining enough consistency with patience for your strategy to work?

Michelle Calcote King has written a worthy post: “7 ways to overcome content marketing?s biggest challenge: just getting it done” and in the process has won a content marketing “win” from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) in the association’s weekly eletter, and now, here.

Her approach makes sense for medium to larger architectural, engineering and construction practices/businesses, with dedicated marketing coordinators and relevant “subject matter experts” who provide the meat behind the content. (She rightfully points out that the experts are often not the best people to publish the final work — they are architects, engineers or project managers, not writers, after all.)

The approaches she suggest work well for an in-house marketing environment. Can you contract the work out or leave it to external marketing specialists?

The answer here is more complicated, in part because there is a lot of truly awful stuff being hacked and marketed by “content marketing experts” and I see this every week, with offers of “free editorial contributions” to my websites/blogs or “opportunities” to accept paid promotional posts “with high quality and relevant editorial material”.

These proposals/offers rightfully land in the computer’s trash file. But some of the marketers are persistent (presumably because they’ve read the books and help articles about follow-up). They try again, and again. Worse, some personalize the message but the personalization goes way awry when the same touchy-feely message comes to me for different and unrelated websites. (We publish a network of regional construction industry publications, each with their own identity and website.)

There are of course experts who will get the content generating strategy right, by truly understanding your business/practice and working with you and your subject matter experts to draft and execute the plan. You’ll probably find these experts NOT through spammy email introductions but through personal relationships and connections.

(I think one of the greatest value of national association membership and attending relevant conventions are these relationships — you can connect with peers who aren’t competing against you with similar problems and challenges, and who may know relevant suppliers and services to help out.)

So, yes, build a content management strategy, and implement it. But be thoughtful and patient and careful about with whom you align yourself, because you don’t want to be blindsided when you discover your “great content” is considered to be spam by the majority of its viewers.

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