You hear it everywhere that “content is king” and that in order for your business to experience growth online you need to blog and add regular content to it. Today, that is only partially true.
We all know that there is something very wrong if we will admit it to ourselves. There are more blogs than ever created every day and even more blogs that are created and after a short time companies stop blogging.
Why is this happening? Why do businesses feel that they don’t understand blogging or believe after they start blogging it’s a waste of time and stop?
The answer is simple and yet the solution is complex.
Just yesterday I was in a group meeting with a number of business owners and sales people. Everyone is trying to talk about something that they just don’t really understand and have not successfully experienced.
Minds are closed and made up about the value and worth of blogging and social media and even how to use it properly for any given business.
You see, the mantle has been beaten over and over again that if you’re going to succeed online you have to create content.
I say that is bologna!
There is more content and information available than at any other time in human history. In fact, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO and Chairman of Google, recently said that “in 48 hours more information and content is created than all of human history combined through 2003.”
Do you really think that what you need to do is put out more content?
Do people really want to read one more article that is just your re-hashed company newsletter that really says nothing, means nothing or helps no one?
Why Content in 2014 and 2015 is a Bad Thing
In the past month I have read hundreds of blog articles, sat in on a few internet marketing webinars, and heard from several social media “experts” as they talked about how businesses can build their online presence.
My fear is that these “experts” are already getting behind and talking about creating content from a 2010 – 2013 context.
Here is the summary of what they said:
- Write a blog article as often as possible
- Tell them in the article what you do
- Share it on social media after you post it
- Update Google Webmaster Tools
- Watch your analytics
I sure wish it were that easy!
Let me ask you a question; how much time do you have as a business owner, executive, marketing professional or sales person to read articles and blogs that in no way interest or help you be better at what you do?
That’s what I thought!
The truth is that too many are being taught to use content marketing in a way that they themselves don’t even like to be marketed to.
You don’t like to read things that don’t help you or you’re not interested in.
Yet how many of us are:
- Creating content that you would never read yourself if you weren’t the one who wrote it?
- Sharing our products and services on social media and yet we would never look at that or click the link?
- Post stuff on our blogs and social media that when we see it from others we are annoyed by the content clutter?
Here is the harsh reality. Contrary to what the overwhelming majority of people are teaching businesses;
CONTENT IS NO LONGER KING!
The Real Solution to the Content Problem
Now that I’ve established with you the reality of why content is not helping you, why no one is readying your blog and why no one is engaging or buying from you as a result of your online efforts; let’s talk about the solution.
If content is no longer king, what is?
I propose that CONTEXT is the new king.
What do I mean by context? What does that mean?
Your business exists for the sake of your customers. Why do they buy from you? What attracted them to you? Why do they keep coming back?
There is a context for that.
When I was in graduate school I learned that a good dissertation required a lot of research, time, strategy and thought.
So does blogging and social media.
If you want new readers, site visitors, prospects and customers then you must talk to them and their needs; not about you and what you have to offer. That’s context!
It doesn’t matter what you have to offer or sell if reader or prospect feels that it’s all about you just trying to sell them.
Context changes the perspective and moves the content from being about you to being about them.
How Do I Determine Context for My Website, Blog and Social Media Marketing?
Great question, I thought you would never ask!
You start with doing the hard work. The work that on the surface looks easy until you begin to peel back the layers and think about it.
You have to work through the initial following questions:
- What business am I “really” in?
- What problems do I “really” solve?
- Who do I “specifically” solve them for?
- How are my products or services a part of the solution?
It can take weeks or even months to work through these issues. But it doesn’t take long to realize how powerful your language changes as you shift from content to context. You learn to think differently both online and offline, rather you’re in an elevator or in front of the monitor.
When you write a blog article your context is always written to one person. Meaning you solve only one problem or meet one need per article.
You learn all of this when you lay the foundation and make the move from mass marketing to context marketing. (Click here to learn more about the context of mass media marketing and its contrast to context marketing)
Context marketing means you’ve done the research and the work. People want to know you understand them and that you’re competent.
Content marketing was originally created with the idea that you can demonstrate why someone ought to feel they know, like and trust you.
I’m not buying that as we head into 2015.
Relationships are predicated on experience. People who find you from Google or maybe even on social media have little or no experience with you but what they can determine quickly is if you are competent or not competent.
In all of business, people buy from you because they initially felt you were competent to solve their problems or meet their needs. Competency is the initial entry point to creating a relationship. Competency is the starting and the ending point.
Just think about it for a moment. If you’re competent in the beginning and people believe you can help them and they buy you and you do a good job for them, you will start creating a meaningful relationship.
But let’s not be fooled. Let’s be honest here for a moment. You can be the nicest most caring person in the world but if you start costing your customer money or you consistently make mistakes or have to offer refunds for a bad product; are they going to continue spending their money with you?
There is a BIG difference between liking someone and sharing a beer with them and buying from someone!
I can still like you and enjoy a relationship with you, but only up and to the point that you can help me. The reality is that all business relationships start and end on competency. Very few survive a friendship in business if you’re not competent.
Context is the process of establishing competency. It’s the initial starting point where people decide if you understand them and can solve their problems.
Once you can answer the questions above you have to take it one step further and plan. I’m not talking about a content calendar either. Personally, I don’t have one because I meet with people so often that they share with me the problems they have in real conversations, blog comments and social media posts. I know I’m writing about real solutions to real issues for real people. Not a fabricated content calendar that traps me into a false sense of security.
You might be different and you might need that. I’m okay with that. But I want to teach people how to listen, hear, critically think and then put your words into a context that really helps people.
That means each blog article and social media post has to have a context. Writing content for the mere sake of writing content is only going to make your website look like you care more about yourself than those you want to serve and earn as customers or clients.
So here is my thought; if you want to be a company that puts in;
- Less effort
- Less time
- Less thought
- Less strategy
- Less consistency
- Less work
- Less patience
Then don’t bother wasting your time contributing content that your readers, prospects and customers won’t value. In the end, it really does make you look worse off than if you had not written a thing and you’ve wasted your time.
Everything you do in your marketing requires a set of strategies, goals and objectives (ie executable tasks). If you don’t have those with your context then you merely have content that no one cares about.
I am confident some are not going to agree with me here. That’s AWESOME!
I have a firm belief that the more we learn and are open the further we can go. Just last week I earned a $40,000 / 3 month consulting contract with a Fortune 1000 company because they get what I’m saying. They’ve heard all the same stuff everyone is teaching and do you know what happens when you end up looking and sounding like everyone else?
You’re absolutely right! You reach no one online because we are all alike.
But, if you take the time to establish your context you will realize that you really are very different. You have unique passions, perspectives and a voice that attracts those to you who identify with you and needs you!
Now let me ask you, do you prefer to just write content and blend in or learn your context so that you can stand out and attract the right crowd?
If you choose the latter and you don’t know where to start, I encourage you to visit my Begin Here page and learn how you can stop the decline of your blog!
Do you agree or disagree? Do you have an idea or a question? If so please leave a comment below and let’s have a conversation around context vs content.