Stop calling it content marketing!

Tonight was my first real struggle with my 30 day blogging challenge. I had an after hours conference call to London (less glamorous than it sounds) and a work presentation to write.I didn’t want to rush my report on Concentrate’s presentation “What’s stopping kiwi tech companies selling more?”. I was convinced a quick update was all I had time for. Maybe a teaser to a longer post later. To my surprise it morphed into a full blog post.Well done 30 day challenge – you tricked me into blogging!

So here’s my thoughts on why “content marketing” is a rubbish term… 

Your content isn’t about you

“The true test of content is can you take your logo off and it still provides to your customer” ~ Owen Scott, Concentrate

Your content is about your customer’s problem. Your goal is to provide valuable resources that help solve your customer’s challenges. Sometimes your product is the answer. Sometimes you can help them by simply sharing your knowledge. Try to help and teach, not sell. Your content is designed to bring people to your company for solutions. The selling part comes later.

Marketers shouldn’t be writing your content 

Your content should be written by the experts in your company not the marketing department. The marketing team can help package the content, distribute it and capture leads. At SilverStripe I see my role as a facilitator of content. I won’t be providing expert advice on coding in PHP5 anytime soon! I believe that successful content strategies come from a company culture that embraces sharing internal knowledge to help people.

Unless you happen to be a marketing company then your customer’s probably don’t want to know how your marketing manager would solve their problem!

Most Kiwis own the best example of content New Zealand has seen

Perhaps the greatest kiwi case of creating valuable content to impact sales was years before its time. The Edmonds cook book is an institution in New Zealand. Over 3 million copies have been printed. An it all started as a tool to increase sales of baking powder. The book was filled with recipes that largely required baking powder, sales increased 30% the following year and grew from 429,000 units in 1907 to 2.5M in 1925 (Concentrate have a great blog on the full story).

Image from NZ History

Image from NZ History

Kiwi companies are still creating awesome content

Over a hundred years later there’s another kiwi company showing how to create great content to provide real customer value. Vend creates retail POS software for inventory management, ecommerce and customer loyalty. Their customer base is largely small and medium retailers.

They created The Retail Digest to offer their customer helpful (and free advice) to improve their businesses. Topics range from taking great ecommerce product photos to tips for implementing retail technology. Some of the topics have obvious links to Vend products as solutions but there’s over a 100 contributors (with a lot of resyndicated content) so it reads as unbiased retail help blog. The Retail Digest is a great compliment to the more obvious Vend content they’re producing including customer success stories and company blog.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.36.25 pm

Vend’s small logo is hardly needed on this site, it’s obvious they’re providing customer value without needing to push their brand. Of course, their products just happen to be some of the solutions to their customers problems.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.37.12 pm

Vend has positioned themselves as one of an expert group rather than the only voice. This also let’s them draw in the audiences of the contributors they partner with (who are all influencers of their own customers).

Do you have any other examples of companies producing awesome content that is helping customers? Share them in the comments – I’d love to have more inspiration on this!

3 comments

  • Pingback: Blogging challenge update: Writing on Medium | The Envy Collection

  • Loved this – really spoke to my own process when it comes to creating blog posts for companies – I like to sit down and tease out awesome insights from employees of the business in question, record the convo and then polish it up into something easy to read. A lot of the time they think they don’t think they will be that useful as they aren’t ‘bloggers’ but taking straight from spoken conversation rather than say emailing backwards or forwards really helps create useful advice and knowledge that replicates the conversation that
    users could have with those employees if we got them in the same room.

    Liked by 1 person

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