“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin
Perhaps it is fair to say that people often make excuses for not doing things that they should be doing. We make excuses for not leading a healthier lifestyle or exercising better habits like being early. Life is littered with plenty of “should have’s” for plenty of no good reasons.
And when it comes to your business and prioritizing sustainable growth, the inclination to make excuses is no exception. If there is one thing that I’ve observed: the most successful people don’t make excuses – they just do what needs to be done. They are disciplined and know that anything worth real value and benefit takes effort, because it will pay off in the long run. When it comes to content marketing, there are no “short-cuts” or “easy fixes;” it takes focus and effort – and demands that a company knows its clients’ pains, problems and challenges so that it can deliver solutions and add value.
I’ve compiled some of the worst excuses for not having a content marketing strategy for your business…and ways you can turn excuses into action instead.
1. “There isn’t enough time to sit down and create.”
One of the most common reasons businesses aren’t producing content has to do with time constraints. Though, when you really think about it, we always makes time for what matters and content is critical to your future marketing success in the marketplace. If you are citing time as your reason for not creating content, then you will be left in the wind. Like it or not, content is here to stay. Brands that are actively involved in creating content have higher customer engagement rates, period.
I have read some great pieces by other content marketers that address this very same issue of time and their advice is pretty consistent across the board: Every day, create a little. Spend 20 minutes outlining, jotting down notes, capturing your good ideas. The truth is that creating content on a consistent basis is a behavior you should integrate into every day, like checking your emails or planning your calendar. It’s a long game strategy for sure.
2. “I have no idea where to start.”
Ah, the start button conundrum. Well, my friends – Walt Disney said it best, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Translation: stop making excuses and get going. It’s intimidating to start, but my advice is to start where it matters: your customers. They are the reason you are creating content in the first place. You want to add value to their lives with information that they want. Your content is about them, not you and your business. Therefore, perhaps the best place to start is to look at your client list and make sure you understand their needs, problems / challenges, and how your business serves as the solution.
You can’t possibly know what to create when you don’t know to whom or why you are creating. It is always my strongest recommendation that businesses create what are known as Buyer Personas: fictional representations of your customers that organize your customer base so that you can better understand their needs and address them through your marketing messages and customer service. You can download my free ebook on how to create buyer personas here to get started!
3. “I’m not a good writer.”
Creating content is not about being the best writer. Don’t let this get in the way of sharing your ideas. It is about creating value in only the way you can. No one knows your business or your customers better than you. Therefore, allow yourself the freedom to let your ideas flow without worrying about your writing technique (or lack thereof) at this point! First, get your ideas out – in whatever way works for you. You can make lists, jot down notes on napkins, maybe you like recording your ideas with a voice recorder. All of these methods are great for first capturing your ideas and expertise. At this point, consider reaching out to a peer or colleague to help pull it all together and proof read. Reference some of your favorite blogs for structure and best practices. Also, for guidance on certain writing techniques, check out my other blog article here.
If you can communicate your ideas in a clear, easy to understand, and memorable way – you can also get it down in writing or recording to share with others. The truth is, the more you do something, the better you get at it. So get out of your own way and seize the tremendous opportunity to reach your audience directly.
4. “I can’t think of any new ideas to share.”
If you are someone who has succumbed to the notion that you have no new original ideas of your own… then read more. Our minds are sharpened by the information we take in from others. The more you read, the more you will find you have ideas of your own to share. Also, the more you read, the more attuned you will be to what is not being said and therein lies your opportunity to share an idea that is relevant to your industry, but offers a different perspective. You can also go straight to the source to get some ideas: your clients! When is the last time you asked them for their feedback? They, and people just like them, are why you are creating content in the first place! Don’t forget to check-in with them to see what they want to know more about.
Remember, it is not always about saying something new as it is sharing something in a different way that is uniquely all your own. Here are some more helpful tips on ways you can improve your content marketing.
5. “I don’t know which tools to use.”
There are plenty of blogging and content marketing tools out there to help you create, curate, and publish content. While there are plenty of tools, I recommend trying to master a few at a time rather than all at once to avoid feeling overwhelmed. There are different tools for different activities. To help offer guidance, here is my short lists of absolute favorites:
For curation / publishing:
For design / presentation:
6. “My audience doesn’t read about my industry.”
This is simply not true. Your audience has a need that you are meeting. And within that need are a host of topics or issues related to that need or challenge that your audience cares about. This is your opportunity to be creative, add value, and demonstrate to your customers that you get them. Don’t forget, you are the expert in your industry, but your clients are not and there are a lot of opportunities to demystify and educate your audience on topics that really matter to them. Financial services is a great example of an industry that is always relevant and increasingly complex. What ways might a financial planner take topics like retirement or tax-efficient investing and make them palatable to its audience?? Or a plumber or landscaper offering DIY videos for some of the easier projects around the home?
Still don’t believe me? Research your keywords yourself using Google’s Keyword Planner.
7. “I would hire someone to help, but it costs too much.”
The only way it could cost too much to hire a qualified, content marketing professional is if the business doesn’t set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals. No matter how talented a marketer is, they are not magical wizards who can create success without understanding the business goals. Marketers are not cat herders and they cannot read your mind. So, if you are going to consider hiring someone as an in-house marketer or an agency, have some very clear ideas of what you are hoping to achieve with this added expertise and over what time frame. This way, your content marketer can successfully align the content strategy with the business’s goals and measure progress accordingly.
Also, the marketer you hire is expert in marketing, not necessarily your industry (though you can find marketers that focus on specific industries, which can be a real added value). Therefore, make sure that there are content experts identified within your organization that your marketer can tap into for the information he or she needs to create the content calendar and other industry-specific details.
Consistent content marketing over time, results in increased awareness of your brand, higher customer engagement, leading to increased revenue for your business by as much (or as little) as you are willing to put into it. So, while you may say that it would cost too much to hire this specialization, the research says that the potential return on your investment far outweighs any direct costs. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (demandmetric.com)
8. “My business doesn’t need it.”
Based on the facts I just shared above (and again here), businesses do need content marketing as part of their marketing mix; there is no doubt. If you have the opportunity to grow in revenue, reduce marketing costs, increase influence, and scale consistently over a steady period of time, why wouldn’t you? If you are frustrated that no one knows your brand and you struggle to reach your target audiences… content marketing is your ability to overcome those challenges with a well-planned, carefully executed and measured strategy.
9. “It’s not sustainable.”
Content marketing is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. It is not a strategy you decide to try out for 60 days, see some results, and then quit. For content marketing to be successful, there needs to be a commitment to adopt good habits. It is a healthier, honest, customer-focused, value-adding strategy that encourages conversions through authentic customer engagement, not quick fixes and cutting corners.
Think of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Chris Cringle would send Macy’s customers to other stores for the merchandise they were looking for if Macy’s didn’t carry it or was sold out, rather than try to sell them on something they didn’t really want.
Similarly, content marketing is about positioning yourself as a resource and solution to your clients without being narrowly self-serving. In the end, you are the source they go to and trust for the needs you and your business serve. So, content marketing should be sustainable. It’s an everyday choice that builds credibility, trust, and customer advocacy day after day.
My best advice is to stop making excuses why you can’t or don’t have a content marketing strategy, and start figuring out when you will make it happen. There is no reason why companies today shouldn’t be leveraging content marketing strategies in their overall marketing programs. It is the strategy of customer engagement and social selling. This is where we are today and it’s what consumers have come to expect. Don’t trail behind when you were born to lead.
To help you get started on your journey, feel free download my free ebook: Starting Your Content Strategy with Buyer Personas.
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