Nerdy Thoughts About Content Marketing

Nerdy Thoughts About Content Marketing

Posted on December 13, 2016 Mary Merritt

When companies ask me about advertising to get exposure for their business, it just makes me think of the show "Mad Men." A bunch of older men, sitting around a big table smoking cigarettes and sipping scotch, coming up with taglines and marketing copy. They would splash their newly written, brilliant tagline onto a sexy photo of a woman and purchase some ad space in a magazine or a newspaper. They would purchase billboard space all over the city, and maybe, JUST MAYBE--they would create a television ad starring their sexy mistress.

Advertising isn't truly OUT, folks. I am not trying to write a hackneyed blog post about how print is dead, because it just isn't true (and it is horribly overdone these days). However, when companies come to me with that million dollar question, I have to say that I am always amazed at how surprised they are when I tell them that THEY have the power to advertise their own business.

Answer me this: Who knows your business better than you?

If I am going to attempt to learn about your business, I would usually start off by checking out your website. Then I would move through your social networks to see what kind of following you've built up and how often you post (and what kind of stuff you post about). After that, I would wander over to your blog to get my mind wrapped around your writing style, your content choices and what kind of categories you have created. Then I would run a quick search to see if you've got any properties that are popping on relevant search terms. Last but certainly not least, I would run around and check out some of your competitors to see what they're up to...

Rarely am I surprised when I can't find much past the website and a couple of stray posts.

Folks, content marketing is very REAL. When a potential customer is trying to find out about your company, they would generally run through the same exact exercises that I ran through above. If they have nowhere left to go after your website and a boring Facebook page, you are hosed.

The funny thing is that anyone can sit in a room and talk about content. Those guys in "Mad Men" aren't special. Everyone has a creative edge to them, even when they don't think they do. Hypothetical situation: You run a business that specializes in selling harmonicas. You're in this business for a reason, right? Maybe you've been in a blues band. Maybe your band opened for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at some point and you've got musical connections up the wazoo. Maybe some of the finest blues musicians only trust YOUR business to deliver them the finest, most high-end harmonicas in the world. Maybe Mike Bloomfield is your best customer. That would be sweet.

My point is, WRITE ABOUT IT. Write about your experiences as a musician. Write about the differences between amazing harmonicas and run-of-the-mill ones. Write about one of your featured customers. Go to a blues festival and take pictures. Put the pictures on your blog and write about your experiences while you're at it. There is so much more to it, but brevity is something I will talk about in a later post.

Coming up with ideas should be the easy part. Especially if you come up with ideas that are relevant to your business. More importantly, ideas that your audience will find valuable and chalk full of win. The hard part is taking the time to really do it; making time to write posts and establish yourself as a really intelligent harmonica-seller will make people want to listen to you, and that can only help your harmonica business.