Blogging didn’t save my swimming pool company.
Neither did Content Marketing.
Or Inbound Marketing.
Or Social Media Marketing.
Titles vs. Philosophies
Nope, despite the phrases that are so often used (myself included) when describing the River Pools success story, I must be frank in admitting I’ve gotten to the point where I cringe a little when people ask me, “Marcus, tell us about how blogging saved your swimming pool company.”
But I get it. Titles and words are important. Such is the case when describing the actions we took while attempting to resurrect a swimming pool company that was weeks if not days away from closing its doors forever.
The thing is though, “blogging” in and of itself isn’t a philosophy. Neither is content marketing—at least not how most people understand it.
You see, the thing that saved River Pools came down to our philosophical shift as a business.
For 8 years, from the time we first opened our doors, we saw ourselves as “pool builders.”
That was it, pure and simple.
Then, as we were forced to look deep within and embrace the possibilities that came with content marketing, a massive shift occurred in two essential ways:
1. We saw ourselves as teachers (In this case, we taught people about fiberglass swimming pools.)
2. We saw ourselves as problem solvers (If someone had any question about pools whatsoever, we’d be the source.)
It is for this reason when people approach me today and ask me to define the phrase “content marketing,” my answer is as follows:
“Your company’s ability to be the best teachers and problems solvers in the world at what you do…digitally speaking.”
If you’ve ever read a definition of this phrase before, you’d likely agree my take on the subject is a different one, but in my humble opinion this is the definition that will truly help businesses small and large not only get results with their content marketing efforts today, but also have a strategy that can guide them for years to come—no matter how many social media and content marketing platforms come and go.
In an article published here a few weeks ago, you may recall my announcement of River Pools Manufacturing. With our first pool shape being offered to the public, it became necessary to educate consumers about the new model. For this reason, my partner (at River Pools) Jason Hughes created this page on the new design, aka “The Greco.”
In the fiberglass pool space, most pool shapes on other manufacturer websites get one or two sentences describing each. Frankly, this lack of consumer education has always bothered Jason and myself, which is exactly why he spent hours designing a page that addresses just about any question a potential pool buyer could have about this model. By using text, visuals, and videos, Jason is able to give consumers an incredible feeling of clarity and understanding when it came to this design. The helpfulness, as you might imagine, is already paying big dividends. Despite our extremely meager model selection of only one pool shape (for now), the Greco is already becoming a huge seller, much of which can be attributed to the aforementioned web page that is all about addressing every possible question a consumer might have.
I hope you understand why I’m using this simple example my friends.
From now until the end of the internet (and well beyond that), the businesses that see themselves as teachers and problem solvers, and then take the time to tell the world what they know, are going to earn the most trust and ultimately the most business.
This reality will not change.
Nor will the fact that most businesses will never make the simple connection between sales and teaching/helping, which is why those that do will have all the advantage in the years and decades that lie ahead.
Food for Thought
As you go about business this week and consider ways to find further success with your digital marketing efforts, I’d ask you to consider these words with respect to your business:
- Are you a teacher?
- Do people see you as a go-to source for solving their problems?
- And are you obsessed with being helpful every step of the way?
If you can truly answer “yes” to each of these, my guess is you have a very, very bright future ahead…