The Two Most Powerful Words in the World of Content Marketing Right Now

by Marcus Sheridan

contentI honestly believe 99% of businesses make content marketing much harder than it should be. They really do.

And because they do, they get weak results.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it in just about every marketing presentation I ever give from this point on, but the great philosophy to successful content marketing comes down to a willingness to address subjects—good, bad, and ugly—that no one else in your industry is willing to tackle.

This philosophy carries over to any realm, anywhere, at any time—B2B, B2C, whatever. It doesn’t matter.

But it’s also this same philosophy that paralyzes most companies.

If you’re asking yourself how this is so, just take a look at these examples:

Consumer Question: What is the average cost of [insert your industry’s product or service here]?

Bad Marketer Answer: We can’t answer that on our website.


Consumer Question: How would you compare your product to [insert competitor here] product?

Bad Marketer Answer: Sorry, we can’t address that on our blog.


Consumer question: What are some potential problems of your [insert your product or service here]?

Bad Marketer Answer: Why talk about problems when we can discuss everything that’s great with our product/service!?

Are you starting to see a trend here?

Consumers like to ask hard questions.

Businesses tend to run from frank answers.

And because consumers are smarter than they’ve ever been, they can sniff this out from a mile away and end up losing all respect and trust for said company.

It’s because of this trend I believe every business and marketing department from here to China should have a huge sign in every hall of their company that says:

Stop Ignoring, Start Answering.

But what if a question doesn’t truly have an answer? What if—take the “How much does it cost?” question into account—the answers vary from customer to customer, client to client, never having the exact same response?

Here is where the two most powerful words of content marketing come into play, which are:

“It Depends.”

Ahh yes, that’s right, “It Depends” are the two most powerful words in content marketing today.


The Power of “It depends”

And why are they so powerful? Simple, they denote a company’s willingness to address subjects others will not, all because there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer.

Many of you have heard me talk about this before, but for years with my swimming pool company, the very first question just about every potential customer asked sounded something like, “About how much will a fiberglass pool cost?”

Because our company decided to answer every question we had ever received from prospects and customers, this “cost” article was one of the first we wrote. And because the article ended up ranking for so many “cost” and “price” related keywords in the swimming pool industry, and because we’re able to track the leads we get off of our blog articles at River Pools, to this date that one single article has made our company over 2 million dollars in sales (and still growing). You can read more about how we know that number here, but the main point I want to make is within that article, our core answer to the question of “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” was ridiculously simple—It Depends.

Yep, the willingness to take a question and then say “It Depends” made our company over 2 million dollars in sales—think about that for a second.

As you read this, you may be thinking, “Marcus, saying ‘It depends’ isn’t an answer, and that would just upset me as a reader.’” To which I would respond, “You’re right, which is exactly why you don’t simply say “It depends” and leave it at that.

The key in making consumers happy is helping them understand *why* it depends. For example, in the fiberglass pool cost article we give a detailed overview of the options and accessories one might consider when planning their pool. Once a reader reads these accessories and options in a well-explained manner, the phrase “It depends” makes total sense and therefore satiates their appetite for an answer—leading to more website page views, more trust engendered, and ultimately more chance they end up buying from YOU.

By explaining why the cost depends on many factors, we were able to generate amazing traffic, leads, and sales at River Pools

By explaining why the cost depends on many factors, we were able to generate amazing traffic, leads, and sales at River Pools

So that’s our simple challenge my friends. Whether your business is big or small, B2B or B2C, I’d challenge you to seek out the tough consumer questions within your industry. Don’t ignore them but rather embrace them. By so doing, you’ll establish yourself, as my friend Jay Baer would say, as a “Youtility” (get the book!!!) within your industry and amazing results will surely follow.

Your Turn:

A simple question for you my friends: Tell me about a time in your blogging/content marketing efforts you tackled a tough question with an “It depends” type of answer. What were the results? And for those of  you that have yet to do this, what the heck is holding you up??? ;-)

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