We hear lots of talk on the web about “awesome” and “epic” and “unique” content. And although I may deviate in my view of how we should define “awesome content,” I think we can all agree that most content doesn’t stand out, most blogs fail, and most companies are left wondering where they went wrong and why they never seem to generate more traffic, leads, and sales with their efforts.
If I may cut to the chase, the majority of these companies fail because of two people, or should I say two “groups,” that crush content marketing success each and every day, in every walk of business life.
Who are these groups? Let’s take a look…
The “Big Five”
Most long-time readers of TSL know how I feel about the dire need businesses have to discuss the essential topics/questions all consumers want to know about when it comes to the buying process. These “Big 5” (as I like to call them), when it comes to any product or service, are:
- Cost/price articles
- Problems articles
- Vs./Comparison-based articles
- Review-based articles
- “Best of” articles
For example, just to make sure everyone understands exactly what I’m talking about here, let me show you a few articles from my swimming pool site that correspond with the Big 5 I’ve just mentioned:
- How much does a fiberglass pool cost?
- Top 5 fiberglass Pool Problems and Solutions
- Concrete vs. Fiberglass Pools vs. Vinyl Liner Pools: Which is Better?
- A Review of Barrier Reef Fiberglass Pools
- Who are the Best Swimming Pool Builders in Richmond Virginia?
Whether you sell a product or service, consumers are using these 5 subjects to vet you. They want to know how much your stuff costs. They want to know any problems/issues/drawbacks your products or services have. They want to know how you stack up against the competition. They want to know the reviews of any product, service, or manufacturer you’re associated with. And finally, they want to know the “best” your industry has to offer.
This is just the way it is folks, whether you sell rocket fuel to NASA or after-school tutoring in New York City.
In other words, please don’t think you’re an exception, you’re not.
Every client, business, and reader I’ve ever dealt with applied to all 5 of these subjects.
And because you’re not the exception, you’re left with a choice: Either talk about this stuff or ignore it.
Sadly—and here is the mind-blowing part of this—the overwhelming majority of businesses ignore these subjects, all because of those two groups of people we mentioned earlier.
The Competition and Bad Prospects
Whenever I talk about the need to discuss cost and price information on a company’s website, there is always two main reasons why people resist. Can you guess what they are?
The first, as you might imagine, usually sounds a little like this:
“But our competitors will find out…”
Alas, the competition—the first major cause of blogging and content marketing failure.
The second, if you guessed right, sounds like this:
“But we’ll scare certain people off…”
In other words, the second group that causes content marketing death are those persons that are not a good fit for our company (i.e.—those we don’t want to work with).
Stop Worrying about the Stupid Competition
Let me ask you a very serious question:
When was the last time your competition paid your bills?
I’m guessing your answer is “never,” correct?
Notwithstanding, instead of worrying about legitimate prospects that are searching the web right now for answers to their critical buying-questions, we ignore them…we tell them to essentially “go away,” all because we don’t want the competition to learn what’s in our mythical “secret sauce.”
This all means we care more about the competition than those persons that allow us to make payroll on Fridays.
Are you seeing anything wrong with this picture?
The 80% that Ain’t a Good Fit
I get asked often why I list price and cost information for my services here on TSL. I get asked the same question regarding my swimming pool site. My clients also get confronted with this question.
Although there are multiple answers for this, the two main reasons for such a simple decision are as follows:
1. They generate a ton of visitors and leads
2. They filter those visitors (roughly 80%) that are not a good fit for my business.
Why is it that we are so afraid to readily admit that we (our products and services) are not a good fit for everyone? Fact is, if someone reads cost and price information (or versus, problems, best of , etc.) on your website and is clearly not qualified, why the heck would you want to spend your valuable time helping them when you could be dealing with someone who is in a buying position?
For years I met with pool shoppers that clearly did not have the budget/desire to buy my product. And why did I meet with them? Because I never took the time to properly qualify them until we went through much of the buying process—and I certainly didn’t teach them well on the front-end through content marketing.
This all meant hundreds of hours a year that were wasted on people that would never be a good fit for my company—all hours that could have at least been spent doing something way more beneficial, like being home with my wife and children.
My case isn’t unique though. Thousands upon thousands of businesses are making the same mistake I was making all those years.
Instead of teaching, informing, and educating qualified prospects, they’re busy worried about two groups of people (the competition and bad prospects) that will never impact their business’ bottom line.
So here is the challenge folks:
1. Never, ever allow thoughts of the competition(what they will do, or find out, or think) to hinder your content marketing approach.
2. Don’t be afraid to lose those prospects that will never be a good fit anyway.
The moment you adhere to these two principles, I’m telling you everything will change. Your content will be better. Search engines will like you more. Qualified prospects will see your expertise and therefore trust you more than ever.
And even better, those silly little numbers called “sales” will likely take a direction you never previously conceived.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Why do businesses worry more about the competition and bad prospects than they do about their ideal customer? And in your experiences, how has your organization (or one you’ve worked with) overcome these fears?