Stop Wasting Your Money on Content

There's a lot of pressure out there. You have to have a blog. You have to publish constantly. You must share everything you publish on every social media site, and a new one seems to pop up every other day, one with billions of rabid followers that you didn't even know about.

You publish furiously. You worry about what to publish. You try to be funny. You comment, emoticon and thumbs up, and then you feverishly check back for some sign that something is happening. 

Your content sells nothing.

Sound familiar? 

Stop. Take a breath. And give yourself a break. If you're here, you're probably a business owner or a marketing executive trying to increase awareness and sales of your product, brand or service. You aren't 15. And while teenagers do have brands these days and when this generation is grown, we're going to have some brilliant intuitive brand-builders on board, their "brands" and your brand are very different. That's because your content and your activity on social media, it's meant to inspire a whole different set of actions. 

When popularity matters

Creating content that generates popularity - lots of followers, likes and shares - matters when you want to sell ads. If you have an Instagram account with a million followers, you are now an "influencer." What's more, you likely have more credibility than earned media even, given our current climate of media distrust. If a regular gal or guy has built a million followers solo, we imagine that person is genuine, trustworthy and somehow cooler than we are, therefore a person to be followed. Big brands like that. 

But what are YOU trying to achieve? You don't need a gajillion followers. You have a specific market of people you want to sell to. You have a niche audience you want to help. 

Let's say you, like one of my clients, provide a new service that's going to help comfort millions of grieving families and create a revenue source for cemeteries. Or perhaps, like another client, you match producers in various industries with cutting-edge technologies that can transform their challenges and save them time and money. Neither of those companies needs a trillion followers laughing at their quippy comments on dancing cat videos. They need loyalty, and they need action.

Content businesses REALLY need

Businesses need to curate their audiences, not just pile up as many as possible, and that requires creating indispensable content. This is what I call becoming their Imperative. All content you create should

Answer one of your audience's immediate needs.

Show that you know who your audience is, what their problems are, and how you can solve those problems.

Waste none of their time. 

Be desperately missed if it disappeared. 

Now what?

Stop. If your content isn't moving any of your business goals forward, stop right now. There is no need to waste any more of your time or, for heaven's sake, money on spinning-wheel content. 

Review. Look at everything you've published (or all the ideas you've had for what you might publish). Ask yourself: would anyone miss this if it was gone (besides your mom and maybe Aunt Beulah)? Can my audiences get this sort of content anywhere else? If so, why would they come to me? 

Start over. Now ask yourself: what does my company offer (or what can we offer) that sets us apart? You know what product or service you offer that differentiates you, but what content can you create that is parallel to your core offering? How can we become Imperative to our audience? 

Think of it this way: how many times a day do you use Google? What if it suddenly disappeared? Where would you turn? You want to become your industry's Google. Your audiences have problems and questions. You want to be the answer. 

And guess what? That might not require a blog at all. We'll talk about that next week.