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The Two Most Important Content Marketing Success Factors

Two success factors:

1) Content Marketing Cannot Be About You
2) Ship

Although this Inc. article from Joel Spolksy is geared toward entrepreneurs, it’s worth the read.  While I disagree with Joel’s decision to discontinue his popular blog (the one that helped him launch and grow his business), the key to his commentary is this point:

To really work..a blog has to be about something bigger than his or her company and his or her product. This sounds simple, but it isn’t. It takes real discipline to not talk about yourself and your company. Blogging as a medium seems so personal, and often it is. But when you’re using a blog to promote a business, that blog can’t be about you. It has to be about your readers, who will, it’s hoped, become your customers. It has to be about making them awesome.

Please go back and read this again.

Not following Joel’s advice on this is where almost all content marketing programs (not just blogs) go wrong.  Brands think that content marketing is about the clever usage of text, video and other channels to attract prospects to you. It has to be about something more than this.  It has to be about solving your customers’ pain points. It has to be about making them great…and while doing that, they become your customer (see this thinkorswim case study for an example of this). This is exactly what we’ve tried to do with Junta42.

Success Factor 1: Your Content Marketing Program, to be Successful, Cannot Be About You

Now for our second success factor.

I was in the car yesterday for a long stretch and had a chance to listen to most of Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin (sidebar…anyone who is working a job and does NOT have a career, read this book).

Seth stressed the key difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs – shipping. Successful businesses consistently ship products or services. They don’t wait until it is absolutely perfect. They get it out there. They take the risk…consistently.

I’ve presented over 200 times in the past three years and at some point through every presentation I discuss two keys to content marketing: 1) Quality content (see success factor one – it’s about your customers) and 2) consistency (or shipping). I’ve never looked at consistency as “shipping” until after I listened to Seth’s book, but that’s exactly what it is.

Shipping is your content promise to your customers. Shipping…getting the content in the hands of your customers is far more important than it being perfect.  Content marketing is NEVER perfect. If we waited a few more days, or had a few more reviews, I’m sure we could get closer to perfection.  The key insight here is that perfection isn’t the goal.  The goal is making an impact on your customers…to maintain or change their behavior in some way. If you don’t ship, that will never be possible.

Success Factor 2:
Whatever your chosen channels for content marketing, consistently ship.