We write, develop and produce websites for many customers—especially professional services providers.

From day one of our engagement, our goal is to guide our clients into a Content Marketing program that will turn their new online property into real and lasting business value.

Interestingly, some forego our counsel and choose DIY | Do it Yourself for creating all of their content. And once the website is launched, the result all too often goes something like this: “We love our new website but now we’d like to drive. We know what we’re doing and we’re going to turn ourselves into a content factory.”

Stop the self-promotion

This questionable decision often leads to a steady stream of content about projects, parties, awards, or other self-directed interests. All great for them. But what about the prospects and customers they’re trying to reach and influence? How does any of this address their needs, pain, or challenge? If you’re not answering “What’s in it for me?”, no one will care or engage with what you share.

As Jay Baer of the Convince and Convert blog and author of YOUTILITY points out in his popular book, success with online marketing today requires turning your organization into a continuous provider of education, insights and entertaining content that will aid your prospects and customers in helping them find, choose and use your product or service.

The result is that a YOUTILITY can become the trusted online destination that attracts visitors and keep them coming back.

Without well-defined goals and a structured content marketing strategy, many content marketing novices just end up creating more unnoticed noise that their customers or prospects won’t be satisfied with and certainly won’t comment on or share. A more effective path to success would be to stop the noise and start adding some value.

Turn off the noise and answer “What’s in it for me?”

Revisiting the primary objectives of a content marketing program is appropriate. For those ready to step up to the commitment and investment required for success, here are a few goals to aim for:

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1. | Brand Awareness

High-quality, purposeful content that is directed to the needs of customers can showcase your organization’s expertise, category authority and unique differentiation.

2. | Brand Loyalty

When readers find themselves consistently turning to or sharing a brand’s content, they begin to view that brand with higher credibility. The result is the brand’s attraction and likability increase and customers are more likely to remain engaged in a mutually rewarding relationship.

3. | Customer Education

Educating prospects and existing customers is one of the most efficient ways to leverage the value of the expensive content assets that you create. When you answer “What’s in it for me?”, the results can improve customer satisfaction and reduce the demands of your sales or customer service team.

4. | Customer Engagement

Consistent content publishing provides the opportunity to both connect with customers and prospects as well as respond to their comments or questions. Engaging with your targets in this way humanizes your company and presents a personality for your brand by consistently answering “What’s in it for me?

It’s worth considering that plenty of research has exposed that people want to buy from other people—not a faceless, unapproachable entity that they can’t relate to or connect with.

5. | Talent Recruitment

One of the more overlooked benefits of carefully considered and distributed content is how it provides the opportunity to showcase your organization’s vision and culture to potential employee candidates. Smart and aware talent will self-select and recognize themselves as good prospects for your team if you provide them with substantive content that demonstrates how you think, act and perform as an organization with a difference.

If it’s only AAM, it won’t deliver any ROI.

A well structured and delivered content marketing program can serve to educate, entertain, or provide the opportunity to engage with your target customers and prospects. Staying focused on “What’s in it for me?”—your prospect or customer—you can increase site traffic too. But a content marketing strategy that’s focused exclusively on an increase in site traffic could be a good indicator of shameless self-promotion.

Prospects today are smarter and more connected than ever. Overly promotional content could prevent your target from understanding how your product or service is different and why it should be considered over others. And a continuous stream of spammy content could damage your brand’s credibility.

Marketing today for every business is all about online. And for those who have embraced Content Marketing, they have now become publishers—and media companies too—in the most real sense. So ready or not, your company is now in the content business. And two important questions must be answered:

  1. Will you become a supplier of education, insights, and tools that prospects + customers will find relevant and valuable to help them research, choose and use your solution?
  2. Or will you publish a stream of ALL ABOUT ME content that will push people away?

What are you producing?

Are you having publishing and distribution success that is engaging and enlightening your customers? Or is there room for improvement? Please share your experience.

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