*The above video refers to 2018 prices, which reflect a half-day workshop – as of 1st January 2019, our Content Strategy Sessions are full-day workshops.
I love helping companies develop their content marketing strategy, but I recognise that our Content Strategy Sessions aren’t right for everyone.
Over time, I’ve learned what makes us a great fit for a business and what doesn’t. In this post, I want to outline some of the reasons why we may NOT be the right fit for you.
Because, ultimately, my goal is to make sure that our clients have a brilliant experience from their session and that it helps them to move forward in their business.
If you want to understand a bit more about what the sessions involve, then check out my previous blog post about what a Content Strategy Session is and what it covers.
Reason 1: You don’t have buy-in
I often find that there is a champion for content marketing in a business. Someone who’s learned about it from a peer at a networking event, from a seminar or conference, or from articles and videos they’ve watched on LinkedIn.
They quickly see content marketing as a solution to numerous challenges the business is facing, from improving their search engine rankings to saving time in the customer service team.
But if they’re not the decision maker, this poses a problem.
Done properly, content marketing becomes part of a company’s culture; embraced as a philosophy of being relentlessly open, transparent and helpful. This can’t be achieved by one person, autonomously, within a business. It requires buy-in from the top down.
In practical terms, you’ll need an allocation of budget and resources from the senior management team and a stream of content ideas from the sales team. You’ll need to draw upon the product/service expertise of the operational team, and hands-on support from the marketing/admin team.
So if you’re the content marketing champion in your business, start by building a business case and getting the decision makers on board. If you’re not quite there, our Content Strategy Sessions aren’t the right fit for you (yet).
Reason 2: You’re looking for quick results
There are lots of reasons why you might need a fast result from your marketing activity.
Perhaps you have a warehouse full of stock that you need to turn over. Perhaps you need a cash injection to cope with seasonality. Or perhaps you have a one-off event you need to promote, and a short lead time to do it.
If this is the case, our Content Strategy Session may not be the right solution for you right now.
In the session, we’ll focus on medium to long-term objectives. Our aim will be to create a sustainable plan to educate your customers, through informative and engaging blog content, over a period of time.
This work will have a lasting impact on your sales process and performance, helping to attract and qualify customers well into the future. As time goes on, the more content you create, the greater the impact will be.
It’s not that you can’t get quick results from a content marketing strategy, but they’re not guaranteed, and they won’t be our main focus during the Content Strategy Session.
There are alternative marketing tactics available to you which may be better-suited to short-term results. Social advertising, paid search and digital PR campaigns can all work to achieve a specific goal in a short space of time.
Reason 3: You’re looking for the latest tactics
Shiny Object Syndrome is a common struggle for marketers and business owners alike. With new platforms, tools and techniques released on a weekly basis, it can be tempting to jump on every bandwagon.
But if you want to know how to capitalise on the latest trends and maximise your reach and exposure with them while they’re “hot”, then the Content Strategy Session is not for you.
The session will involve going back to basics and looking at your marketing objectives in the context of your wider business goals. We’ll work on your buyer persona, honing in on who you’re targeting with your products and services. And then we’ll develop your content plan based on these discussions.
Tools and platforms may come into it later on when we speak about the implementation of your content strategy; you can certainly utilise social media tactics and trends to promote your content and get good reach for it. But it won’t be our main focus.
In order to identify the right tactics to meet your objectives and serve your target your audience, we need to develop the strategy first.
Reason 4: You’re focused on quantity over quality
Seeing content go out every day or every week makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’re achieving something.
But if you’re not that bothered about the quality of that content, and whether it meets your business objectives, then the Content Strategy Session is probably not right for you.
It may be that you’ve set a certain quota for content production as a key performance indicator (KPI), and are required to report on it to your board. But is this really an effective measure of success? How do you know if that time and effort have been well-spent?
If those articles are not carefully crafted with your ideal customer in mind, helping them to move forward in their buying journey, then regardless of how many blogs you produce, you won’t see the results you’re hoping for.
During the session, we’ll be placing an emphasis on quality over quantity.
Reason 5: You don’t have time to manage or produce content
If you are the Managing Director of the business, or you hold some other multifaceted role with responsibility for marketing, then you’re probably already stretched for time.
Do you have time to create content on top of everything else?
If not, there are ways around it. You could recruit someone, or develop someone within the team, into a dedicated marketing role. Or you could look to outsource it, by getting help from a content writer and/or blog management service.
But both of these options are still going to require an allocation of your time; to guide the strategy, input ideas, review drafts and give final approval.
So if you’re really strapped for time and you think that you’re going to struggle to set aside a few hours a week or month for these managerial tasks, at a minimum, then I would suggest that this is not the right time for you to be entering into a Content Strategy Session.
Reason 6: You’re primarily looking for profile and visibility
A small business content marketing strategy is usually tied to sales and customer experience related goals, rather than the goal of gaining visibility in your industry or network.
If it’s the latter you’re looking for at the moment, then a better route may be to develop a PR strategy, rather than a content marketing strategy.
There is a lot of overlap between PR and content marketing these days, but the primary goal of a PR strategy is to elevate the profile of the business and get exposure. On the other hand, the aim of a content strategy is to help your prospective customers to move along their buying journey.
Think it’s a PR strategy you need, on reflection? Then our Content Strategy Session isn’t the right fit for you.
Reason 7: You want help with social media strategy
As I mentioned earlier, social media does play a role in your content marketing strategy when it comes to distributing your content. During the Strategy Session, we will discuss the different platforms that will be best for the business, and how we’re going to go about promoting your articles to get readers.
But looking at your social media strategy as a whole is, unfortunately, outwith the scope of the workshop.
Aside from the time limitations, this is something more suited to a social media strategist, who can help you create a plan to grow your audience with content that is designed to maximise engagement and reach. They can also guide you on how to turn engagement into meaningful relationships and leads.
Ideally, we’d love you to work on your social media strategy and your content marketing strategy. But it’s not one of the outcomes of our Content Strategy Sessions.
Reason 8: You don’t believe that marketing and sales are connected
Is there a silo between sales and marketing departments in your company? It’s more common than you might think. Some businesses treat the two very separately, particularly where the management culture is quite traditional.
When it comes to our Strategy Sessions, content marketing is the vehicle, but sales is the destination. I strongly believe that marketing and sales are fully integrated and that an effective small business content strategy should centre on sales-driven objectives.
So if you have people at senior management level who fundamentally believe that the two aren’t connected and that they should operate entirely independently from one another, then this may not be the right session for you.
Reason 9: You’re committed to the way you’ve done things in the past
Are you or your management team clinging on to the past? I can understand why. Change is scary, and “the way you’ve always done it” is comfortable.
But here’s the thing: the old way might still be bringing in some business now (albeit less than before), but it won’t for much longer.
Now, I’m not saying traditional business development methods don’t work at all anymore. But, personally, I believe that they need to go hand-in-hand with an effective content marketing strategy if they have any hope of attracting, engaging and converting the digital buyer.
So unless you’re willing to leave the past at the door, and come with an open mind about how you’re going to tackle your marketing going forward, then the Content Strategy Session may not be right for you.
Reason 10: If you believe your product/service features speak for themselves
When you’ve worked hard to develop a unique product/service, one which offers something your competitors don’t, and which is unrivalled in its qualifications, track record and intellectual property, you could be forgiven for believing that its features and accolades should speak for themselves.
But if that were really the case, shouldn’t you be flooded with qualified leads on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, features and accolades aren’t enough. The digital customer wants to understand what they’re buying. They want to know why your product/service is a better solution for them than the alternative. They’ve got questions, and you need to provide the answers.
It can feel frustrating having to justify why your product/service is the best on the market. It can go against the grain to draw comparisons between yourselves and your competitors. But we need to put our egos to one side and focus on what the customer needs to know in order to make their buying decision.
If you disagree, then our Content Strategy Sessions are probably not the right fit for you.
Reason 11: You’re not able or willing to invest money in your content strategy
Content marketing requires investment, either in time or money. In my experience, it’s not sustainable for one person to undertake the entire content production process themselves and run their business at the same time. So that means enlisting help, by insourcing or outsourcing.
If you hire an internal team member, then you have their salary to pay, plus any other costs of their employment. The alternative is to outsource to a freelancer or an agency who can write, publish and promote the content on your behalf, which will incur fees.
Then you have the cost of tools and systems to support the content production process, plus website setup and maintenance costs and any training or consultancy fees.
Our Content Strategy Session costs £1,495, which is an investment in itself. But, beyond that, if you’re not prepared to invest in the execution of your strategy, then we’re not the right fit for you.
Reason 12: You’re in it for the wrong reasons
Some people see content marketing as a way to cut their traditional marketing costs. Others see their competitors doing it and fear they’ll be left behind if they don’t jump on the bandwagon.
But if you’re in it for any reason other than you believe it’s the best way to grow your business, then our Content Strategy Sessions are not right for you.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post and still feel the Content Strategy Session is the right solution for your business, then that’s great!
Click here to book a free consultation – I’d love to chat with you.