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15 Reasons Why You Don't Leverage Content Marketing to Grow Your Small Business

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April 2,2013

By Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Although most businesses use content marketing in some way to attract and retain customers, the majority of businesses do not have a clear strategy when creating content. This is the main reason why, according to Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs research, just one in three businesses feel they are effective at content marketing.

Here's 15 reasons why you may be stuck in a content marketing rut.

  1. It’s hard. It’s more difficult to consistently create valuable and relevant content for your customers than place media. It’s easier to just place an ad. Listening, creating, co-creating, commenting, and actually having real customer conversations is harder. Higher payoff (and a content asset), but harder none-the-less.
  2. Your company is set up to sell products or services, not to provide relevant and valuable information to customers and prospects. It takes a real mindset change to start thinking about your customers’ informational needs as part of your marketing strategy.
  3. Thinking like a journalist doesn’t come naturally. Most marketers don’t know how to connect the company’s knowledge/experience/expertise with the hopes, fears, desires and objectives of their target market.
  4. You have well-worn marketing paths that are easy to follow. Going off the beaten path into uncharted territory is intimidating.
  5. You have strong relationships with media partners that may go back decades. It’s not easy to break those relationships by pursuing a brand-new content marketing strategy.
  6. The reduced effectiveness of traditional marketing may have occurred so slowly that no alarm bells have gone off within your organization. You also may think things will come back at some point…and there are folks in your marketing department that actually think that social media is just a fad.
  7. You think you’re doing it already. A number of B2B businesses point to their random collection of poorly done white papers, their mediocre newsletter, and their occasional articles or reports or corporate blog posts and call it thought leadership. They think they’re already doing a decent job even though there is little strategy, consistency, quality or results.
  8. Many companies (possibly yours) aren’t measuring their marketing, so you may not even be sure what is and what is not effective. Hard to make any changes when you don’t know.
  9. You lack both the right people and the right processes to implement a new kind of marketing.
  10. You are reluctant to abandon traditional marketing tactics for what your superiors may believe to be unproven content marketing or new media practices.
  11. You lack content marketing role models from whom they can learn best practices.
  12. You place very little value in marketing versus other aspects of the organization (operations, product development). Little do you know, that every part of the organization is affected by (or actually is) marketing.
  13. Even though I’d hate to think this one is true, I’ve seen it first hand…You have some closed-minded employees running marketing for your company that don’t have a clue about the needs of your customers or what to do about it. Before you can even look at content marketing, you have to ditch them.
  14. You don’t know where to start. It’s just not as easy as writing (or have someone write) a few articles and slap them up on your website. A plan is required. A strategy/strategies to have content marketing address real business objectives. Pre-determined metrics to measure the effectiveness of the efforts. A crystal-clear view of your end customer, what makes her tick, and what her higher-order needs are (that can be delivered by your brand). This is why, according to our recent content marketing research, that the majority of companies outsource their content marketing in some way.
  15. We think ROI BEFORE we build the business case. CMI lead strategist Robert Rose makes this case in Managing Content Marketing. Before defining what we want to see in results, we need to first understand the need, define how big the need really is, organize the business model, understand what your differentiating value really is to your customers, and define the risks involved. For example, what are the risks if we move forward? What are the risks if we don’t (do we open an opportunity for someone else)?

What’s the biggest reason you see? Let’s add a few more to the list.

Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded the Content Marketing Institute as well as the premier international content marketing event Content Marketing World and Chief Content Officer magazine.

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