Do You Know Your Why? Your Content Marketing Success Depends on It

Do You Know Your Why? Your Content Marketing Success Depends on It

Your Content Marketing Success Depends on It. Having energized employees is great for productivity. Most likely, what you sell is primary to your company’s mission, which is then passed down to your content marketing mission. Over the next five years, the majority of 3M sales will come from new products. If 3M focused its mission around specific products and services, it would not only be impossible (3M provides thousands of products), its mission would constantly change because the products change. Sure, the organizational goal (e.g., sales, savings, customer loyalty) is important, but to hit that goal we must focus on the needs and wants of the audience. How can we be so useful and impactful to the audience outside of the products and services we sell? Our mission is to advance the practice of content marketing so that enterprise marketers can be more successful in their jobs – getting buy-in for the practice, showing return for the investment, and organizing the approach so they are successful. That’s the primary focus for CMI. Once we have an ongoing relationship with them (around their needs), and they begin to know, like, and trust us, then (and only then) do we present products (like Content Marketing World) in front of them that align with that audience need and help CMI’s bottom line.

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Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when we published it last year. We’re sharing it now because it’s a critical reminder of the key ingredient for any successful content marketing program.

After listening to This Old Marketing Episode 116, Professor Marc Resnick from Bentley University responded shortly before his death with the following commentary:

“Which would energize me (or anyone) more as a creative business professional?

  1. Creating content that has the primary purpose of driving the sales pipeline and a secondary purpose of improving the life of my user.
  2. Creating content that has the primary purpose of improving the life of my user and a secondary purpose of driving the sales pipeline.

“Clearly the second one.

“I find this to be a great value proposition for why organizations should use your content marketing approach. Having energized employees is great for productivity. It is touted as the Holy Grail for millennial generation employees. And unlike other management hypes, this one really works.”

I believe most marketers would agree with Marc in theory but not in practice.

Switching the mission

In the documentary The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing, River Pools & Spas co-owner Marcus Sheridan shares the following about the company’s turnaround from near bankruptcy to becoming the global leader in Fiberglass pool education (26:54 mark):

The moment we stopped saying, ‘We’re pool builders,’ and started saying, ‘We are the best teachers in the world about Fiberglass pools and we just happen to install them as well,’ … that was one of the most prosperous days of our lives.

Before this, River Pools was like every other pool company – it installed pools. What became the difference in River’s success was moving the product from primary to secondary in the mission.

What do you sell? Most likely, what you sell is primary to your company’s mission, which is then passed down to your content marketing mission. Do you know what this creates? Self-serving content that does nothing for the audience and wastes time and resources of the brand.

Let’s consider a large enterprise like 3M as an example of what you should be doing. Over the next five years, the majority of 3M sales will come from new products. If 3M focused its mission around specific products and services, it would not only be impossible (3M provides thousands of products), its mission would constantly change because the products change.

In reality, 3M’s mission is all about helping people live a better life through advancements in science. This is a noble mission on which to base the direction of its content – focused on the needs of the audience with a specific content tilt (science).

More than ourselves

Most marketers are so terrible at content creation because…

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