Three years ago, I started preaching the benefits of content marketing and brand publishing to the water and wastewater market. Like the flywheel example mentioned in the Jim Collins book Good to Great, it took some time to build up momentum and gain buy-in from our tried-and-true market. Today however, content creation is BOOMING as manufacturers in the water and wastewater market increase their awareness, spend and resource allocation to a content-driven marketing and sales strategy at fevered pace.
While companies are certainly seeing the benefits and rewards of that transformation, there still exist missteps that hold companies back from maximizing their potential. The good news is, these mistakes are EASY to fix. Here are four that stand out to me and how to correct them:
1. Failure to Commit. Like anything else, change is difficult. Change takes discipline and confidence but when you get right down to it, all change begins with one thing, an initial leap of faith. Once you can bring yourself to take that leap, then ACTUALLY take the leap! Sticking your proverbial “toe in the water” is not going to get you in the pool. I’m not saying close your eyes tight and take the plunge. In fact, I argue for the opposite. Dive in with your EYES WIDE OPEN and commit.
2. Failure to Meet Regularly. Many times, when something is new, it’s outside your comfort zone and it’s convenient to put it on the back burner to focus on more familiar activities. Content marketing and brand publishing require planning, coordination and weekly touchpoints. Without it, content outlines and creation are too easily placed on the back burner.
3. Failure to Keep it about the Audience. When manufacturers are new to the content marketing and brand publishing world, they usually stick with what they know and what is comfortable, THEIR PRODUCTS. Content marketing and brand publishing are the OPPOSITE of product-centric display marketing and require a hard rewiring in some cases. When a manufacturer asks me about developing content around a product launch, I ask if they want to give the audience a sales pitch or do they truly want to create a connection. In most cases, if a manufacturer understands what’s best for their business, they’ll opt for the connection. A good first step when building content around a product launch is to simply ask yourself, “What problems does this product solve?” Once identified, you can develop content about that problem or potential issue. There are many more layers to accomplishing this that I’ll tackle in a future column, but that’s a critical one.
4. Failure to Outsource. Most companies in the water and wastewater market don’t have dedicated content staff. It’s mostly handled off the side of the desk by many important stakeholders within your business. There are lots of companies of all shapes and sizes out there who can tell your story. Find one or two that you trust and have them create, distribute and track the engagement of your content marketing plan. It’s OK to ask for help, ESPECIALLY in the beginning stages. This is an important time in your company’s evolution. Lean on experts you trust to help guide you through it. You’ll be happy you did.
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