Whilst most of our readers will not necessarily be looking to generate direct revenue from their content, the importance of recognising the value of your content is still highly relevant.
It is this concept of valuing your content that I would like to explore in this blog post.
A word about my hobbies
To illustrate my point, I would like to talk a little bit about a couple of my hobbies, namely photography and playing bass guitar. Both of which I am looking to improve.
Do a Google or Youtube search on either of these topics and you will find the internet awash with “Free” resources. to help you on your way.
I started out teaching myself using these free resources available. Whilst this was great up to a point, it quickly became both frustrating and limiting. I therefore decided to put my hand in my pocket, selecting two paid resources to support my learning:
Bass guitar – www.scottsbasslessons.com
Photography – www.52frames.com
The first based on the paywall model, and the latter on the patreon model. Both these models allow for a level of free content, that can then be augmented by paid content as you get into it.
Because both of these organisations are getting commercial gain from their content, they are able to put significant sustained resource into generating it. The result being that the quality and overall value of the content steps up significantly compared to the free content available.
And the point is?
So what’s my point? As I have already acknowledged that neither of these models will necessarily work in the niche markets where most of our readers find themselves.
My point is that good content should deliver enough value to allow you to commit significant & sustained resource into generating it, Good content has a significant cost of production, and so must deliver a return.
That return can come in two key forms:
- Financial Return – People are actually willing to pay for it
- Marketing Return – The content delivers real marketing benefit to you as an organisation as it re-enforces your message and attracts people who are in your target market, motivating them to buy from you.
Whilst financial return is the easiest to measure, it it the second (marketing return) on which I want to focus as this is where I believe most of our readers interests lie.
Assessing the Marketing Return
When you put together a marketing plan, you will no doubt allocate resources based on the value you expect the plan to deliver to your organisation. Some of this resource will be financial (paying other people to do stuff) and some will be the “cost” of using internal resources to drive the activity. In either case, there will be a cost, and you need to be sure that this is justified by the value that the content delivers.
A word of warning
Whilst sustainability in marketing is important, It is not the end of the story. Whilst using content to say “Hi its me again” has value, you have to recognise that people will read it, so if the best part of the piece is the subject line, you are not doing yourselves any favours!
Content needs to deliver value at all levels.
You are the expert
Remember, the basis of your marketing is that you are an expert in your field. Your content should therefore reflect that. As a result, the content should give the reader the benefit of your expertise thus delivering value. But remember not to “give away the family silver”. You are not providing this content as a public service. You are doing it to encourage people to contact you, and you should not forget that when creating & publishing content. Whilst interesting, the content should not remove the need for people to get in touch with you should they need your products or services.
The pay off
As mentioned above, your content should all be about increasing the likelihood that your readers will take notice and get in touch. Whilst often subtle, there needs to be a connection between free content and your paid offering.
How not to do it
A good example of how not to do it is the website wpbeginner.com. Whilst they offer some useful content, that demonstrates their skills & knowledge around WordPress, I don’t believe that the content draws you in to purchasing their paid offerings (WordPress plugins). In fact, whilst I often end up on this site after doing a technical WordPress related search, it was only whilst researching this post that I actually realised what their paid offering is. And whilst I have used their plugins, I do not think there free content really re-enforces the quality & value of these plugins.
I do however suspect that much of their content is focused on the first business model (delivering an audience) rather than on promoting their plugins, so maybe I am being a little harsh and It would be interesting to know where their revenue comes from in reality.
A better example.
52 Frames on the other hand, constantly drops subtle promotion for its paid offerings with the free content, and occasionally makes the paid content available to everyone so they can see what they are missing. The free content is in the form of albums of community submitted photos on which members of the community are encouraged to comment & critique. However within the first few rows of the album, there are always elements promoting the Patreon scheme & content. Subtle, but it draws you in.
So if you are including content in your marketing mix here are 2 things to consider:
- You content needs to deliver value to your audience, and re-enforce your expertise in your field. So it need to be high quality
- Producing this content will have a cost in either time or money, so you need to fully understand and commit to the value that this content is adding to your marketing.
There is no doubt that, when done well Content marketing really works, but it has to be done both to a high standard, and sustained manner, so when developing a strategy, be sure that you understand the cost of production and the value it delivers.
If this has got you thinking about your content Strategy, and you would like some expert input – feel free to get in touch. We are always happy to chat.