Is your marketing content really doing what you need it to? This may seem like an unusual question to start with but I find myself asking it multiple times each week. When it comes to marketing, especially in the digital arena, even the most savvy business owners I know don’t dive in and really ask this question.  When I ask why, the answers I usually receive range from the promises seem too good to question, I don’t have time, I can’t really get an answer I’d understand anyway, and, well, it just seems like magic. 

The truth is all of us can be daunted by what we don’t know, and then there’s the lurking complication that we don’t know what we don’t know.  This blog is devoted to getting you some of the information you need to make sure your marketing is on the right track.

It also may lead to another question – just what is your marketing supposed to do? That’s a larger topic for another time but (in short) there are two things it needs to be doing for you at a minimum each week: clearly delivering your message and raising your profile with your target audiences. We’re talking about print, digital and verbal marketing here.

Anyone who reads our #p42funfactsfriday feed knows we’re Stars Wars nerds here.  So when I was putting together the CLE on the dangers of marketing content, it seemed to be a very apt title.  After all, there is a very real, very dark side to marketing content.

Here are the top 3 attacks to be on guard against:

1. When it is unoriginal.

The reality is most of us do not have time to plan, develop and distribute original marketing content each month, let alone each day. We also do not have it in our budgets to hire someone to be on our staff to do it for us. As a result, the first thing to go by the wayside when we get busy and super-stressed is our marketing efforts (even when it was those efforts that directly led to the “too busy” problem).

The majority of us fall somewhere in between sporadic marketing efforts and outsourcing the responsibility. Let’s talk about the latter.  Unfortunately, most of the major solutions out there are not giving you what you need in today’s marketplace because they’re not developing custom content just for you or using a branded message.  In the best case scenario, this type of marketing content will hopefully crossover with your message 30% of the time. In the worst case scenario (that we see all too frequently), your content is shared with the other couple hundred or so subscribers with a message directing the reader somewhere else away from your website and contact information.

2. When it is just wrong.

Most of us don’t have time to stay up-to-date on every social platform launched (or redesigned), search engine functionality and/or business directory out there. Keeping this contact information continuous and consistent, however, is at the very heart of brand management and vitally important to your success.

As ridiculous as it may sound – how your business information is listed makes a huge impact on your marketing efforts. For example, if you own an LLC, the question becomes is it really “LLC” or “L. L. C.” or “L.L.C.”? The slightest bit of inaccuracy can have a devastating impact on whether or not a search engine finds you. What’s the impact? If the search engine can’t find you, your potential clients can’t find you.

3. When you don’t really own it.

Let’s say you get the first two attacks handled. Then, at some point in the future, you decide not to move forward. Before you say anything, you need to re-read (or read) the fine print of your contract.

In over 2/3 of all standard contracts out there for marketing services, you do not really own “your content” or “your momentum” at the end of your contract. Instead, the company owns it and will decide the next steps. You need to have a backup plan in place before you start asking questions or considering termination. Questions like:

  • Where will all your digital momentum go?
  • Who really owns your website domain?
  • What about your website text and site structure?
  • Why is my blog not on my website?
  • Who controls your email lists?
  • Who owns your social media feeds?
  • What is your hashtag strategy?
  • Do you have to be prepared to start from scratch?

When it comes to your marketing content, reading about the dark side can be hard.  It can be even harder to have a conversation about it but you need to so you know where you stand. And, if it is not where you want to be, you need to plan your next steps.

Let us know if you want to talk about where your marketing contracts stand.  If you want more on this topic specifically, let me know. Content ownership (and the disturbing lack of custom content for most business professionals) is a topic near and dear to my heart.