Debunking The Myth That Content Is King
Some harsher critics may call me a hypocrite or the nicer ones point out the irony that I am producing content only to say that content is not the holy grail to solve all your customer acquisition problems.
While it may seem this way, it is a fact, and it is about time someone said it.
While many glorify it, there is a tiny detail that is often underplayed: producing content is a full-time job and not something most people do well at all.
Regular people have work and personal lives and have to plan with limited time their content production. Plus, many do not enjoy nor have talent for content creation at all.
I know a guy who loves content and spends all his time doing it but his content is terrible, never gets any likes, and he has no clients.
Unfortunately, we are living in an era where there seems to be a popular myth that if you want to build a business and attain new customers, you must become a content factory.
In fact, full-time content creation feels dominant in the online business world.
Blame this trend on Gary V. who credits content for his business success. I admire his success so I only say this to point towards the way people always try to replicate success tactics from someone living a very different reality who has very different goals than themselves.
Over the past couple of years, many are following this path thinking content is the new gold rush.
The results are skewed priorities with small business owners spending hours daily between producing content and being online yet wondering why they aren’t growing or converting customers and eventually burning out.
The facts are this:
Social media is full of professional writers, either posting under their names or ghostwriting for others.
Graphic designers are putting out drool-worthy carousel graphics.
AI artists are posting the most spectacular images generated in Midjourney and other AI tools.
Full-time podcasters and YouTubers are the new celebrities.
You really shouldn’t try to compete unless you are one of them.
To make matters worse, everywhere you look, there is artificial engagement with fake bot comments, boosted posts, and engagement pods designed to drive up your views. Fake, fake, and more fake.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on the Creators. On the contrary, it is wonderful to see talented and creative people exercising their art. They are lucky today that social media channels make it easy to reach the world.
But I draw the line when Creators give business owners the impression that content alone is the golden ticket to success and they should spend all their time and attention on it.
My clients are solopreneurs or small business CEOs who don’t have professional content backgrounds and can’t spend forty hours per week producing content. Yet the gurus are telling them otherwise.
Unless you are selling professional services around content (graphic designer, writer, video expert, podcast pro, etc), you can get away with doing much less than you think.
Here is my advice on what really needs to be done to get new clients for your business.
1. Figure out where your target clients spend time. Depending on your market, your decision makers may not even be very active online. Go where they are and adjust your client acquisition strategy accordingly. But never, ever ignore social media completely because even for clients who aren’t there regularly, many will look you up on social platforms if they consider doing business with you.
2. Diversify your marketing and sales activities. Never put all your eggs in one basket! Make sure social media is only part of your strategy, not the heart of it (unless you are selling creative services, as I mentioned earlier) and that you have other significant activities besides content.
3. Brand content and social media content are two different things. Your brand content is the core long-term, lasting content you own like a blog, books, podcast, or video show. Social media content is fleeting and short-lived. The goal with social media content is usually to get clients to go check out your core brand content.
4. Prioritize your efforts. Never build a content strategy first. First is your website with a lead magnet and SEO and sales pages. Then comes your email strategy to nurture leads. Third comes your core brand content strategy (blog, video, podcast, or all of the above, if you have the money). Social media only is fourth on my list. And sometimes even lower priority, depending on your business.
5. Hire professionals to organize your content for you to the degree you feel comfortable with. Start with a business coach to design your goals and strategy then move to niche marketing experts or a content agency. Never DIY content at scale if you are trying to build a business. If you do, your competitor will hire experts, and then your content will look way too basic.
6. Don’t produce content in real time. You should be batch producing 70% of your content aiming to provide on-brand, high-quality information, recycling 20%, and allowing 10% for random, spontaneous posts. Outsourcing your content partially or entirely will help tremendously.
7. When you post online, don’t forget the links to send leads to offline (example: include a link to a lead magnet on all socials) and make sure your links are trackable!
8. Don’t go hot cold where you post a lot then flake. Set up a consistent system and commit to it. That shows your clients what kind of a person you are.
9. Remember content doesn’t work passively. Besides strong CTAs, engage with every comment, send DMs, and try to convert from your content by getting people onto calls or to take some other key action.
10. Give it time. Plan on content taking years to work, not months. It is a long game and no one can promise that you will go viral. As long as you see positive progress in Sales, you are doing it right.
11. Measure metrics and adjust as needed. The main metric to follow is simple: sales. If you aren’t seeing enough progress, hire a new team. Don’t repeat things that aren’t moving the needle at all.
To summarize, social media more than not will never be the heart of your business growth strategy but only one piece of a much bigger strategy. Unless it is your full-time speciality, hire qualified help. The quality of your content should match the quality of your business and should speak clearly to one sub-niche. Don’t forget your CTAs! You should have a large, diverse sales and marketing strategy that is not that dependant only on content. Stay focused and consistent and you will see results!