Content Marketing Arms Race
The Internet can level the playing field. However, the situation is changing as some businesses know how to and focus on content creation to stimulate growth. The ones that also know how to be found in search will form more relationships and solve more problems for more people. They will be the successful ones.
To connect with your customers and potential customers today you need to consistently provide useful, relevant and entertaining content. This does not happen by accident. This requires a careful and well-thought out plan and time, effort and money to implement the plan.
To succeed on the web today you better bring your A Game. The information density on the web is increasing daily. You may be able to find a business refuge if you operate in a specific niche. In fact, today, there are plenty of companies who are still dominating their niche markets with modest content marketing programs. For these companies the key is to be ever diligent and watch for new competitors. As soon as a good content marketing company starts working in your niche you better be ready to compete with your delightful content or else be prepared to lose market share.
Build a Body of Content
That WOWs Your Clients!
To be more secure in a niche, a company must create a first-mover advantage. This means to build a body of content first that WOWs your clients and potential clients. Content marketing is fast becoming a mainstream marketing and communication approach that will help any company to dominate a market niche. A fundamental aspect for success is to have a content marketing budget and to use it wisely. The companies that dominate lucrative niches will have a body of compelling, informative and valuable content. This does not happen by happenstance. It does not happen without spending some money.
The Content Marketing Arms Race . . .
Think of content marketing today as a sort of arms race. Today, the tools to publish and to create meaningful and valuable content are available to all but the poorest companies. This makes the threat of a content marketing arms race all the more likely.
Let’s look back to a memorable historical example – The arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States.
The arms race between the old Soviet Union and the U.S. had two conflicting viewpoints which fueled the arms race. From the American viewpoint, the Soviets were the aggressors, and U.S. expansion of nuclear arms was a defensive response to the threats by the Soviets. From the Soviet viewpoint, the Untied States was the aggressor, and the Soviet expansion of nuclear arms was a defensive response to the threat posed by the Americans. But these two straight lines of thinking (both logical from the individual perspectives) form a circle.
The two individual, “linear”, or nonsystemic viewpoints interact to create a “system”, a set of variables that influence each other like the circular reasoning shown below in the context of a content marketing arms race.
The systems view of a content marketing arms race shows a perpetual cycle of competitive aggression. Your business responds to a perceived threat from the competition by creating wonderful search engine optimized content resulting in your business gaining search position dominance and more sales. This demonstrates an increased threat to your competition which leads them to create more meaningful search engine optimized content which increases their search position and search dominance and increases the threat to your business which leads you to create more content.
This is a content marketing arms race.
With a short term viewpoint, each business achieves its goals. In the short term, a business can have more and better content and a more dominant search position until the other side responds. Since both sides respond to the perceived content marketing threat the upper hand swings back and forth over short term time frames. In the long run, however, the actions of each business end up creating the opposite outcome – increased competition (less business security). The long-term result of each side’s efforts to have a higher level of business security in their niche is heightened competition.
This is clearly a new business problem. It is a new problem because all companies have tools available to them to compete online with a content marketing approach. The smaller niches are now no longer ignored from a content marketing perspective. In fact, we teach businesses to seek out specific niches and to make every effort to dominate specific niches by creating delightful search engine optimized content.
This new publishing capability has created new dynamics. Conventional forecasting, planning, and analysis methods are not equipped to deal with dynamic complexity. When the same action has dramatically different effects in the short term versus the long term, there is dynamic complexity. When an action has one set of consequences when viewed one way and very different set of consequences when viewed another way then there is dynamic complexity. In order to work properly in your niche from a content marketing perspective it is important to see the big picture and have a very clear understanding about what your competition is doing.
is an Engine of Growth
Reinforcing feedbacks are the engines of growth. Whenever you are in a situation where things are growing, you can be sure that reinforcing feedback is at work. Reinforcing feedback can also generate accelerating decline – a pattern of decline where small drops amplify themselves into larger and larger drops, such as the decline in bank assets when there is a financial panic. You do not want to position your company to be on the wrong side of a content marketing arms race or position your company to be in an accelerating decline situation.
In a reinforcing process, a small change builds on itself. Whatever movement occurs is amplified, producing more movement in the same direction. The figure below depicts a typical reinforcing feedback or loop for a sales process. Reinforcement is a wonderful thing if you position your company properly to have it affect your goals in a positive way.
What if reinforcement works against you? You may not be sure of what is happening and you may respond in an all-too-typical manner.
Typically, most businesses react to a difficult business situation by trying harder. They work longer hours. They look at a way to push through limits to growth situations by pushing harder. They convince themselves that if they work harder their business can achieve positive results. This is certainly possible. However, these positive results are often short-lived as working harder can be very tiring and a massive work-harder effort cannot be sustained for the long term. When the rate of improvement slows down from the working harder approach, many try to compensate by striving even harder (some give up).
Unfortunately, the more vigorously you push the familiar levers the more futile your efforts can become. You need to use new levers. You need to embrace the new capabilities. To simply work harder is not innovative. You are not bringing new tools into this mix. Reinforcement is not in your favor with a work harder approach. Without really knowing what is happening, people just give up on their original goals. This is not your A game.
But there is another way to deal with limits to growth situations. You need to change the levers that are available for you to push. If you are not using content marketing and the Internet effectively then you need to bring this into play. From a content marketing perspective you need to create a plan that takes into consideration what your competitors are doing and what will delight your customers. You need to define a purpose for your content marketing.
If you do not blog then define a purpose for your blog, set up a blog and learn to blog. Create valuable search engine optimized blog content to have your content show up in search and dominate your niche in the search results.
If video is a competitive content marketing advantage then define the purpose, study the tools needed and hire a videographer to create some video content and learn more about video in the process. In a short time your video content can outshine your competitors.
If the purpose is to have content to help you close sales and you define these content pieces as white papers or case studies then develop white paper and case study templates and create some convincing materials for your prospects. Provide the convincing materials needed to help your prospects to decide to proceed with your company. Form a relationship with a competent copywriter (or two) to produce some award winning white papers and case studies.
If a newsletter will help you to connect and stay in contact with your customers then develop a worthy newsletter and use this to build better relationships with your existing customers and stay ahead of your competitors.
Is Your Business on a Bumpy Road
and Going Up Hill?
One thing is certain. If your only approach is to work harder then be ready for a hard and bumpy road. The more vigorously you push the familiar levers the more tired you and your employees will become. It will seem like you have no time. You will be too tired to learn. If your competitors work on out-maneuvring you rather than just out-working you then your business will be in trouble.
Create a content marketing plan that is flexible. Be willing to spend some money. Create a budget with some flexibility. Some forward-thinking business experts even are so bold as to state that fixed budgets don’t work today. They state that a fixed budget approach is too static. A fixed budget locks managers into the past and is based on a backward looking view.
To be effective in a global economy (or even in a local economy with strong competitors) with rapidly shifting market conditions and quick and nimble competitors, a business needs to be able to adapt constantly and to put their resources where they can create the most value for customers and shareholders.
You need to have a business culture that enables you to succeed. This culture cannot be fixed on the past but rather needs to look closely at the present and at what is working and to build upon this. Your culture has to be such that it is quick to adapt and needs to be a learning culture to remain competitive.
Content Marketing – Content Marketing Arms Race Summary
Content marketing is here to stay. Content creation tools are available that enables anyone to be a publisher. Content is searched for by consumers. Consumers are in control and search for what they want, when they want to and keep searching until they find what they want.
Create useful content and a depth of content so that your content becomes entrenched in the search rankings and your company is found when someone searches for what you do and can offer.
Content marketing is a new way to market. It is a way to ensure potential customers find your business and that existing clients continue to be satisfied to be doing business with you.
Do people searching find your content? Does your content satisfy them? Are you measuring this? Do you have a culture that is competitive now and that has the foundation to remain competitive? Do you have a learning culture?
I encourage you to continue to learn and to specifically learn more about content marketing.