Is creating content worth your time as a business owner?
Content is king. You need content. Share more value. Similar advice is trumpeted over and over again as ‘what you need’ to do to grow your business digitally. It’s said so much that it gets nauseous hearing it over and over.
Author: Frank Wazeter, Dec. 1, 2020
Here’s the real question: is it actually worth your time as a business owner?
As a business owner, I’ll bet you aren’t living the perfect life as you ‘should’ be where employees are taking care of specific jobs and tasks so you can exclusively focus on marketing, sales and leading the company. More likely, you’re spending most of your time putting out fires, wearing 17 hats and making up for gaps in the work to ‘get shit done’ and ‘make it happen.’
Let’s be ultra real here: when you’re running around between sales appointments or pitches, focusing on fulfilling product / service demand and making up for any other gaps not covered by team members (if you even have the appropriate amount), you probably aren’t thinking “yeah, I need to stop everything I’m doing right now and create content.”
You also aren’t going to make content or post it during the “down time” because there really is no such thing as down time in business. Saying you’ll handle it during down time is a nice way of saying “it’ll never happen, but I’m going to say we’ll do it when we’re slow so I feel better about it.”
So, here’s what happens. You go out, business hits a rut or you’re looking for new ways to grow, invariably you’re brought to a situation where you have to grow via digital, and inevitably when you’re talking about growth on the internet, someone’s going to suggest content.
1. Content is good for SEO.
2. Content provides value for buyers.
3. Content helps qualify leads.
Bottom line, it helps the sales process of your business, therefore you should do it.
Content creation is never going to be a priority and get done consistently enough to make it work unless you make it a priority yourself.
Except, you’re not a writer and you’re not a web geek, and barely trying to figure out the marketing part of things and making all this content seems like it’ll take forever and then managing it on social media is going to be a huge headache.
Maybe you’re super innovative and you actually try it out for a few weeks, it doesn’t work out, you didn’t receive a single new client.
Then you start to think “my competitors aren’t doing this, so I don’t really need to anyway, that probably works in a different industry, but content doesn’t work for mine.” Plus, you didn’t get any results from the content you bought or spent all that time making, so it’s a waste of time.
You stop making content, stop publishing it, move on to do the other things that’ve worked ‘forever’ in business, whether that’s advertisement, praying for a referral or cold sales. Sooner or later you get frustrated again, wonder what can we do to expand the business, and the cycle repeats itself.
Let’s put an end to the vicious cycle and answer once and for all if content is worth your time.
The best way to begin thinking about your content is as an information asset for your business. For one thing, it’s literal intellectual property and for another, in pretty much every sales process in pretty much any industry, there is always a ‘research phase.’
A research phase is where prospective customers and clients are seeking information about a product, service or solution to their problems. This is an important aspect to consider when you’re talking about content creation because it’s fundamentally about understanding buyer psychology.
Once upon a time, buyers would get their information from the sales person. Before the widespread expansion of the internet, it wasn’t like most consumers sat there and went into the library to research their problems, possible solutions and what they should buy. Maybe they read a local newspaper or saw an article somewhere, but by and large it was the salespeople who owned the information.
If you had a problem with your feet, you’d talk to the shoe salesman and describe your problem, they’d answer your questions and come up with a solution. If you were considering what type of paint to paint the living room with, you’d seek out the person selling the paint and ask them information about it, the options, how long things would last and so on.
The more technical the subject matter, the more complex the problem, the more important the role of the salesperson in being a conveyor of accurate information to help the consumer make a decision.
Once Upon A Time Sales People Held All Of The Crucial Buying Information
Typically, what this meant for businesses is that the salesperson who was more educated, more informed and could convey that knowledge the best to a potential buyer was the one who was going to make the most sales by far. Plus, if there was ‘hidden information’ that only people in the industry knew, this put the salesman at a decided advantage over the buyer because the only reliable source of information was from the agent representing the industry.
The internet changed how obtaining crucial buying information was done.
Now, rather than having to talk to a salesman about a product or service, a consumer can research the topic at their leisure and find an absolute wealth of information about any given topic. As the internet ages, the more information becomes available. This access to information empowers the consumer more so than ever before.
While salespeople still have a role in being educators about the nuance of their product and services, they aren’t the exclusive source of knowledge about the product or service anymore. This is an incredibly key distinction.
When you no longer have critical information, whether that be in research, question and answer format, pricing or technical data, being monopolized by one profession that does two things:
1) The playing field is equalized, sales becomes much more about the connection and craft than about the information.
2) Customers enter the sales process much more informed than they’ve ever been before.
Yes, you’re still going to have customers who couldn’t be bothered to do any research on the internet ahead of talking with you or your team. But the definitive average consumer is coming to you much more informed than ever.
Where does that consumer get that information? The internet.
A simple Google search, question asked on Facebook, or inquiring Tweet and suddenly that person is linked to a wealth of information about the problem, your industry, the solutions, and about 30 different options.
Simple truth is, if you aren’t publishing your information (content), you aren’t a real option for most.
Increasingly more people are making their decisions before ever talking to someone and the smaller the dollar amount, the less human contact in the purchasing decision. If you aren’t leveraging your expertise in your field and transforming it into reference guides and published information (content) available to potential clients, then they’re just going to get it from someplace else.
They’re still going to do the research. They’re not going to ‘just call you’ to get the information, they’re going to get the information from someone who accommodates the way they want to receive the information: whether that be audio (e.g. podcast), video (e.g. YouTube), written (e.g. Blog) or otherwise.
If you aren’t in the content game on a basic level, you’re just losing business to a competitor who is capable of publishing two coherent thoughts together.
We do an incredible amount of useability studies on websites. We heavily feature phone numbers and call to actions and opt-ins: you know, the fancy words for “get the customer to call / contact you.” Yet, the sites who do not provide any kind of guidance or informational based content to their clients simply do not get the calls because the customer isn’t confident in their ability to deliver on the product or service.
The Content Trend Isn’t Going Away
As time goes on, this isn’t getting better. There’s just going to be more and more information saturation and frankly, the businesses who have the biggest audiences following their content publications are going to be the ones that thrive and grow the most.
While it’s not yet a ‘necessity’ to do business, you can always, of course, roll up your sleeves, go out and hustle and do things the old fashioned way. And at some level I always recommend doing so, but know that this isn’t a temporary trend.
I was around the internet early enough when business owners in the early 2000’s were all saying “this internet thing is a fad, it’ll fade” and “I don’t need a website” and “people still prefer doing business in person” and most of those businesses are either totally stagnated or they’re out of business entirely.
Because the internet isn’t going away. Content is the life blood of the internet, and as a result it’s not going away either.
Conclusion and Key Takeaways Is Creating Content Worth Your Time As a Business Owner?
You don’t have to be publishing a mega amount of content, but you do need to get yourself out there. Once upon a time, salespeople were the source of all information about buying a product or service. Now, consumers do research online before they buy.
Increasingly the younger generations, who are becoming the prime target customer for many industries, prefer to do just about anything to avoid a phone call. That means that you aren’t just going to get phone calls with people ‘asking questions’ often.
When customers do call, it’s almost always after having done at least a little bit of preliminary research, all powered by content on the internet. What that means for you is the content you publish on the internet, on your website, is a crucial part of your sales process that is just as important as what pitch your salespeople give your customers.