One week from today, Copyblogger turns 11 years old.
In some ways, it feels like only yesterday that I came up with the concept for this blog in December of 2005 and launched it the next month. Except that I was 38 at the time, and now … I’m not (ahem).
There was plenty of emerging talk about commercial blogging going on back then, and Copyblogger was specifically designed to add to the conversation in a way that wasn’t being addressed. Fortunately, I had spent the previous 7 years figuring out how to build online audiences that built businesses.
Today we call that content marketing, and in this sense, a lot has changed in the last decade or so. We now have a multi-billion-dollar industry churning out massive volumes of content — content that’s too often massively undifferentiated and uninspired.
In other words, much of it is missing the mark.
It’s (Still) All About the People
Compared with a decade ago, we now have all of this fabulous technology that allows us to implement automated conversion funnels, adaptive content experiences, and powerful segmented email marketing. To add to that, you’ll hear a lot about AI-driven chatbots, web-based virtual reality, and machine learning in 2017.
And yet, none of that matters without the basic stuff that we learned as bloggers all those years ago. It’s the human element that’s important, first and foremost.
At the foundation of what we do as digital marketers is influencing human psychology, telling creative stories, and delivering value that leads to a unifying sense of connection. Add marketing technology to that, and then you’re hitting it out of the park.
That means you need a content strategy that marries the motivations of your prospects with your business objectives before anything else. And yet, the latest research from Content Marketing Institute shows that just 37% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers have a written content marketing plan.
Maybe we should start there?
Strategy Doesn’t Just Happen
An effective content strategy should guide you toward reaching and speaking authentically to the tribe you want to lead, not insincerely pandering to whomever shows up. That means understanding your own core values and living them through an engaging human voice.
We’ve heard the word empathy over and over for the last few years, but do you really know what the buyer’s journey looks like from the perspective of your prospect? Do you understand what they’re thinking, feeling, seeing, and doing along the way?
And finally, are you just delivering information, or are you delighting your audience with stories big and small that differentiate you and make the competition irrelevant? Does the content you produce clearly reflect a winning difference, or are you simply mimicking someone more established and popular than you are currently?
Take a brutally honest look at your digital marketing and content efforts. If they’re not as good as they could be, let’s make them better — together.
Brian is Back in the Saddle
I love referring to myself in the third person. It’s one of the perks of this job.
And for the first time in many years, a big part of my job will be running Copyblogger. Not only from a strategy standpoint, but also by writing here each week.
Big deal, you’re thinking (rough crowd!). Fair enough, but this announcement is more about holding myself accountable to practicing what we preach when it comes to strategy, techniques, and ideals.
Plus … I’m just as fired up about what we’ll be sharing with you this year as I was 11 years ago, when all I thought about was consistently delivering relevant value to the Copyblogger community. We were fortunate enough to grow an 8-figure business from those efforts, and now it’s time to get back to basics to take things to the next level.
Just remember, back in 2006, I didn’t have a business model or a product to sell. All I knew was that if I helped you, you might be inclined to do business with me.
Like I said, back to basics. More on content strategy starting next week.