There’s content marketing, and then there’s content marketing.
There’s the really good stuff, and there’s the kind that is completely useless and how dare it call itself content marketing.
What’s the best? Is there only one kind of content marketing and everything else is evil and to be avoided with disdain and horror?
With almost every marketing question, the answer is either “It depends” or “Sort of”.
Yes, the ultimate goal – and the highest and best of content – is that which you (and your team) generate yourself.
I’ve encouraged you to write your own content. Literally, type out the words of that blog post yourself. Record the video. Use the social media account.
And I’ve encouraged you to involve the team. Get them producing content for the firm, too.
Conversely, I’ve preached for years against the evils of generic content. This is the stuff you buy in and stick your logo on so that you can get marketing done as quickly as possible with no effort whatsoever.
But is it entirely black-and-white? Either produce your own content (good) or buy it in and use it (bad)?
We’re all at different places, in different seasons.
It’s true that your own generated content is the highest and best, but what if you literally are so swamped you can’t think straight? What if you’ve merged with another firm or your family has a new baby or someone you love is unwell, and you spend every evening at the hospital?
Rather than pure black and white rules about content, it’s more of a sliding grey scale.
There are three levels of content marketing. It’s critical to understand the difference, and where you are on the scale.
Your ultimate goal is level-1 content: but don’t despair. If for some reason you aren’t there yet, you can build up to it from one of the other levels.
1. Premium level: content that you (or your team) produce personally.
You write the blog post. Your team member creates the tweet. You record the video yourself.
This is the highest value content and that which we recommend you strive for as your ultimate content marketing goal.
We encourage this level more than any other kind of content at PF, which is why we provide multiple different kinds of training programmes to make you a better content marketer.
There are sliding scales within level-1 content, too. Simply dashing off a blog post yourself does not make it good, or useful, or appealing to your audience. Writing yet another “101 Ways To…” guide may not generate the leads you were hoping for.
Not only is your goal to develop your own content – it’s also to do it:
- With focus
- With personality
- In a way that is specifically targeted to a clear audience
2. Middle ground: someone else generates the content based directly on raw material you’ve provided.
At this level, you’re not actually typing the words out yourself, or being responsible for every portion of the video that goes out.
You provide bullet points, notes, a phone call, direct information from you and your team. You record a portion of the video and let someone else do the rest. You speak at a conference, and from your talk is produced social posts, a Facebook live, several blog posts, recorded video, and a 7 step guide.
This is good solid content, and it happens to be the kind of content we produce here at PF.
Our highest performing firms usually use a combination of 1 and 2.
3. Lowest level: generic content that has been written by someone else as a one-size-fits-all.
The only way this is truly effective is if you adapt and edit it to add some of your own personality and style.
Sending it with no edits whatsoever is either ineffective instantly, or it will be fairly quickly, as soon as anyone bothers to read a sentence or two.
It’s also extremely rare for level-3 content to be of any worth to the reader, because when you try to be all things to all people you naturally serve nobody.
For the first time in my business life I’ve discovered some content that I originally thought was level-3 content but is actually closer to a level-2…but more about that in another post! So there’s always hope.
What level content will your firm provide in the upcoming year?