Sales Prospecting with Epically Awesome Pornified Content That Increases Your Brand’s Virality

how to create epic content marketing

Are you asking yourself, WTH is he talking about with that headline?

Well today’s post is all about making a point that in my not so humble opinion needs making. Yes, like my previous <rant> Big Data Isn’t The Solution, this post is an effort to provide a bit of context so that you can evaluate the advice you’re reading and hearing on the social webs.

The World Doesn’t Need More Posts

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Digital marketing tools make it so easy to publish anything, anytime, anywhere and for next to nothing. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

The world doesn’t need more keyword rich, epic, newsjacked, trend-jacked, whatever-jacked attempts to win the war with Google and gain more eyeballs on your website by winning the SEO battle.

The world DOES need more answers. Because today’s world is moving so fast your customer is being asked to do more with less. That means your customer has less time to make the right buying decision and thanks to the Internet, has infinitely more options to consider. So rather than making the customer’s job easier — the Internet is actually making buying harder.

Stop Being Epic. Start Being Helpful.

I get it. You’ve been told to be awesome. To create epic content. Because if you do that your content will go viral and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to go viral. But outside of ensuring you a spot on the Today Show one morning, viral content doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.

Awesome gets shared but helpful gets bought.

So just be helpful.

It’s a heck of a lot easier and you’re far more likely to succeed.

Just ask yourself what your prospective customer needs to know in order to make the best buying decision – even if that decision isn’t buying your product. Then give them the information. That’s right… educate them. Because make no mistake, they are going to self-educate. The only question you need to ask yourself is would you rather that self-education happen on someone else’s site where the prospective buyer will remain invisible or would you rather it happen on your site where you can track the prospect and collect buying signals that you and your sales & marketing teams can use to grow market share and shrink sales cycles?

Helpfully Epic Content

The best thing is that you don’t have to look very far to find examples of  helpfully epic content. Here are just a few to get you started:

Every day client side marketers need to justify their investments in social media, content marketing and social selling efforts. They struggle to effectively make the argument to their CEO and CFO’s. Enter Daniel Newman and his helpfully epic post, A Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing where he expertly provides a series of arguments that together make the case that online, content marketing efforts shouldn’t be held to a higher ROI standard than traditional offline tactics like client entertainment, sports tickets and the ever popular round of golf. This may not seem like epic content to you but if a Brand Manager can use this post as an outline for a discussion with their CEO or CFO and at least get their boss to relieve them (brand manager) from the weight of proving ROI immediately for investments in social selling and content marketing tactics… that is a HUGE benefit to them. And I’m betting it predisposes them to think of Daniel and his company the next time they plan a content marketing effort.

Twitter chats have been getting more and more attention lately. As such, there are a lot of people out there in the sales and marketing world wondering what is a Twitter Chat and how do I get involved in one. Once they learn how to do that and start participating, they might decide they want to take the next step and host a tweet chat  for their brand. Enter Mack Collier, author of Think Like A Rockstar and host of the incredibly popular #BlogChat. Mack’s a helpful guy so I’ll give him a pass on the headline of his very helpfully epic post Your Brand’s Guide to Creating an Amazing Twitter Chat, where he gives a brand manager a step-by-step guide to recreating his success for their brand.

And lastly, any inbound marketer worth their salt is interested (or should be) in how to apply A/B split testing to their blog, website and landing pages to create more sales conversions. Enter Joanna Wiebe’s super helpful (read Epic) post 6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons (guest post on Copyblogger) that is seriously one of the most detailed, helpful and educational A/B split testing posts I’ve read in quite a while.

Epic Content is Like Porn

You can’t always describe it — but you damn sure know it when you see it.

So don’t get caught up in creating content that others define as epic — i.e., goes viral, get’s lots of likes, shares, tweets and retweets. Focus on creating content that your customers and prospects will consider epic — content that is so friggin helpful that, as my friend Jay Baer says, your prospective customer would pay for it.

</rant>

photo by marcberryreid

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. To play devil’s advocate, how do you define ‘helpful’? That’s no different than defining ‘epic’ or ‘awesome’ in my mind.

    The reality is, if we come to someone that’s new to social media and tell them ‘don’t worry about creating epic content, just create helpful content’ they are likely still going to be confused. This is where I don’t agree with you on ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’. That’s exactly what it means. We learn by doing. I started blogging in 2005 because I could. I read a whole lotta blog posts from a whole lotta experts that told me how I SHOULD blog.

    But I learned far more through my own trial and error than I did from those ‘experts’. Does the world need more crappy content? Nope, but what the world does need more of is people that are trying to take that crappy content and make it into something better. That only happens by trial and error and doing the work.

    • Testing Tom Testing Tom says:

      Ok Devil,

      First Epic vs Helpful. Agree both have a degree of subjectivity to them but Epic is both a far greater range of subjectivity and far more difficult to achieve. Epic means something that is grand.

      Helpful on the other hand is subjective only in terms of current knowledge. If you write a blog post about doing tweet chats and I’m already well versed, then I’d agree that to me, the post isn’t helpful. But that doesn’t make the post inherently not helpful.

      Thus, to me helpful is fairly straightforward in terms of what is or isn’t helpful.

      Now to your point of learning by doing — can’t argue with that point… but my statement — just because you can doesn’t mean you should — was more to the intent vs the action.

      Too many are just publishing to publish — and I guess that is more where I was going with the statement.

      Thanks for chiming in Mack… always nice to see you make our posts better.

  2. I am of two minds about this. 1) I think experienced marketers can and should do better. Content can do more than help. Helping is the minimum that’s required. More is possible—inspiration, action, or even consideration of a differing viewpoint. 2) Too many people are publishing crap on the web. But in this overabundance of content, we hone our filters, trust our social contacts to curate the best stuff, and overall gain access to a variety of perspectives, so the “come one, come all” nature of content marketing today is, in my view, a net gain for consumers. Finally, I think we can all agree that Mack is an epically helpful guy. I <3 him. Incidentally, Tom is pretty fantastic, also. But saying that doesn't help anyone, except Mack and Tom, so I guess my comment is an epic fail. ;)

    • Kerry

      Fair points all around – but even in the curation arena I find that the quest to produce more leads so many to simply share vs curate.

      So many times I’ve clicked on a link from folks I know well and who I know can differentiate between good, helpful content and linkbait only to find the latter.

  3. Hmm… I see that our “great” minds are thinking alike right now. (Though maybe calling myself ‘great’ is a selfie of the brain.)

    Can we ban the word EPIC from the content conversation? I agree with Mack that the conversation we’re having is largely about semantics; but it’s overlaid by too many people who are far more focused on being EPIC and cool than on the quality of their content. The problem is that the activities of many “epic” marketers are rooted more in keywords and driving traffic than in what the end user needs — stuff that’s useful. It doesn’t have to be sexy; it has to be effective in furthering your business goals.

    • Well said ma’am… figures you’d do in a simple comment what took me a whole post and then I still didn’t nail it ;-)

      Love that folks are encouraged to create epic, just think it’s important that they don’t feel like a failure when they’re content isn’t judged epic by the masses.

  4. There’s “Notice ME!!” epic-ness – that’s typically noise. Then there’s “Let me help you” epic-ness – that’s valuable.

  5. I think we all make this mistake at one point. We get so focus on wanting our content to be epic and shared that we forget that the most important part is for our readers to appreciate it’s value and take them one step forward, towords buying.

    • Alexandra,

      You’re probably right… we all want to be acknowledged and shares and likes is a simple, immediate benchmark… so we look to that as opposed to the longer term KPI – sales.

      Thanks for stopping by — don’t be a stranger.

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