Jason Patterson wrote a LinkedIn post titled Do You Have Content Marketing Backwards? (July 21, 2021).

« All the wonderfully-written blogs and newsletters in the world won’t sell a damn thing if the sales content that follows it doesn’t get the job done. So, how did we end up here? How did we end up thinking “content marketing” was so essential to success, while sales content wasn’t? »

« Much of the business world has since drunk this kool-aid very deeply, so much so that I often see startups focus on building out a blog before building out an explanation of what they sell. And I see many other brands where the marketing seems more focused on making content than making it rain. »

« Personal brands are just that, personal. They are built through something personal… But businesses are not people. A business brand is a collective construct. »

« You can’t content-market your way to leadership, at least not in the conventional way. The reason why is because, unless you’re a leader already, nobody cares what you think. »

« People don’t follow follower brands simply to be informed (they follow the news for that), they follow follower brands because they’re cheap, or because they work there. It is therefore entirely possible to publish good content as a follower brand and have it be read by nobody. »

« People follow leaders because they want to know which way the industry is heading… If you’re a follower brand, what you say has limited value, because you have little say over which way the industry heads. »

« If others are already saying what you would say, and saying it better than you could, don’t expend your resources on repeating it, let them expend theirs. You’ll get more bang for your buck creating good sales content assets, like case studies or solutions guides. »

« Nonetheless, I’m willing to concede that the percentage of potential customers who are ready to seriously consider you, at any given time, is fairly small. Some interpret this as a sign that you should focus less on sales activation and more on brandbuilding. This is good, sensible advice, but not always easily followed in the real world. It’s easiest for market leaders to do this because for them, “brandbuilding” is largely “brand reinforcement,” which can be achieved through various orthodox PR and content activities. »

« One area marketing can influence is brand positioning. If you can reposition yourself into being a challenger brand, instead of a follower brand, content and PR activities will become more useful to you, because what you’ll be doing with them is attacking the leaders (i.e., you’ll be saying something different and therefore potentially valuable). »

« Challengers don’t have to prove anything, they just have to create doubt, by attacking the weak spots, and there are always weak spots… And if that giant swings back at you, all the better, because they’ve just informed the entire world of your presence, and that you’re worthy of attention. »

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