Content Is Everything

What is a content mindset?

A content mindset refers to seeing your brand’s content holistically, viewing it as anything created by, for or about your business, including, but not limited to blog posts and pages, e-books, guides, white papers, sales and marketing materials, emails, and press releases. It also entails reviews on third-party sites, word of mouth, and sundry other mentions of your brand. Having a content mindsets allows your brand to optimize for any and every experience customers have with your brand.

Why developing a content mindset is important

While I’m hopeful that content marketers are working to extinguish the “content is king” nonsense from their vernacular, content is, nevertheless, important. It’s beneficial on our websites, in our outreach, in our presentations, and in conversations, both online and offline. But if content is so important, why are we as content strategists and content marketers having such a hard time convincing prospects, clients and stakeholders of the need to provide quality content?

This question has eaten at me for years

In the fitness and nutrition fields, the popular refrain is “If it’s important, do it every day.” It’s why I eat 200 grams of protein, foam roll and do mobility drills, at least, every single day. Doing so helps me feel better and move better. With content, too, the results are no less beneficial: It helps start the conversation, making people aware of our products and services, then ultimately drawing them to our website where we hope to move them from interested to converted.

So why the disconnect? I think it has roots in the exercise example I just made.

The challenge of developing a mindset for content

We, as content marketers and strategists, have trained folks to see the value of content too narrowly. We school stakeholders on the need to conduct audits; the value of UX, including the role of a site’s speed; the need to generate consistent, compelling content by way of blogs, videos, infographics, slideshares; and we talk incessantly about how each piece of content needs a resonant voice, tone, style.

To us, this just makes good sense. But to the folks hearing it, the information results in them being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of content they need to produce and manage. They’re seeing it all wrong because our messaging is too labored, obtuse, didactic.

Content Is Everything

With exercise and nutrition, I’ve found that adherence goes through the roof with the right mindset. When you make it clear to folks that every action (or inaction) they take throughout the day can be made to work toward their goals (e.g., adding a piece of fruit or a salad to their meal, taking the stairs, walking to lunch, standing up to stretch every 20 minutes if they are sedentary, etc.), they find it easier to stick to their goals and success.

In this way, they come to see benefits all around instead of focusing on not being able to get to the gym or lacking the willpower to avoid the 2 p.m. candy bar. It all comes together because they have the right mindset. It’s no different for content marketing, where the best performers, through honing the right mindset, enjoy outsized success by hiring the right people, creating a best-in-class process, and committing to deliver first-rate content.

How to develop the mindset needed to be successful in content marketing

We must take the same approach. As I’ve discussed before, content isn’t any one specific thing; It’s everything, a fact I learned from content strategist Jonathon Colman during a recent Dallas Content Strategy Monthly Meetup. Instead of seeing content through the prism of words, design, UX, code or ads, we must embrace the vision of content as the entirety of the customer experience a business creates.

Content Is Everything

Thinking of content in this way carries innumerable benefits. Creating and producing content suddenly seems far less overwhelming, as stakeholders aren’t made to feel as though they have any one specific, daunting task to complete. Also, they now see opportunities all around them, where before they might have seen only work. What’s more, this approach encourages baby steps, allowing them to move at the pace their business allows, making adherence far more likely.

The right mindset in action

Years ago one of my favorite bloggers and SEOs, Matthew Barby, wrote a piece for Moz titled “Why Local Businesses Don’t Need Big Budgets For Their Content Marketing.” In it, he hammered home “Content is everything,” including staff, office design, products/services, values, customers and the like. As a content writer and strategist, I’m putting Colman’s words and Barby’s blog advice to good use when talking to prospects and clients about developing a content mindset.

Here are a four ideas I share often with clients that highlight the content mindset.

1 – Make design work for your brand.

The world already has too many boring package designs, so spare us another by delivering on the “promise” of your brand’s thematic statement. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope with a package design that is provocative and attention-grabbing. Remember, you can borrow ideas from other industries, then test it with customers before taking the plunge.

Allboxedup The Tailgater serving bar packaging

2 – Help customers become better versions of themselves

“Customers don’t need a 3/8-inch drill bit,” the adage goes. “The need a 3/8-inch hole.” Your job is to help customers accomplish goals they couldn’t accomplish without your help. That’s how small businesses set themselves apart. What’s more, don’t simply focus on acquiring and serving customers. You should focus on creating loyal ambassadors. Give them reason to talk about, write about and share your business with friends, through over-the-top service, meaningful interaction and infrequent surprises (e.g., birthday cards, back-to-school items for their kids, remembering a special date, etc.).

3 – Select a meaningful, memorable logo.

I’ve written before about the value of meaning in content marketing. Because one of the the first things prospects and customers will notice about your brand is its logo, make it meaningful and memorable. Whether your logo needs sprucing up, or you’re in line for a new one, test it with customers and/or prospects first. Then ensure that it matches the overall theme of the business, making for a good fit with the industry and your place in it.

4 – Develop a strong tagline.

I too often see companies missing a great opportunity by not paying close attention to their tagline. It should be pithy, catchy and relevant, making it more likely that customers will remember it and talk about your business online and offline.

The right mindset makes a big difference.

The development of a content mindset pays huge dividends today and well into the future. Brands who do so can expect to enjoy consistent success with not only content marketing, but in social media marketing, sales, and all areas of their business. What are your thoughts? Does your business recognize and embrace the value of having a content mindset?

Additional reading

1. Changing the Company Mindset About Content Marketing (or Anything Else): looks at effective ways of getting everyone at your business involved in recognizing the value of content marketing.

2. How To Scale Content Marketing: an in-depth look at how your business can continually grow its content marketing efforts over time.

(photo credit: david_a_l via photopin cc) and (photo credit: Ravages via photopin cc)