OK. Got my CEO hat on this time around to discuss a subject near and dear — and vitally important to all of you out there who have yet to embrace the new realities of business building..
The Web is here. It’s not going away. And thanks to the worldwide Web, there is a new set of rules when it comes to selling, promoting, growing your business or product. To prosper in this new world, you need to change your thinking. Some of you, just a little. Some of you…a lot.
Now that’s not anything that you won’t hear – or haven’t already heard — from the scores of web gurus or bloggers or e-book entrepreneurs out there. But this is me. So allow me to reinforce a few key concepts in the context of one of my areas of expertise: Content.
First of all, content is not advertising – at least it’s not just advertising. Advertising (at least in the traditional sense) is a one-way proposition – a one-way interruption — designed to push you into the buying process…KILLER quick-hit copy and graphics that knock you off your seat and into the arms of the product provider. No questions asked.
Big Media? Not So Big.
There are many clients out there still throwing large sums of money at the big splash ad or bells-and-whistles video commercials, the so-called “big media.” There are still many writers and marketers and advertising execs out there who will (hand over heart) testify that following the old rules is still the best way to sell your product or service.
It ain’t necessarily so.
For millions of organizations, e.g. niche product companies and professionals; artists and entrepreneurs; non-profits and neighborhood shops, big media advertising – although it can and sometimes should still be part of a multi-format marketing approach also incorporating websites, blogs, and podcasts (among others) — is generally so wide and so broad and so big that it simply doesn’t do much of anything. Something to consider: People just don’t trust advertising, anymore.
Big media works best for products with mass appeal and wide distribution…and even then it’s often nothing more than a craps shoot. For the most part, unless you’re selling Bud Light or Gatorade or Toyotas (to name a few “big-ticket, all-world” products at random)…big media is not the way to go.
Your Audience Has Changed
Today, literally everyone can access more than just the TV or print media. They get to choose how information comes to them. And there are a lot of choices. One approach won’t work for all. Consumers don’t have to go with one brand because it’s the only brand. They’re not going to universally jump at one word claims of “New” or “Improved” or even “Free” anymore.
Well, “Free” probably still works – especially in this economy. But by and large, they’re not interested in the hype, the push, the superlative, the one-way spin that has typically been the M.O. of pre-web advertising.
Content = Two-Way Communication.
With the web, the desired approach is not 1-way interruption, but 2-way communication…information…inspiration…education. Sure, there’s still some of the one-way stuff going on, but the Web is largely a give-and-take medium that champions sharing and learning and interacting. You get to ask questions.
You also get to disagree. You get to provide feedback. You get to offer suggestions and experiencial anecdotes and yes, testimonials (in your own words). Right there. Right then. Direct to the provider. You get to have a dialogue – if you want (or not).
Web viewers are looking for value…for information…for content. They don’t want to just hear about what you do. Everybody in your business can and often does make exactly the same claims as to service. Bullet points still work, but they don’t guarantee that you’ll be the only one to hit the target. Web searchers want to learn from what you know – and make an informed decision. It’s not solely a function of “can dos” anymore, but of content.