Content Without Borders: The language of content marketing; getting hired not thrown out!
Company: Content Without Borders
It is easy to lose a prospective client in jargon and gobbledegook.
That moment when your clients eyes starts to sweat profusely and they begin looking at the clock on the wall. Tick tock.
This is when you need to back off with the technical terms and all the other confusing definitions that come with content marketing and start talking in simple terms; use strong case studies that exhibit the point, and at a pace that the client can manage. Remember that half of your battle in selling anything is in educating buyers to understand your service and its value to their business. This shouldn’t be a hugely complicated process either if you fully understand your subject matter and how it can solve business problems for the specific client in question.
There should always be a simplified way in which to explain something complicated. Nothing exists purely in its most complicated form, especially not during the sales phase anyway. It is crucial that you are able to explain in simple terms what content marketing is and how it can benefit the prospects business.
This explanation should be grounded in as many practical examples you can find, like existing case studies of similar brands applying themselves with powerful effect in similar areas of endeavour.
Make a ‘lingo glossary’ Hubspots glossary of terms
It is also a good idea to clarify a series of terms or phrases with your team (beforehand) and the client so that you define and explain consistent language or terminology that can be used without confusion later on in the process. I would suggest your team facilitates a session in which you come up with a glossary of key terms that will inform your glossary. It is important that you try to simplify these terms too, and that you have an example to exhibit each term in action. This sense making process between your internal teams and your clients will be invaluable in establishing understanding and alignment from the beginning of what can be a complicated and desperately confusing process without the proper preparation.
Don’t hide behind clever terms because you don’t really understand the concepts yourself
People who generally rely too much on jargon in sales either lack self-awareness or awareness of others, or they don’t really understand what it is they are selling themselves. Think about it, How many times have you been in a meeting when the conversation has become so diffuse and jargon heavy that ‘bets on’ no one in the room actually knows what is being said? It is crucial that in times like this you are able to cut through the confusion and provide deeply understood and simple explanations that make sense rather than confusion. Don’t hide behind fancy terms, stand in front of them with simple explanations that make your client feel comfortable with your expertise and with you’re ability to solve their business issue.
Everything can be simplified (if you try hard enough)
Winston Churchill once wrote “I am sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have the time to write a short one”
Simply put it takes time to figure out the best and most effective way to say something, especially when it is very likely the other person listening is probably not very clued up on your area of expertise. keep this in mind next time you are about to open up a can o content marketing whup-ass on an unsuspecting client. Try and ask yourself before you start ‘where is my prospects level of awareness and knowledge on the subject? That is always the best place to start. I came across a superbly written piece by Clarity.com called Content marketing simplified. This really does explain it all in very clear and start forward language, exhibiting the example that it can be done.
Have you understood the business issue?
It has not been a traditionally held practice for advertising agencies or marketing departments to get to grips with the business issues that drive the requirement for marketing and advertising. Often the actual business issue is lost in all the marketing noise created by a mass of often ineffectual and useless content that only really serves to obscure and muddy the true purpose of the campaign. It is vital that in the explanation of content marketing you ensure that the entire value proposition of what content marketing can offer is focussed around the business related requirements of the strategy or campaign and that these outcomes can be measured via logical and proven methods. It it often here that agencies and organisational management are at odds because they are not speaking the same language when it comes to measurement and content effectiveness. This is not a clearly understood area and it is easy to mislead and to be misled. So before you start rambling off about how well the content will do and how many shares it’s going to get and how viral its going to go, ask yourself
‘what is the client trying to achieve through this campaign?
‘How is the client going to measure this success’?
“Am I understanding the business issues that are driving the need for this campaign in the first place and is our content marketing strategy going to achieve these results”?
Simplifying and making clear the what, when and how of measurement and results reporting is a must if you are going to stay hired so make sure you are clear about results and measurements, and don’t fill the air with useless and meaningless metrics and promises that only confuse the issue and improve your chances of never working again, although this wouldn’t be true because there are loads of very average businesses out there just waiting to sell you a campaign full of #### and likes and traction and page views and virality (oh brother kill me now). all of which leads to the sum result of what? nothing much that is what. Don’t be one of these guys. Be the one who engages properly with the who, what, where, when and why of content marketing. Be the one who gets the impressive results from your campaigns beaches you took time and effort to walk the journey with the client. Be the one who makes your client look good because you have taken the time to understand what is actually going on in their business, and how you can help them to use content marketing to fix it.
It is no secret that the proof of ROI is often a nonsense game when it comes to marketing. The old and well debated phrase ‘correlation doesn’t automatically imply causation’ makes clear one of the primary battles faced by agencies and brands trying to achieve measurable results. That they can’t. this is a very concerning fact when it may be your client who will be thinking this based on your lat campaign. It is not true that marketing cannot prove ROI but it is true that getting to a place in which you can do so requires significant effort and rigour, not to mention serious change agent boxing gloves. Technology has come a long way in enabling brands to be able to show clear conversion results based on each specific content marketing campaign. Have a look at this clearly written and easy to grasp article by the Guardian called Proving content marketing ROI
All of the elements I have discussed in this post rely directly on sense making in order for them to be effective strategies. if you lose those around you, especially your clients, in the journey to creating powerful content marketing strategies you will become yet another average agency peddling on the low awareness, knowledge and skill of unsuspecting clients. Or you will cease to be because your delivery will always be compromised because you cannot make unnecessarily complicated things simple. And more specifically simple to those who are experiencing it first hand. Simplicity does not belie creativity or impact, it improves on it.