Joe is widely regarded as one of the leading practitioners of Content Marketing (one of the core pillars of Marketing in Social@Scale, btw). He’s hit many homers in his day (the strikeouts seem to be forgotten) including the mega-hit Eloqua Blog.tree
He also has many tattoos (or maybe it’s just one really big tattoo?), so that puts him at a unique intersection to provide an analogy for how we think about Content Marketing and its impact in a Social world.
Upfront Investment is High
Say, you’re the owner of a Tattoo shop (parlor?-you can guess how many I have). Before you put the first drop of ink on your customer, you’ve incurred a huge set of costs - the machines, the shop, the inspections, the ink, and the needles. Whether the ultimate design is a small Chinese character or something more elaborate (see Joe’s sleeve), the upfront investment is pretty high.
Same is true for your content marketing efforts. Sure, you can “stuff the channel with crap,” (as Joe says) and call it “content marketing,” but you can also just let my 4-year-old daughter do your tattoo for you. Neither of them are going to get you the results you desire.
When you do real content marketing, you are an artist. You are committing to making something that is, as Godin would say, “remarkable” and which people are proud to talk about and show to their friends.
So, whether you are making a 1 page infographic or a 20 page eBook (or, say a guide to the 6 Must Haves for Any Enterprise Social RFP), you’re going to have to spend time to get the right info and money (most likely) to get the right look.
Long Term Payoff
The beauty and potential of Content Marketing done right is that it pays dividends for the long term. Great content gets shared, linked, and cited for a long time…well beyond its publication date. Its “shelf life” is far greater than a PPC AdWords campaign.
Great tattoos are the same way. They aren’t something that 3 years later you regret or have to have removed. They withstand the test of time and become a part of who you are, your identity and your brand…the way that others look at you, talk about you, and view you.
Get a tattoo.
Well, you can, but the actual takeaway is that if you are looking to build an enduring brand in a Social world and you want your enterprise to be Social@Scale, then great Content Marketing is one of the best ways to do it. However, like a tattoo artist who is revered and admired for the work s/he has done, the enterprise as a whole must invest upfront in getting the right resources in place so that when the opportunity arrives, you can make art that people are proud to share and show off.