Content as Education

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Free Content?

I am often frustrated by online offers of free case studies and white papers.  Free is the part that frustrates me – why? Because there is no such thing.

I have been developing, creating, producing marketing content for many years in the form of blogs, white papers, webinars, case studies, press releases, videos, online radio, as well as photo and image content.  I consider my duty when representing  my company that the content I share not only be of value but also quality.  Meaning, I refuse to produce crap.  I always consider what I would like to see – what would I like to read – what would  I like to share when it comes to content marketing.  If it looks like spam to me, it will look like spam to my recipient.

Is it really free?

Sadly, nothing is free – there is always a hitch – give us your email address or phone number.  Tell us where you work. What’s your title? How many employees?  Do you have purchasing power?

As a marketer who once was a practitioner, I try to keep the practitioner’s needs in mind.  How can I help them?  Is there value in what I am offering?  Will they be bombarded with emails or phone calls?  This all just makes me cringe.

I hope that someday, the answers provided in the forms marketers require recipients to fill out for their free content will determine follow-up action by the sales teams attached to these efforts.  We talk about Big Data all the time, but no one considers the small data that has impact on those conversations.

Nothing is Free

But it should be.  We return to the same markets and local merchants because they offer value over the other guy: whether that value is quality service, better product, atmosphere, or clientele we can relate to.   The same should be true for content as education.  What is the ultimate value provided over the other guy?  Are you learning more about a demographic, a new type of product or process?  Are you made aware of trends? Will this affect your work, your company, your industry?  The value you receive as a consumer of content is for you, the consumer, to determine – not the sender or provider.

Yearn for Value

Everything has a price.  Coca Cola didn’t produce that now famous Super Bowl spot solely because it loves diversity in America.  It produced it, ultimately, to sell Coca Cola.  Bottomline. There is always a bottomline.  But if the perceived value of Coke supersedes the value of their competitor as a result of the ad?  Job done and done well by marketing.  Branding isn’t only selling, branding is courting.  And a Super Bowl Ad?  Full-Court press.  I personally liked the ad. But that’s because I knew what it was about – selling.

Provide value first.  The rest will fall into place…


by Rayanne Thorn





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