I met a content marketing expert in a bar last week, and bought him a drink.
“Tell me about content marketing” I said, after we clinked glasses.
He bent over to lift up his heavy rucksack, grunted, and put it on his knee. He took out a large pile of documents and spread them over the bar.
“Well now, let’s see what we’ve got. This is some of my marketing collateral. Here’s a self-assessment profile: What Kind Of Content Marketer Are You? with a link to a free infographic. And this is my special report, The 7 Secrets of Magnetic Content. You can get that from my website, together with my white paper called Why Content Wants to Be Free, free gratis and for nothing, just in exchange for your email address.”
He looked at me with an honest gaze. He had to shout a bit, as the bar was filling up. “Every Tuesday, I’ll send you your exclusive copy of my ezine Content Marketing Weekly, value-packed with invaluable content about content. Your privacy matters. Unsubscribe at any time.”
I nodded, to show I was listening.
He looked back down at his materials. “Then we’ve got my upcoming webinar Magnificent Content Marketing: The Road to Riches, which I’ll run again next week. Participants love that, this will be my third time. Stay to the end of the webinar because you’ll get an exclusive offer of 70% off my new Content Marketing Handbook: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need – it’s a pdf not an actual book – with a value of $297. Only 1000 copies available so you’ll have to act fast. Also the first five respondents to tick the box will receive a 30 minute one-to-one coaching video session from me, value $197, yours for only $29.95. Best of all, my new program, The Content Factory, will run from the end of next month and if you sign up for the early bird discount today, your first month is free, followed by six low monthly payments of $49. Can you afford NOT to join? And finally, there’s my book, which should hit the shelves this year or next, you know, whenever I’ve written it, called Shout! How to be Heard Above the Roar of Content. I’m probably going to go the self-publishing route, maybe throw in a few extras if you want to buy the premium edition.”
There was a pause.
“Well anyway, that’s me” he said, with perhaps a shade of disappointment that I hadn’t immediately signed up for anything. He scooped the many leaflets and handouts back into his rucksack and asked “How about you, Mister, ah” He looked at my card. “Mister Strategy and Leadership Trainer. Hmm. Where’s your marketing collateral?”
“You’re inside it now,” I answered.
“Huh? How’s that? You own this bar? This bar’s your marketing collateral?”
“No. Not the bar. The story.” I smiled. “My collateral is stories.”
If you want to be heard by your clients nowadays, then there are better ways than shouting your content. Try telling a story.
(Or even just listening.)