I was a guest on a podcast last week, and while we were in the “green space” before we hit the record, the host mentioned how nice it was to have someone talk about “old school” blogging.
He mentioned that he recently wrote something about blogging that sparked a lot of conversations on Twitter. The climax was that they agreed that they should all do a podcast episode on the power of blogging.
[Image: a gif of Jeff Bridges as The Big Lebowski tilting his head, blinking rapidly, and looking entirely confused.]
I’ve often said that if I had a nickel for every time someone claims blogging is dead, I could swim in it a la Scrooge McDuck, but those claims are usually made by people who like the virtues of a new app or one advertise new marketing channels (usually) because they want to sell you how you use it for yourself).
But the blogging and the elongated thought-leading content in general are going nowhere.
Would you like to learn to systematically develop your own thought guidance content? I am holding a free workshop to demonstrate my new method.
Other channels could be deceiving
Don’t get me wrong: I understand the siren song of new channels and the promise of easier marketing.
At first glance, it might seem easier to just write tweets of 240 characters each, or share pretty photos on Instagram, or join some clubhouse rooms and talk about your business, than the enormous amount of work that goes into designing, researching, Create and distribute long content such as a good blog post.
A few weeks ago I was invited to speak in a clubhouse room. I stepped into the room and waited for my turn. The host asked each of the speakers (about a dozen) to talk about what works for their company in terms of the balance between paid and organic traffic.
When it was my time, I spoke for maybe two minutes. I stayed on for an hour when they got questions and answers from the large audience. (I did a quick count once and there were more than 140 people in the room.) The opportunity did not arise to speak again and I signed off after about an hour to get back to work.
And from those two minutes on, I have a bunch of new followers on Clubhouse, a few new followers on Instagram, and – much to my surprise – an application from a potential client.
Speak for two minutes!
From that experience, it would be easy to decide immediately that the clubhouse is where it is and that I should shift all of my marketing energies into attending there.
But this does not take into account:
- the fact that I was invited by someone with over ten thousand followers and that they also used the attendance of a dozen or so other speakers to fill the room (an achievement that I would find difficult to repeat myself in the foreseeable future)
- the fact that she paid someone to take notes during the room and the audience could choose to have the notes so they could find me later (an expense I would have to carry myself for similar results)
- the fact that the host of the room probably spent at least three or four hours hosting that room that day (a decreased investment of time that I would have to invest over and over again)
- and the fact that the account manager I got – even though he was a wonderfully nice person – wasn’t ready for our service.
What on the surface looks like an easy way to get leads and new customers would, in reality, require a lot more time, energy, and investment than anyone could see at first glance.
The same goes for the time and effort it takes to build a following on Twitter, take photos and videos for Instagram, edit the audio for a podcast, create and edit the videos for YouTube, and so on.
It’s not about any of these channels not being valuable as part of a marketing strategy. The point is, none of them necessarily offer an easier path to marketing success.
The quality of the engagement exceeds the quantity of the engagement
Another reason long thought-thinking content is so important to a company is its potential to generate deeper engagement than other channels.
I’ve already talked about vanity metrics. A like on a Facebook or Instagram post feels good, but shows very little about a person’s purchase intent.
You could go viral on a tweet, Instagram post, or TikTok video but never see the traffic turned into leads.
The same applies to advertising a promotional gift as an opt-in. You might see hundreds or even thousands of people engaging with your ad and downloading your giveaway (which will cost you money) with very few of them converting to buyers.
Because the quality of this commitment is low. It’s an easy yes for them and shows little or no commitment to you as a company.
People chase these engagements because a) they’re easier to come by, and b) they produce large numbers, which makes us feel good.
But that’s why the industry-standard conversion rate on a sales page is around 1% – the other 99% weren’t that enthusiastic about you at all.
This leads to a lot of bizarre marketing behaviors that drive business owners to chase bigger and bigger numbers (and their tails) in search of leads and customers.
Long-form content for thought guidance, on the other hand, requires more engagement from the audience (and the author) in advance – and leads to a deeper, more meaningful engagement that signals more of an intention to buy.
Someone reading this entire article is more concerned with my brand than someone who simply double-taps one of my Instagram posts. Someone commenting on the article is even more engaged – and so on.
The types of quality engagement include:
- Consuming content, especially long-form content
- Visiting a website or other web presence (such as a podcast or YouTube channel) multiple times
- Leave a Comment
- ask questions
- and sign up to receive email.
Thought guidance content – which is often rather long, if not always (see: Seth Godin) – simply creates the kind of deep engagement that actually signals the buyer’s intent, rather than a viral tweet or funny meme.
(Even if I love a good meme!)
Customer relationships are built over time
The veteran marketer Dean Jackson found that – across industries – around 20% of buyers make a purchase within the first 90 days of being guided.
Most standard marketing funnels devote all of their effort and attention to these early adopters. Think about the marketing strategy of offering a free, on-demand webinar with a pitch and a window of 5 to 7 days to purchase the product. This model has to keep finding and adding new people because such a small percentage of people will buy. (In the case of the evergreen webinar funnel, a 20% conversion would be an exceptional return on investment.)
For the most part, the company doesn’t put any effort or attention to the people who choose not to buy during that seven day window. In advanced funnels, there may be a down sell or a string of maintenance emails and a subsequent offer – but that’s actually pretty rare.
According to Jackson, the other 80% of buyers buy in the 18 months after they become a lead.
This means that 80% of the opportunity in your audience – and 80% of the potential revenue for your company – is only available after the first three months of contact.
But if all you keep offering this 18 months is sound bite junk food content, do you think this is going to get a lot of these potential buyers to take the plunge?
Instead, what if you had to lead with value, build those relationships over time, see your posts, podcasts, articles, and emails for those people?
This will require investment on your part, time and energy figuring out what is most important to you, training yourself, exploring new ideas, and making the effort to create innovative, engaging ways to deliver value.
Sometimes that means new channels – but more often it requires new ideas.
And if you don’t have the time and space to generate these new ideas …
Well, you will pursue the 20% like everyone else.
In summary, it can be said that content in the form of thought leaders in long form leads to higher quality customer interests and promotes them during a longer customer journey than many other forms of marketing. And while newer channels and Sound Bite content seem to promise bigger, shinier, and faster results, those promises can be deceptive and require just as much time, energy, and effort as long-form content.
Would you like to learn to systematically develop your own thought guidance content? I am holding a free workshop to demonstrate my new method. Click here to learn more and to register for the workshop.
Author: Lacy Boggs
Follow @ blogspiration42
Lacy Boggs is a professional ghost blogger who has been telling stories since she learned to speak. After using her insane storytelling and journalist skills to grow her personal blog by more than 800 percent in a single year, Lacy realized she could help other small business owners who … Show complete profile >