We asked the panelists in the Trends in Web Communications Panel Discussion at KA Connect 2014 to describe the biggest myths about content marketing in AEC firms. Here’s what they had to say.
Myth #1: Content Marketing Generates Immediate Results
“The time it takes to get from committing yourself to offering original content and trying to make that content become meaningful and valuable to the time you’re going to see substantial business outcomes from it can be quite long.
Usually we tell clients it is a three-year window before you start to see the types of business outcomes that you really would like to get from a [content marketing] effort. You’re building something that’s long term and sustainable. I think that sometimes clients are looking for a quick win that’s somehow going to replace their trade show effort or something. They’re expecting that same kind of short-term marketing model, short-term outcome, and it’s just not really the way it works.”
Jason Mlicki, Rattleback
Myth #2: Content Must Be Perfect to Be Effective
“I would say another major myth is about quality [of content]. In certain industries, AEC, probably law firms, the myth is that it’s got to be perfect, excellent quality and you can’t release it until it is.
And then in other industries, consumer products and other things, it can just be anything. ‘Just throw some content out there! It’ll get shared! It’ll go viral! Yaaah!’
So the myth is on both ends of the spectrum, but it’s about the quality of the content. The nature of your industry is going to dictate whether your myth is on one end or the other, but the reality is somewhere in the middle.
It should be of good quality, obviously, excellent quality, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be exactly probably what you’re thinking it needs to be.”
Bill Shander, Beehive Media
Myth #3: Content Marketing Is Primarily about Generating Leads
“I think it’s important that you don’t think of [content marketing] as sales. The more information you can give out to the community, the more you can share—that’s where the value is. You don’t want it to be too salesy.”
Jaron Rubenstein, Rubenstein Technology Group
“A couple of years ago, I put together a survey of firms that were marketing with content and the prerequisite was that they were actually using that model and were funding it and we were looking at outcomes.
The firm that was the most successful out of the entire audience was a firm whose core web objective was educating and informing. Their entire objective for their website was to educate and inform the clients they want to do business with.
The firms that were focused on generating leads (which in my mind is just the outcome and yield of quality content) had worse performance. It kind of comes down to your fundamental objective needs to be about this kind of open authenticity of, ‘We’re just trying to help.’
As long as you’re just trying to help, at some point, client activities start to happen. But the moment you start trying to accomplish some tangible business objective—you want leads, you want opportunities, you want revenue—the whole thing kind of just doesn’t work as well as it could.”
Jason Mlicki, Rattleback
Want to Learn More?
Watch individual talks from our panelists and the full panel discussion on the KA Connect website: