Content Can’t Cure Cancer
Summary: Content is not a one size fits all solution, especially for small business owners who can’t afford to become publishers.
When does content actually make sense and how? What else can small businesses do that don’t have a team of writers, editors and graphic designers?
When you listen to Internet marketing pundits as of late you get the impression that there is only one solution for all of the world’s problems.
- Want to rank on Google? Create great content!
- Want to get leads and sales? Create great content!
- Want to cure cancer? Create great content!
Lying about great content
No. Content can’t cure cancer. It might appear strange that I tend to be wary of the content marketing hype as of late. After all I have been preaching flagship content for years.
I earn a living by creating content for client blogs aka “I blog for money” as it was called back in the days. Why would I want to hurt myself? I don’t.
I just think that lying to you will hurt me more in the long run than just making you a bit more cautious about your content expectations.
Sure, content creation is better to get links than traditional link building with outreach for example.
I would even go so far to say that you need to replace link building with content creation to earn real organic editorial links in scalable manner.
Ranking on Google is still about links not content directly though. Don’t forget that!
Can’t afford regular publishing?
What can you do in case you can’t afford to become a publisher? I mean most small business owners with teams of a few employees can’t.
Even offering them a blog is still a hard sell. They are not in the business of writing and publishing.
Small businesses are in the business of creating products or offering services and selling them not publishing.
In case it’s just Google that needs your content to wrap their ads around it’s a good decision to seek out alternatives for content.
Not every topic and industry makes sense to be covered in a blog or debated in a community either.
Cancer as an example
Cancer is a good example here. Who wants to write regularly about cancer? Someone who has it?
Well, most people value their privacy here because they are afraid the news about their illness could affect their lives negatively.
They could lose their job for example. Also an cancer remedy is not something you can provide by writing a “how to”.
It’s a very sensitive topic so that you have to be very careful what you write at all. You might put people’s health at risk.
Let’s assume you are a charity supporting cancer patients or laboratory working on a cure needing more funding.
What else can you do instead of creating and promoting content? You can highlight what you already do!
How do you achieve that? Not only by writing about it and creating more content nobody cares about.
You can show off your work by the results.
Publishing promising results from time to time may be much more rewarding for all parties involved than continuous content creation without substance.
A charity could share stories of the people they have helped already. That’s also results.
Involve prominent supporters
Sometimes a well known name and face can make people stop and listen: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were perhaps the most well known Hollywood couple.
They could revel in their fame but instead they put it into use on an ongoing basis. They were also living proof by giving shelter to children who were not as fortunate as they are.
You can get a lot of publicity by involving prominent supporters
you wouldn’t get with content. Also the media attention leads to more links and ultimately higher ranking in Google too. Try to actively approach public figures for support.
In case it’s not such a lofty goal like healing cancer a testimonial about your business might be enough. Of course you don’t have to seek help from celebrities either. A local hero will be enough.
Do something inspiring
In case you haven’t any results to show off yet and you can’t attract prominent supporters either showcase your process. Do something amazing!
Nobody wants to see how you sit behind your desk and stare at your screen.
Greenpeace has been doing amazing stunts for decades. Other NGOs like Robin Wood have followed suit.
Not all small business owners are prepared to climb steep chimneys or harass poachers in Antarctica but you get the point.
There are far smaller by scale deeds with at least as significant impact to get you publicity from the local press or niche bloggers.
Don’t do something stupid but something that inspires. For example I suggested to a client of mine to
organize a “barbecue mob” akin to a flashmob.
They were scared by the idea initially because they assumed hundreds of people will tramp down their barbecue.
Then we scaled the event down a bit, inviting only selected bloggers and fans and it became a success.
The meat and the wine have been sponsored by some of their partners and at the end of the day everybody was happy to get delicious food and good publicity.
Of course there was blogging and blogger outreach involved.
It wasn’t just “get the food and get the links” but again you get the idea how it may work for you on local level without a huge budget too.
* Creative Commons image by Jonathan W.