Communication Tools vs. Content – Who’s King?

Selling today requires the support of a solid Content Marketing strategy.  If you don’t believe that yet, you’ve either got your head buried in the sand or – more likely – are so sick and tired of the noise surrounding “social media marketing” and “sales 2.0″ and all that other “stuff,” that you’ve simply decided to go make sales calls until it all sorts itself out.  Or maybe an important distinction isn’t quite clear…

Communications infrastructure is one thing.  Content is quite another.

When it comes to selling with content marketing, you can divide the world into two groups.

  1. Those who “get” the social media/content marketing  infrastructure, all the tools (like blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter…) that make it up and how to navigate and use the whole shooting match
  2. Those who have broad, deep knowledge of the business issues and processes important to their industry along with the savvy to apply it to make and/or save money.

KnowledgePkgYa’ gotta’ have both!   Infrastructure AND Knowledge. And it’s OK to have different people doing each.

Build your own infrastructure or go buy it.  Train someone or some group to operate it.  Just do it!  Bring those with knowledge into the fold at their own pace.  Beware of those who get enamored with the tools.  Do not let anyone become like the sales manager who implements a CRM system, gets all wrapped up in the cool stuff it can do and loses sight of the point – to sell more!  (And meanwhile drives the sales reps bonkers with data entry and reporting and all kinds of other CRM-centric crap.)

Long term, it’s better to have the knowledge sources conversant with the tools.  Just don’t get hung up if the smartest folks in room hate “social media” and refuse to play.  Get them to package chunks of their knowledge into distributable digital form – text, image, audio or video.  Or help them package it.  Or package it for them.

Look, I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true; Knowledge is Power.  It’s the knowledge contained in the brains of your colleagues that makes your company successful.  The more that knowledge gets communicated (along with the fact that your organization is the source of that knowledge) the more gets sold.

Packaged Knowledge = Content.  The better you get at packaging knowledge into a digital form, the more that knowledge can be applied to sell more.  (Assuming of course you have a decent Content Marketing Infrastructure.)

Think of the process of packaging knowledge as “Content Harvesting.”  The knowledge is there.  TONS of it is right in front of you.  It’s just got be gathered up and shipped off to market.  At first, that feels like a monumentally tough task.  It’s not.  It’s just different.  Start by creating:

  • Stories about applications – that share the knowledge of few with the many
  • Video of customers showing how widget 1 saves money and widget 2 boosts throughput and widget 3 improves quality and…
  • White papers – that share the knowledge of few with the many
  • Recordings of your smart people talking about what they think about, are working on and how they’re going about it
  • Radio interviews discussing innovations in the packaging (or food or aerospace or whatever) industry – that share the knowledge of few with the many
  • Industry experts writing and talking about all the things industry experts write and talk about

In the end, Content Is King.  The infrastructure is there to serve the content, but both are essential.