If I had a dollar for every time a client told me they didn’t want to create too much content because they were worried about giving away all their secrets, I’d be a rich woman.
Companies are often concerned about competitors using information to steal customers, or giving customers so much information that they DIY their products or services. They’re convinced that if they share their expertise through content marketing, they’ll be doomed.
But the truth is, if you don’t share your expertise with potential customers, they’ll never know you have it in the first place. Creating high-quality content that positions you as an expert and engages your audience isn’t going to weaken your business, it will strengthen it.
The best example of this by far is from McDonald’s Canada. They decided to post a recipe of their Big Mac special sauce on YouTube, as part of the ‘Our food. Your questions’ campaign. They were happy to share their secret, because they know that a list of ingredients isn’t the reason people love going to McDonald’s for a Big Mac.
If McDonald’s can do it, so can you. Still don’t believe me? Here are some other reasons why sharing your expertise through content marketing is good for business.
1. It moves your customer toward a sale
The first and most obvious reason for sharing your expertise, is that it will help convert leads into sales. The right content will help customers gain awareness of your company and build trust in your products or services, leading them in the right direction towards a sale.
If you only offer valuable insights to customers once they start paying, you’ll spend a disproportionate amount of time bringing customers in at the top of the funnel, instead of channelling them towards a sale. In my experience, the clients who are most concerned about sharing ‘too much’ content also name awareness as one of their biggest challenges. The fact is, you can’t improve sales until you increase awareness.
2. It helps you demonstrate value
Sharing your expertise can set you apart from your competitors and add value to the customer long before they’ve contacted you and long after you’ve closed the sale.
Your customers don’t want to have sales messages pushed down their thoughts at every opportunity. They need information that helps them solve a problem or achieve a goal. If your company can do that consistently, you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to buy.
Instead of telling customers how clever or experienced or customer-focused you are, show them with engaging content. It’s far more difficult to convince a customer you’ll add value after the sale, if you don’t provide it before they get out their wallet.
3. It addresses your customers’ fears and questions
Content marketing is one of the best ways to address concerns or frequently asked questions from your customers. Not only will you reduce the number of barriers to closing the sale, but you’ll position your company as transparent and trustworthy.
If your customers are concerned that you’re too expensive, create content around the value and quality they’ll receive. If they often ask about how your service is delivered, create content that takes them through your methodology or process. If you can see that customers are making the same mistakes over and over again, why not share your advice on how to turn things around?
By holding onto this kind of information or only sharing it with existing customers, you risk losing a huge amount of potential customers who have concerns that haven’t been addressed, or questions that haven’t been answered. And if your competitor starts giving this information away for free, you’ll only look like a ‘me too’ brand.
Stop worrying about how you’ll measure up to the competition and start thinking about how to make sure your brand is on the shortlist in the first place.
4. It helps you target the right customer
If all it takes to replicate your entire business model is a couple of blog posts, a white paper or an interview with your team, then I’d say you have bigger things to worry about than having too much content.
Even if a customer did use the information you’ve shared without ever buying a thing, it’s unlikely that they would have ever become a long-term, valuable customer. The truth is, people who believe they can do a better job than the people they’re paying to do it, rarely value the end result.
Sharing your expertise with content marketing will not only help you attract the right customers—people who value your experience and expertise—but also dissuade people who aren’t the right fit for your company.
For example, if your financial planning company only targets high-net-worth individuals, creating content that targets this group will show other customers that you’re not the best option for them. You’ll spend more time and effort on the customers that contribute to your bottom line and less time taking enquiries from families looking to save for a home loan deposit.
5. It demonstrates your capabilities
Explaining how you achieved a particular result for a client may feel like oversharing, but it’s a powerful way to demonstrate your capabilities and the results you can achieve for clients.
Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 70% of companies in Australia use case studies as a form of content marketing, with 57% saying they’re effective. Case studies are easy to create and give you an opportunity to showcase the skills and experience of your team. It also shows that you can address the needs of specific projects, customers or industries.
When shouldn’t you give away content?
If you’re still worried about giving away all your secrets, there’s a cheeky way to avoid it. Simply consider the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the topic, then focus on the area which doesn’t pose a threat to your business.
For example, if everyone in your industry is producing exactly the same product and your point of difference is the ‘how’, focus on creating content that explains the ‘what’ and ‘why’. If it’s the product itself that’s different, but you don’t want to explain ‘how’ it’s made, stick to the ‘what’ and ‘why’.
Now you’ve got no excuse to develop a rich and engaging content marketing strategy for your business. The key is to stop worrying about what secrets you’re giving away and focus on adding value at every touchpoint.