July 31, 2015

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You will never fully grasp the business challenge you now face if you don't understand content.

Because our world is awash in content.

Your customers, like pretty much everyone else these days, consume content endlessly, almost obsessively.

Most can hardly put their devices down - such is the pull of good content.

Content is how brands now connect with audiences and customers.

It's how buyers meet sellers.

Content is now central to all marketing and business strategy.

I argue that so it is that only an understanding of content - a  content perspective - will reveal the true nature of the game every business finds itself in.

Only a basic grounding in content will help you exploit the tools,  the platforms, the culture of sharing.

Content is how you can feed the endless the appetite for information that makes up our world.

Content is how you will become visible, relevant, indispensable.

Content is how you connect with your customers.

But only a fundamental grasp of content will give you the content advantage.

SEE WHAT OTHERS DON'T SEE

There's no shortage of social media perspectives, blogging perspectives, seo perspectives, marketing perspectives out there.

But they're incomplete.

In fact, very often they're missing the bigger point:

Content is bigger than blogging, or the platforms, or the software, or even than content marketing.

Here's why: None of those things could even exist without content. It's always content that flows though those channels.

After 25 years of building businesses around content  I can tell you what I've seen over and over.

There's content and there's the channels. But regardless of platform or device, content will always be the lifeblood of every communications medium.

And yet, most of what you will hear about content isn't really about content: It's about the channels, the software, the platforms, or the the tasks and the management of content.

My recommendation is to study actual content - what is is, how it works, how you create it, what it can do.

Learn the fundamentals - the ones that apply to every form of digital content - the principles, the drivers, the essence of what makes content do its thing.

Get a content perspective.

That's when everything changes.

And that's where the content advantage comes in.

DEFINING CONTENT IS KEY

I recommend that you make content the starting point for for all online marketing and a good deal of business strategy.

Content comes before blogging, or social media, or seo, or the widgets and the plugins, or anything else.

And so,  you can think of content in a very simple way - this way:

Content is meaning, substance, significance.

Content is not the word count but the words that count.

Content is the meaning of what you say.

And it has substance when it addresses what your target audience cares about. When it engages with them on the topics they value.

It's that simple.

But this will be a massive revelation if you truly grasp it.

THE REVELATION

This simple definition of content as substance will change the way you think about your business.

Why?

Because it reveals the true nature of the competitive game that we're all playing.

The game is not ultimately a game of platforms or of social media.

It’s not a tech game or a tools game or a question of who does their tasks more efficiently.

All of those elements play a role in your success, obviously.

But they do not define the game.

Because in a world where content dominates - and that would be our world - the true battle is about meaning, significance, substance.

The battle for attention, for relevance, for traffic, for connections and lead generation, is the battle of what we say and do.

Substance.

The things your customers care about.

No one signs up with you because you have a website or an email list or a page on social media, no matter how well they are optimized.

They sign up for what you have to say.

They sign up for the value, the help, the utility, the solutions you provide.

They sign up for the things that will improve their lives.

This is the fight that you are in now.

It's what you  say versus what your competitors say.

GAME OF SUBSTANCE

The age of content  is the age of substance.

Every conversation is public.

And winning the game is a matter of what you say and what you do - relative to what your competitors say and do.

Until you grasp the nature of this game/battle, you are deluded.

Or just plain distracted.

You're playing with the tools or obsessing the tasks.

And so I repeat: This is a game of substance.

If you understand that it's the substance that flows through the channels, rather than the channels themselves, that make the difference, then you've understood something that 90% of your competitors have not.

You're opening up a world of possibility.

You're getting the content advantage.

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