I speak to new clients about how quickly and how far their content can improve. Because big strides are possible.
But you know what I often hear? “We want to be like GE. We want to be like Red Bull.”
I’m not going to knock the ambition. But then we look again at their starting point. Then there’s a pause. It can be awkward.
Time and time again over the years I’ve come back to Altimeter’s content marketing maturity model, which is useful in this context. Analyst Rebecca Lieb put this out four years ago. It still has value.
It’s relevant because the client I’m talking about is typically in Stage 2 here. They have the green light to do more. They have a feeling, albeit a strong feeling, that it’s the right thing to do. We usually come in to help them get to Stage 3, developing strategy, processes and actual content. And if we do well, we achieve Stage 4.
But it’s not unusual to hear someone who wants to jump directly from Stage 1 to Stage 5.
So we’re clear, companies in Stage 5 are so good they’re models (like Red Bull), so good they make money directly from their content (like Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine with its £5 cover price) as well as that content driving other business. They win awards, regularly. Articles like this cite them.
Like most things in life, progress happens in steps. Sometimes that means starting with baby steps. Content marketing is no different.
So I ask about “improving your content” because it’s possible to make things much better relatively quickly. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s really hard to get to that Stage 5. Companies like Amex, GoPro, GE and Red Bull are cited all the time because they are at the tip of the pyramid.
Everyone – no exceptions – needs to take an honest look at their starting point, their goals and their ability to make consistent, small steps. It’s the only way forward.
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