Marcus Sheridan – What is content marketing and why should you care?

For The Content Marketing Academy 2014 I would have loved to invite my favourite thought leaders to come along and speak to the delegates, but for a few different reasons this just wasn’t going to be possible for the first content marketing conference in Scotland.

So I reached out to a few people to ask them if they would be kind enough to record a short video to add value to the conference as a whole.

Marcus Sheridan was one of two people that helped us out and he kicked off the day with this video.

What I really wanted Marcus to do was define what content marketing is and why we should care.

In this 6 minute video Marcus does exactly that.

I hope you enjoy the message and as always please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Click here to watch the short video by John Lee Dumas, who started off the afternoon podcasting session at The Content Marketing Academy 2014.

Listen to Chris’ marketing academy podcast with Marcus Sheridan

PS Big shout out to Marcus for taking time out of his busy schedule to help out and get involved!

Full video transcription

Hello everyone, I want to welcome you to the Content Marketing Academy. I hope you’re excited for something really special today.

It’s days like this that can change your life. It changed my life, what was it, five years ago, and I know some of you have heard my story, but I was a struggling pool guy. I owned a swimming pool company and we were on the brink of disaster back in 2008 when the economy collapsed and the real estate market collapsed. I said to myself as I read all this stuff about the internet and all this social media stuff and all this content marketing stuff, basically what I heard was, Marcus, if you are a great teacher and if you’re willing to listen to the questions that your customers have, you’re going to be successful. You’ve just got to put it out there for the world.

That’s what we did at River Pools, and that River Pools story is a story that’s been spread around the world now, because today, River Pools…actually this past month, River Pools got over 300 thousand visitors to the website, and the way that it happened was that we simply started to answer questions that we received every single day. Our philosophy became, they ask, we answer, and we answered each question one by one on our website. That’s a really simple story, but that story changed my life, it saved my business, and it’s a message that I’ve applied now to other businesses just like yours all over the world.

Here’s the deal – some of you are asking right now, what is content marketing? What is blogging? What is all this stuff?

Well, I’m going to tell you that despite all the technical words that you hear, ultimately what this comes down to is:

  • Can you listen better than anyone else in your industry or niche?
  • Can you hear their questions, the way that they’re saying them, your customer or prospects?
  • Can you empathise with them?
  • Can you really, truly understand what they’re feeling?
  • Can you communicate in a way that they get you, that they understand you, that they say, that person is just like me, he understands my problems and he speaks on my level, not on his level, but on my level.

Do you see yourself as a teacher, truly as a teacher, in other words, do you embrace the idea that your prospects and customers have questions, and that you really want to answer them?

If you do embrace that idea and you see yourself as a teacher, everything can change for you, because the moment we stopped being pool guys at River Pools and said, we’re going to be the best teachers in the world when it comes to fibreglass swimming pools, everything changed, and then the final point of really what this whole content marketing academy is about, when you strip away all the fancy words that we all use, is how helpful can you be at solving the problems of your customers?

Great listening, great communication, great teaching and being more helpful than anybody else in your realm. That is the essence of content marketing and it just happens to be done on your digital platforms today through blogging, through podcasting, through whatever that is. You’re going to hear some great speakers, you’re going to have some great hands on with this opportunity. My ask for you is that you’ll take advantage of it, that you’ll take it seriously. Remember, I went from near bankruptcy to one of the most successful swimming pool companies in the United States, simply because of this change in philosophy.

The old ways are not coming back, they just are not.

This is what we know, and I’m going to end with this little point.

70 per cent of the buying decision is made before that person walks into your store, before they email you the first time, before they call you on your phone the first time, before they walk in your office the first time. This is what the Google lords have told us, and this is true.

Think about the way that you treat the buying experience today. 70 per cent of your work is done before you even go face to face or call that business, and if that is true, this is what we know. It used to be that sales was everything, in other words, as soon as they started talking, somebody came into your business or somebody called you, that’s when all the magic was.

Now the magic is before that.

70 per cent of the buying decision is made before first contact.

You might say your industry is different. You know what, don’t see yourself as different today, embrace the reality that these principles, principles that have been around since the beginning of time, apply to you, because trust me, they do. Sometimes people say to me, Marcus, will blogging be important in ten years? Will content marketing be around in ten years?

Well, they’re saying it all wrong!

I would pose it to you like this. If somebody said to you, will great listening, communication and teaching be important to your business in ten years? What would you say then? You’d be like, well, duh, that’s going to be really important in ten years. Well, here’s the deal. It was important ten years ago, a thousand years ago, it’s going to be important ten years from now and a thousand years from now. These principles do not change, the only things that change is platforms. We might not be using Facebook in ten years, but the principles by which you need to have success on Facebook, that I can assure you will still be around in ten years.

That’s what you’re going to get from today, especially if you apply yourself and give it your best. My hope is you’ll do just that.

Thank you for coming to the Content Marketing Academy.

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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.