Why You Can’t Afford $25 Blog Posts

09
May 2017

Why You Can't Afford $25 Blog Posts

I had to read the email three times before it sank in.

This marketing manager had contacted me several weeks earlier about our content marketing services, on the grounds that they just weren’t happy with the content their current provider was delivering. It wasn’t generating traffic, it wasn’t engaging, people weren’t responding to it.

I took a look at what they had going on, and sure enough, their blog posts read like something written by a sixth-grader.

So I sent her a lovely proposal for some kickass content that would drive traffic to their site, grow their thought leadership, and let them start building a loyal, enthusiastic following.

Then I got the email …

“After reviewing your proposal, we’ve decided to stick with our current blogging service. They’re only charging us $25 per post, and we feel like we’re getting excellent value for the money.”

Ummm … what?

Apparently this client is willing to forego the chance to build a loyal audience if it means saving a few bucks.

What they don’t realize is that this crap content isn’t simply not helping them. It’s actually hurting their brand.

Why “You’re Not Rich Enough to Buy Cheap”

My lovely friend Ariana, a gifted interior designer, once shared with me a translated saying from her native Croatia: “You’re not rich enough to buy cheap.”

You know, like that time you “went cheap” in hiring a plumber … only to have to turn around and hire the more expensive professionals anyway, to fix the other guy’s screwups in addition to solving the original problem. By going cheap, you wound up paying more than if you’d just hired the pros from the start.

I see it all the time in the marketing world. A company hires a bargain-basement freelancer to write their website content, only to have her deliver a product that’s completely unusable. Then they realize why they need someone like me … after they’ve already paid her.

But when it comes to content marketing — the content that you put out week after week — going cheap and getting an inferior product isn’t just a poorly informed decision that you can fix by hiring a qualified content creator. Here’s why.

Bad website content can be rewritten, and new visitors will never know the difference. A monstrosity of a brochure can be re-done to make a wonderful first impression for your brand. But when you publish bad content on your blog, on social media, in emails, and in other venues, you’re not just presenting your brand in a bad light. You’re giving bad customer service.

Content Marketing as Customer Service

Most of us think of content marketing as … well, as marketing. As a way of putting our brands out there in a way that makes current and potential customers want to engage with us.

But think of content marketing from your audience’s point of view. Ever wonder why we use the phrase “pay attention?” Today as never before, attention is currency. Confronted with thousands of messages every moment of every day, audiences do not take lightly the decision of where to focus their attention.

So yes, there is a distinct economy of content marketing. Brands have the product (our content) and the people in our audience have the currency with which to purchase it (their attention).

So if Annie Q. Audience clicks on a link promising to deliver what she’s looking for and encounters a flimsy, cliché-riddled post that reads as if it were written by a ten-year-old … no big deal, right?

Wrong.

Because Annie isn’t just a “user.” She’s a customer, a consumer of our content who has willingly ceded a scarce resource — her attention — with the expectation of receiving something of value in return.

And the brand behind that content has failed her.

Will Annie go to Yelp and complain about this brand’s bad content? Will she leave a comment along the lines of “wow, this post is really lame”? Will she contact the marketing manager to complain about her poor experience?

No, no, and no. What she will do is roll her eyes and click the “back” button — never to return and never, ever again to pay you any attention.

What Crap Content Really Says About You

Take a second to think about the experience that your business offers your customers. Think about the comfy leather chairs in your lobby. Think about your decision to have a friendly receptionist answer the phone instead of an automated system. Think about the season tickets to the Houston Rockets games where you entertain current and prospective clients.

Do you really need any of that stuff?

Technically, no. You could run your business just fine without all those trappings. But you have them in place so that you can offer a positive brand experience.

Why should your attitude towards your content be any different?

We wouldn’t think about having visitors to our offices sit on plastic lawn chairs … and yet many of us are perfectly okay with offering crap content as a first impression of our organizations.

When people visit your blog and come across garbage content, you’re telling them one of two things:

  1. “We know you came looking for good content, and we don’t know how to give it to you.” In other words, we kinda know you need something from us, but we haven’t bothered to figure out how to deliver it well. Either that, or we just have no idea what we’re doing. (How’s that for a brand attribute?)
  1. “We know you came looking for good content, and we don’t give a shit.”

When you look at content marketing in this light, it’s easier to understand what Joe Pulizzi was talking about when he told the crowd at Content Marketing World 2016, “Mediocre content will hurt your brand more than doing nothing at all.”

Why You Can't Afford $25 Blog Posts

 

How to Turn the Ship Around

I doubt that any marketing manager wakes up on any given morning, smacks her head, and says, “Holy crap! We’ve got bad content!”

But there are clues that can indicate your content might not be up to par. Low traffic. High bounce rates. Low engagement on social media. Low conversion rates. Dwindling email lists. If any of these are plaguing you, it might be time for an honest assessment of your content quality.

And if you do have a problem with crap content, you can do one of two things:

  1. Get serious about quality. Bite the bullet and start putting time, effort, and yes, money towards delivering consistently high-quality content.
  1. Stop. Pull the plug on everything. I’m serious. If you can’t — or won’t — muster the resources to deliver quality content on a consistent basis, it’s better that you do nothing at all. Sure, you might miss out on some traffic. But at least you won’t be embarrassing yourself.

Look, we didn’t all sign on to this content marketing thing so that we can spatter some words on a web page once a week. We signed on to build relationships, with the idea that some of those relationships will eventually lead to revenue.

When you serve up crap content to a visitor who has decided to pay you some attention, you’re telling her either you don’t know what you’re doing or you don’t care. If that’s true of your content, what’s to tell her it’s not true of everything else you do?

And that, dear one, is why you can’t afford $25 blog posts — and neither can anyone else.


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About the Author

Rachel Parker, Founder & CEO of Resonance Content Marketing

A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).

As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!
content_marketing_50 BizSugar Featured Author on Business 2 Community

Our Clients Are Saying

  • Added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks

    Rachel took the overwhelm and stress out of writing content for my marketing campaign! When I approached Rachel, I was really concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to focus on writing copy for a lengthy marketing campaign that included sales pages, solo emails, newsletters and social media updates. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I hired Rachel because I couldn’t have done it without her support and expertise. I loved how she used my voice and words to craft content that helped me reach and attract my ideal client. As a result of working with Rachel, I added 5 figures to my business in less than 4 weeks, hundreds of new social media followers and exceeded my sales and list building goals! You know your marketing copy is working when you hear someone say, “I see you everywhere”. Thank you Rachel for helping me not only get seen by my ideal clients but get paid!

  • Event Sold Out Two Years In A Row!

    Rachel worked with me on creating a content marketing calendar and content for the Big Social Media Summit (Big SMS) three years in a row. She is very organized and knows just the right amount of posts on social, email newsletters and content to send.  Her content marketing efforts helping us sell out our event three years in a row!  I am expecting the same for October 2014.

    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

    When I work with Rachel, I have total peace of mind.  I know that she is on target, on time, reliable and delivers over and above the results I expect.

    I trust Rachel totally with her ideas on strategy, marketing and the content used to not only promote our events, but also post on my behalf on social networks. I have been doing social media for 8 years, and I hire Resonance to post on some of my social sites as it saves me time, and keeps my social sites relevant and current. They always post great, engaging content that gets my social properties likes, comments and shares.

     

  • Produced ROI Result

    Form.io needed someone who could grasp the complexities of our product, capture the subtlety of our differentiating value propositions, and convey them in the right voice for an exacting customer audience…. Resonance delivered, by crafting a multi-faceted online content marketing strategy that drove traffic and conversion, producing the ROI result we were looking for….

  • One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

    My company had little or no time to spend on social media. Our needs were to ensure a steady stream of posts across three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) by harvesting and re-purposing content from our own site and news streams. So I contacted Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing.

    The result was two-fold. Not only did our ranks of followers grew steadily, the steady drip, drip, drip of content helped us train our personnel and direct their own individual social media efforts.

    Rachel and her team are extremely organized and open to discussion and new ideas. They deliver a rapid response to new opportunities — and an overall feeling of being on the same team. One of the best “vendor” relationships I’ve ever had.

  • Professionalism and Sincere Desire to Help

    I just didn’t seem to be able to find the time or the right words to explain what I offer and how my company helps people accomplish their goals. Rachel was able to ask me some questions, do some research and capture my voice while writing my website copy exactly as I needed it to be written.  Now, the copy on my website is much more professional than what I would have created and having this task handled by Rachel and Resonance freed up my time to complete other tasks I am better suited to do.

    It was a joy to work with Rachel. Her professionalism and sincere desire to help was apparent from the first communication until the final delivery. I will definitely use Resonance again and highly recommend their services.

  • Increased our likes and interaction rates

    Working with Rachel was a delight. Not only does she communicate very well, but she provided valuable insight about our social media platforms and followers. We have much better engagement with our fans and followers, which increased our likes and interaction rates.

     

  • Increased website traffic, New Lead Generation

    We were experiencing a lack of internal resources to consistently maintain the Ustream blog. So we turned to Resonance Content Marketing to write blog posts on current industry topics while maintaining a consistent tone with the brand. The result is increased website traffic, new lead generation from gated assets on blog, and better educated/qualified leads. And I now have more time to spend on marketing strategy with the confidence that the content we push out is extremely well written and engaging.

    Rachel is an amazing writer and has really managed to create engaging and relevant blog material on topics that aren’t always super interesting. On many occasions, she has been able to quickly turn around one-off requests and the results are always top-notch. She has also helped guide our content strategy based on her expertise in content marketing, which has been a huge asset to our team.

  • Social Media Ranking Better Than Ever!

    We are so happy to have hired Resonance for our social media needs. We spend most of our time serving our clients and studying our field so we can provide the highest quality possible. We no longer worry about our social media, as we have total confidence in the wonderful work Rachel and her team have accomplished.

    Our social media is active, promoted, and is ranking better than ever! People often comment about what they see on our Facebook page. Resonance has added a creative, and artistic twist to our social media that is appealing and captivating to our audience. This has allowed me more time to work with my team and clients, so I can focus on service towards the people that help our business grow.

    I know there will be wonderful content on Facebook, and that Rachel will answer to posts, comments and questions as soon as a comment arrives. I am often impressed at how quickly she responds! Thank you Resonance! I highly endorse Resonance and encourage companies who need social media strategies to work with Resonance! You won’t regret it! 

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