I recently visited my old networking group. In each meeting, one member gives a 30-minute presentation about themselves and their business. The featured presenter at this meeting, a Comcast sales rep, talked about how he built his business by knocking on doors, leaving his card and following up; you know, good old-fashioned cold calling. As he spoke, it dawned on me that content marketing is a lot like cold calling.
Think about it; for the most part, cold calling is a long game. So is content marketing. Most people find cold calling a slog – same with content marketing. Yet if you stay consistent and do it long enough, cold calling pays off. Same with content marketing. So let’s break it down a bit more.
The Comcast sales rep said when he walked into most businesses, he got blown off, but he was fine with it. He’d leave his card and follow up from time to time knowing that one day – whether in a few weeks, months or years – that business would need his services. And when they did, they’d reach for his card and give him a call.
Cold calling is planting the seeds wherever it makes sense, sprinkling some water on them and being ready when those seeds grow. Same with content. Its purpose isn’t to sell; it’s to create awareness where and when it makes sense so that when your audience is ready, they’ll call you.
Think about it. You create blog posts, social media posts, podcasts and more. You publish the content on different channels and while you may get engagement, you’re not trying to sell anyone with one piece of content. It’s the slow, steady drip of getting your name and message out there so that when your audience is ready to buy, you come to mind.
Cold calling can be a long game.
You know that expression, “it takes 7 Nos to get to a Yes?” The Comcast sales rep told us one of his clients took six years to call him. SIX YEARS. That’s a long time, yes, but the point is, they eventually called.
Same thing can be said about your content. You may not get engagement on every post and it may seem like your audience isn’t responding, but when they’re ready to buy, don’t you want them to think of you, even if it is in six years?
You might say people don’t like cold calling because they don’t like rejection.
I agree, but I also think people don’t like cold calling because they want immediate gratification. They want a yes quickly. Of course, there are some products that can be sold in one call, but for the most part, cold calling is a long game. Do it consistently over time and you’ll get a win. Then another and another. Soon it becomes a numbers game.
Guess what else is like that? You got it, content. It’s easy to want to give up on producing it because we’re impatient. We want replies right away, but it doesn’t work that way. But if we do the work and take the steps, the results will come.
Between cold calling and content marketing, which do you prefer?
You can make games out of both to make them more interesting, and you can outsource both to make them more tolerable. While I don't do cold calling on behalf of my clients, I do create content. So actually, based on this theory, maybe I do cold call as well?
To learn more about my content services, please feel free to reach out for a conversation.