Sitting in an airport amidst a busy schedule, coaching some of America’s most well known companies, Business Growth Strategist Wayne O’Neill took a moment to talk to us about his journey into the world of content marketing. He shared with us his story from past to present and how it’s helped shape his view of the impact of content marketing now, and more importantly into the future.
CONTENT MARKETING IS NOT THE SAME AS TRADITIONAL MARKETING
Wayne is candid, and quick to point out that his understanding of content marketing as a strategy in the early days of his business was very “sophomoric”. His experience and context leading up to that point was aligned much the same as his contemporaries – around traditional marketing methods.
“Traditional marketing just didn’t seem to work. It wasn’t functional, and I didn’t really get that content marketing is fundamentally different, and more effective.” -Wayne O’Neill
The complexity of content marketing, social media and SEO (search engine optimization) were concepts that sounded more like voodoo than effective business strategies. It didn’t make sense why any of it had to be project managed.
It wasn’t until he started working with Marketing Refresh Founder & CEO Terri Hoffman that he realized just how invisible his online presence was. He needed to be more precise about his method for coaching top executives to be ‘searchable’. And adopting a content marketing strategy was key.
THE ROAD TO AUTHENTICITY
Wayne’s journey to today certainly hasn’t come without a learning curve, but being a coach has made Wayne very coachable in terms of his content marketing strategy, and his business has blossomed as a result. Wayne’s growing presence on social media has grown his Twitter and LinkedIn followings from a several dozen to well into the thousands in just a few short years.
“Those of us who are active on business-oriented social media sites are all just fighting for headspace. We have to find a unique way to connect. And we have to do it in the places where people spend time doing research and looking for solutions to their problems.” -Wayne O’Neill
He’s quick to point out that some of his contemporaries still haven’t learned how to avoid the potholes of traditional thinking. Wayne points out, “I’ve seen some of my clients sending email blasts and direct mailers out and asked them what they were thinking. In this day in age where everyone has 200 emails in their inbox, and a mailbox full of marketing postcards,it’s going to take something more to score a win with your client connection strategy.”
The approach that has taken shape over the years has taught Wayne that he has to be more authentic in cultivating connections. The online following he’s built through social media and blogging has allowed him to refine the delivery of what he offers. His core of his approach centers not around himself but around the recipient. The belief is that you should get them to come to you, not sell yourself. He points out, “People love the authenticity and educational value that comes with content marketing. They’re drawn to it.”
THE FUTURE OF CONTENT STRATEGY
The idea that content marketing delivers the same lackluster results that some traditional methods produce is simply a perpetuated myth – that has already been debunked. The rise of the Internet has allowed information to be accessible on an unprecedented scale and driven the need for SEO and refined content strategies at an increasing rate. The competition for relevant content has propelled a climate where consumers are increasingly sensitive to pitches and hungry for authenticity.
“Authenticity rules. Solutions rule. Not your company. Not you.” -Wayne O’Neill
Understanding how authenticity in your content strategy adds to growth allows you to cultivate connections more effectively and efficiently. Wayne points out that in his business even when people are inquiring about what he does, they don’t care about him or his company. What they do care about is if his impact is authentic and if he can lead them to a solution.
As the competition for relevant content increases so will the need for marketing solutions. It’s likely we’ll see firms aligning with consumer demand and adopting more authentic content strategies in the face of hyper-competitive mindsets.
Wayne O’Neill is the Founder & CEO of Wayne O’Neill & Associates, a firm focused around coaching business leaders to solutions and sustainable growth. He is also the published author of Reset: What I Want You Buy Is… Stop Selling.