Karcher Group

What A Master's Degree in Marketing Didn't Teach Sarah about Content

Sarah is a Senior Content Marketing Strategist who earned her Master of Science in Marketing and Communication in 2008. She helps Karcher Group clients craft compelling brand stories that get results.

When I started my grad program, I was looking forward to the deep dive into marketing theory that a graduate degree would provide me.

And deep dive we did, exploring everything from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance theory.

My own thesis took a look at Walter Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm, which posits that all meaningful communication takes the form of storytelling. This study proved to be one of the most useful things I’ve done for my marketing career, and is at the heart of what I do for clients at The Karcher Group.

Fisher notwithstanding, grad school didn’t teach me about two fundamental content truths, without which I could never produce results-worthy deliverables for our clients.

Here are two fundamental things about content I didn’t learn in grad school:

  1. Content that doesn’t reflect your values will bring the wrong kind of results

What’s your why?

You probably know your “what,” and you likely are well-versed in your “how,” but very few people actually understand their “why.”

Your “why” is the reflection of your values, and can stand alone from the things or services you produce. It’s the reason you do what you do. Maybe it’s as simple as “make things work better” or “improve lives” or “make kids happy.”

Figuring out your why is one of the most important things you can do for your business, and producing content that reflects those values comes in at a close second.

It’s easy to produce a quick how-to article that walks your customers through a certain process. It’s a lot harder to produce a body of work that leaves your customers with the feeling, “This business has my best interests at heart.”

When you approach content from a values standpoint, it might take a little more work, but you’ll ultimately get better results with more qualified, loyal candidates.

  1. Content for content’s sake will bring the wrong kind of results

There was a time when I would “prescribe” content: five blog posts, two videos, seven Facebook posts, etc. There was also a time when a lot of websites grew exponentially simply because they were content production machines.

That model still works in some verticals. But for many small to mid-size businesses, simply producing content for content’s sake can not only eat up man hours, it can bring the wrong results. Or worse, no results.

I often urge businesses to think of producing content not on a “have to” basis, but on a “get to” basis. It’s a simple switch in your approach that can better results for far less stress.

It also ties in heavily to understanding your core values and what you really want your customers to understand about who you are and what you do.

Let’s take Facebook, for example. First of all, you don’t “have to” be on Facebook. It’s a powerful platform, yes, but if your customers aren’t there—or if they’re there, but not looking to engage with your business there—your business doesn’t “have to” be there.

But let’s say you’re trying to grow your business using Facebook as a tactic. Instead of thinking, “I have to publish every day,” think, “I get to use this platform to show my customers a unique facet of the value I provide for them.”

That might mean you only have two regular posts and one sponsored post for that week, but your customers will recognize that you’re offering them something valuable and not simply trying to take up space in their feed.

Grad school provided me with a wealth of information, but these two basic principles help to produce better results for our clients than a detailed paper on grand unified marketing theory. Integrate this approach into your content and not only will it help to streamline your process, but it will also bring better, more qualified results.

Learn more about how The Karcher Group can help your business with telling your brand story better online. Contact us today.

Want To Talk?

We’re looking for clients who want a collaborative digital experience that gets real results for your business.

Get our Newsletter

Receive digital marketing tips you can put to work TODAY for your business.