I’ve always wanted to ask a client, “Why are you willing to pay for work that is likely to result in failure?” I know it’s harsh. The premise that businesses are throwing away money on a bound-to-fail strategy is uncomfortable. If you insist, I can turn it around: “What are you willing to pay to succeed?”

Wedding gown

“Show me the money!” “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

There are plenty of bon mots about money, but as a society we’re uncomfortable talking about what our services are worth. I know. In my spare time, I sew for friends and clients. When they ask what they owe, I’d rather face a dentist than name my price. That failure on my part is why sewing isn’t my bread-and-butter (or primary) business. The issue came up this week, when I was asked to do a small project and I hesitated about billing the person. Successful businesses have no trouble sending me a bill for their services. They value what they offer. Why don’t they value their online content? Why don’t they value professional-quality content? Why do they think creating effective content is something that anyone can do?

Maybe it’s the assumption that they learned all they needed to know in English class. Maybe it’s a fear of change, of having to learn new behaviors (yup, social media is one) in order to successfully compete in the digital age. We see this in all aspects of our life. What is the tipping point that actually prompts change in behavior?

  • Is there a decrease in website traffic and new leads?
  • Are online sales stagnant or dropping?
  • Is your Facebook page building a community or posting to the sound of silence?
  • Are amateurs writing your web and social media content?

Are you paying for failure?  How bad does it need to be before you turn to a professional agency to deliver quality content? Altering a wedding gown is more complicated than sewing on a button, and most brides seek out the best professional they can find for their precious gown.

Stitching silk, satin and lace is remarkably like crafting an effective content marketing strategy. All the pieces need to work together to fit just so, and the work needs to follow best practices in order to meet the needs of the individual and look like the original design. There are basic rules, and plenty of room for creative solutions, whether you’re starting from scratch or altering an existing gown.

Effective content crafted by a professional isn’t cheap. Neither is a custom-fitted gown. The next time you consider investing in your business, ask yourself what you’re willing to pay to succeed. Then think about what you’ll be willing to pay when your daughter weds. One is an investment in an important day; one is your economic foundation.

Kathleen Gossman – Project Manager

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