What assets does your business have? Your staff, obviously. Your equipment, and possibly your premises. You don’t generally think of your marketing as an asset. It’s more of a cost. But content marketing assets can have a tangible value for your business, and that value is linked to the quality of audience content marketing provides.
You may not be thinking about your blog as an asset when you’re typing it on a Sunday evening or in that spare hour at the end of the day. But the reason you’re doing it is to build a connection with potential leads that doesn’t just involve selling them stuff.
If you don’t have some way of regularly connecting with people, you don’t have a systemic, scalable way of building qualified leads. That’s because qualified leads don’t just appear out of thin air. They are created as a result of creating a content strategy. And that’s created by researching your products, and whether they think your products will solve the problems of your audience. They may not be ready to buy from you today—but that’s no reason to ignore them.
You have a choice with that vague group of potential customers. You can hope they turn up at your front door. You can shout at them to buy your stuff. Or you can get to know them, and help them educate themselves.
Is your brand really an asset?
I was recently speaking to a bloke who bought and sold businesses for a living. He told me many companies reckon their brand, or ‘goodwill’, is something valuable. It probably is valuable to the owner.
But people who are looking to buy a business only look at the assets. Those assets are property, equipment and staff. Everything else is vague and intangible.
And he’s right. If you’re purchasing a company, you can’t realise value from something as intangible as a brand name, or a reputation for being nice to customers.
Certainly, if your brand is something like Coca-Cola, then your brand is an asset. But for the vast majority of small-to-medium enterprises, the brand isn’t really something that people could put a financial value on. Do you know the name of your local fish-and-chips shop? Do you care what the brand is? How about the company that installed your kitchen benchtop?
That’s a bit depressing if you’ve spent years trying to build up a brand. You’ve probably put a lot of effort into ensuring your customers have a great experience with your company. But those existing customers are loyal to either you or your staff. Their loyalty is based on their connection with you. Once you’re gone, their loyalty can go with you.
What are the assets of services-based businesses?
A part of building a business involves building assets. A definition of an asset is a resource with economic value that you own or you control with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.
When you think of assets in your business, you might think of your business premises or any stock that you have on hand, the equipment that you use if you have some kind of manufacturing element to your business or even to a degree your staff. All of those things are assets that people will look at when they’re looking to buy your business.
But what if your company is a services-based firm? Your equipment may be something that you’ve either rented or purchased off the shelf and won’t be particularly unique. If you rent your office space, then you can’t really offer that as an asset. And you don’t have stock because all of your stock is your intellectual capital.
For a services business, the staff and the clients are the only assets. And both of those can be quite tricky to hang onto. If you’re an owner, the staff and clients may be loyal to you. When you leave, they’ll leave. So what can you actually sell to a prospective buyer?
One answer is the names and contact details of a list of qualified leads who are in the process of converting into customers. In other words, the audience for your content.
While the content you’re producing isn’t a tangible asset in and of itself, the audience for that content is. An audience is unique to the business and is owned if you’ve built it up using content and it’s something that the business has access to and will realise value from in the future.
The real value of content marketing assets
Like any asset, you have to pay for the upkeep of your content marketing asset. Which is reasonable—if you buy a commercial property or capital equipment you have to pay for its upkeep.
When you approach your content production as building an asset, it’s easier to accept why you have to pay to continually build, grow, and refresh that audience.
The benefit of it to business owners is that at the end of the day, you’ve got something completely unique to your business. That asset is something you can offer buyers that they cannot get anywhere else which is your audience for the products and services you’re offering.