Opinions are like armpits, everybody has two and neither of them smell very good. With that in mind, here are a few of my opinions regarding content marketing for small business lenders whether they be banks, credit unions or alternative lenders. I include social media and PR in the mix, because that's how I look at it. I think there's a lot of potential for small business lenders to leverage the medium to find new customers and build lasting relationships with current customers. Nevertheless, content marketing might not be for everyone. The following are the first three of six reasons some organizations aren't very successful with a content marketing approach (I'll share the last three on Monday): They take the wrong approach with social media I'm not a big fan of being on Twitter or Facebook (for example) simply to be there. Before I jump into a new social media, I give some serious thought to what we plan on doing there, whether it will introduce us to the types of people we want to meet, and whether we have the resources to effectively share our message there. I'm an advocate of using social media to promote our thought leadership content and interact with our followers—with a heavy emphasis on sharing the content our audience will find relevant. Few people really care about what I had for lunch, but they are interested in what our spokespeople have to say about our industry. After all, that's why they started following us in the first place. They put the wrong people in charge of the effort It is likely because they don't take the social/content marketing effort seriously, but I've always been surprised at why so many organizations throw their most junior people into the maelstrom and can't figure out why nobody is paying attention. I look at this effort as a vehicle for sharing our expertise within the industry, offering information that will make life easier for our followers (whether or not they are customers), and sharing out thought leadership. This is kind of challenging for spokespeople who haven't had much experience yet. The other day I was talking to a colleague who suggested we could likely bring interns in to help us write some of the many blogs and articles we publish every week. I don't mean to belittle college interns, but being able to write and having something to say are two very different things. Years ago I stumbled upon a competitor's blog that went something like this: "I'm so excited to be writing on this blog. I don't know anything about the industry, but I'm excited to learn and contribute." A great sentiment, but not very inspiring if you're someone looking for advice or want to learn best practices. I have worked with brilliant young people over the last several years who make meaningful contributions to whatever we were doing at the time—I just don't expect them to be the voice of experience. Knowledge of how social media works or an English major, does not qualify anyone to be a company spokesperson or thought leader. They look at PR the same way they did 10 years ago Yes, we work with a PR firm. And yes, we produce press releases. That said, the value of our PR firm, and where we focus their energy, is in finding places where we can contribute relevant content to our audience, introduce us to media that will help us tell our story, and participating as an active member of the content marketing team when we sit down to discuss strategy and next steps. I consider my PR firm to be an invaluable part of what we're doing. I don't want them wasting time on efforts that don't help us better tell our story. There you have it. The first three reasons why I believe so many content marketing efforts fail. Next Monday I'll share the last three on my list.