Would Your Content Marketing Program Survive in the Shark Tank?


Great white shark off Guedelupe Island, Mexico
Pardon the pun, but I’m absolutely hooked on CNBC’s Shark Tank. It’s must-see TV in my house. What could be better than watching some guy from the middle-of-nowhere become an instant millionaire with a gadget he dreamed up in his garage?

If you haven’t caught it yet, the premise of the show is simple: Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of five super-rich moguls who must decide whether they want to invest in them. The entrepreneurs ask for capital for an equity stake in their company, and the sharks pick them apart before (oftentimes) making a counter-offer. When they aren’t interested, sharks simply say, “I’m out.” If an entrepreneur accepts a shark’s offer, they go into business together and the money starts flowing in. At least, that’s the idea.

Swimming With Sharks

Strangely enough, Shark Tank got me thinking about content marketing. I wondered what would happen if every business had to present its content marketing program to a panel of experts. The program would have to be sound and the content would have to be of the highest quality before it could be published online. If it didn’t make the cut, an article would be tossed in the recycle bin and the experts would say, “It’s out.”

Although it’s admittedly an absurd idea, we’d all welcome a feeding frenzy on bad content, wouldn’t we? Your email inbox would be uncluttered. Search results would only include useful content. Research would take a fraction of the time. It would be a lot easier to connect with your prospects and customers on social media. We’d be living in a content utopia.

Making the Pitch

If you had to pitch your content marketing program to the sharks, what would it include? You might keep it focused on a strategy for producing long-form articles for your blog, as they’re the most effective way to increase awareness and build credibility for your business. For starters:

  • Perform thorough research on your industry, competitors, and trending topics
  • Develop an editorial calendar to plan out your content creation and distribution strategy
  • Perform keyword research to make sure you’re focusing on popular (but competitive) keyphrases that are aligned with your target audience
  • Write killer headlines and compelling copy for your articles
  • Optimize your articles for your focus keywords
  • Source images that complement your content
  • Develop a distribution strategy that takes full advantage of social media (and stick to it)

Putting on a Performance

Other than having an investment-worthy product or service, an entrepreneur’s performance is the most important part of his pitch on Shark Tank. The sharks rarely invest in someone they don’t perceive to be genuine, let alone an entrepreneur who can’t hit his mark and deliver when it matters most.

Your content better be performing, too. If no one’s seeing it—if it isn’t getting ratings—even the best content doesn’t have a chance of reaching its audience. Don’t let your articles go unseen or be on the wrong channel. Share it smartly on the networks that have the best chance of connecting with your viewers.

Above all, you have to make a good impression. You have to wow your sharks. If you do, there’s a good chance they’ll decide to invest in you. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Now it’s your turn. How would you pitch your content marketing program in this Bizarro World version of Shark Tank?

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