Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why not to worry about the “industry standard!”

The so called “industry standard” is something many marketers talk and care about.
What’s the industry average, and are we a bit better? 

Let me rephrase that: 

Are we slightly above industry average?
Who wants to be average? I don’t. I’m trying to be the best version of myself and in my field – however that may look.

Also, some industry averages are terrible. Think about the click through rates on ads. Oh wow, 0.00000000000043 percent clicked, but that’s twice the industry average. It’s still tiny. Fact checkers: Yes, an overstatement, but click throughs are low.

Am I saying we shouldn’t pay attention to the competition? Nope. Keep an eye on them, but remember that your authentic story shouldn’t change just because theirs does.

Related: My story doesn’t change if my competitor’s does 

And just because they are hitting industry average doesn’t mean you should only shoot for being slightly better.

Being average gets us participation medals and they are worthless. Even my 9-year-old knows that. Gen Z, I guess. They want to win.

So instead of asking what the industry standard is, here’s one for your consideration:

What are the leaders in our industry doing?

Shoot for what they are doing maybe?

But, but, but that’s harder. No kidding. Nobody said this would be easy.

One of my favorite examples is email marketing in healthcare. The industry standard open rate is like 20 percent. So 20 people out of 100 that the email was sent to open it.

Seems weak, but it’s the industry standard. And it kind of works and brings results – especially with big lists.

Some of the market leaders have open rates of 60 percent.

Whoa. No way. Impossible. We can’t get there. Correct, many can’t. Crap, boring and lame content won’t get opened.

But, those market leaders send highly relevant emails that are written engagingly and demand to be opened through awesome content.

Can everyone be an industry leader? Mathematically no, but it  depends. If you create your own niche – aka its own industry – you might get there quicker. If it’s an existing industry with lots of big weights, it’s likely harder.

Either way, I would recommend to not shoot for average or slightly above average.

Shoot for being awesome!

I can just see my mom had I come home and told her that I’m better than class average. Not much, but a little.

“What will you do to improve that, son?”

“Huh? That’s good enough. Industry average.”

Exactly. Don’t settle for being standard or average or slightly above it. Be the best and unique you, and shoot to be the best you can be in your field.

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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