Build How-To Material to Grow Relationships

Inbound Marketing Summit San Francisco 09 I’m at the Inbound Marketing Summit where we’ve heard from lots of great speakers. One constant that keeps coming up is that people want to know how to do some of the cool new things in online marketing and business communications. Actually, there are two threads that I’m seeing from my conference audience in how they relate to our speakers.

People want “how-to” information, and they want it to be entertaining.

Is this any different than you’d imagine?

Think about this with the content you’re creating. Are your blogs thought pieces or are they how-to pieces? The first (like this post) make you think a bit, or think differently, or confirm (or disavow) your opinion. But can you do something with this? No, not really.

So the trick is this: create “how-to” information that people want, and that people will want to share. The goal of this information is to be helpful, but subgoals include getting the information spread out to more people, and also getting more people interested in a business relationship with you.

Want some examples? Here are a few of mine:

50 Ways to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

27 Blogging Secrets to Power Your Community

In both cases, these are how-to pages. They both reached big audiences. They both drove traffic through sharing, re-sharing, bookmarking, and more. But they also created goodwill by being free and helpful pieces of information.

I find this works very well, both as a professional speaker, as well as when you create good blogging (or podcasting or video or otherwise) media. Giving people tools and ideas and actionable next steps for their own value is a powerful differentiator.

What do you think?

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