One gets you seen and the other gets you business. I say do both. Here’s a post about content marketing with the mindset of ways to get you buyers.
How Do You Appeal to a Buyer?
Why would someone come to your blog or newsletter in the first place? Precious few of your buyers are thinking, “I’m bored. Entertain me.” They’re thinking, “I’ve really gotta up my game. I wonder what ______ has for me that will improve my universe.” And that’s what you’re writing towards.
Make Your Buyer the Hero
If you’re writing to try and do business with banks, write a post that would help them understand their processes better. Trying to encourage people to hire you to paint their house? Shoot a quick video that shows your five steps for getting a house ready for your people to come in and do work. Make the buyer the hero, though. Not you. They’ll understand that you’re there to help, but they have to come away feeling like the hero.
In Harry Potter, people like Ron and Hermione and Hagrid and Albus, etc, etc (I can’t believe I remembered all those names), but they want to BE Harry Potter, or feel like it’d be to ride along for the adventure. That’s what you’re shooting for in your content creation. It doesn’t always have to be that fanciful. (If you’re a plumber, you might have a harder time creating magic than, well, a movie and book series about magic.) But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to make the buyer the hero.
Here’s a quick example of two post titles (say for an email newsletter). Tell me which seems the most likely to make someone open:
* How my amazing company saved some bunch of clueless people a lot of money.
* How Smith’s Apothecary spent 42% less on advertising last year, and how YOU can too!
B. Say B. If you don’t, well, you’re just toying with me. But if you want to know the truth, I see more and more articles written that sound like A. People don’t care about your awards. They don’t care about how great you are. THEY want to be the hero. They’re looking at you with big “what’s in it for me” eyes, and they will tune you out if you don’t give people that.
And Never Waste Content Without Offering an “Ask” of Some Kind
If you’re not putting some kind of potential hook to future business into your efforts, you’re not content marketing. You’re writing. And that’s great. But it’s not going to help your business, as such.
So what should you do? Hard sell each time? Soft sell? A mix? A mix.
The ask should be something reasonable and related to the content you’ve created. Make it too jarring and people won’t really seek to play along. For instance, in a post written by a company that offers home improvements, maybe something about how to get your bathroom looking better in seven easy steps, you might invite people to subscribe to your newsletter, or you might ask them if they want a free appraisal, or you might offer them something that lets them commit just a little bit, without going too deep too fast.
The hard sell method – Now I’ve given you this free thing, so buy my expensive thing. That doesn’t work so well. Most times. It might also depend on your audience.
But What If My Product Is Dull or Boring?
Not every single product or service is right for content marketing, but then the company might be the subject instead of the product. For instance, if you make toilet paper, the product itself isn’t especially interesting. The company’s commitment to using more recycled materials, however, might be very interesting. You might sell house insurance. Have you seen how people market insurance? There are tons of ways to perk that subject up (talk about what goes wrong – be funny, etc). If you sell legal services, maybe your content marketing is about the more interesting related-but-not-your-clients cases you’ve read about in the news.
There’s always an angle. As dull and boring as you want to believe that you, your product, or whatever are, you’re not getting off the hook that easily.
How Do I Convince the Boss?
There are plenty of ways, but money usually works. Compare the cost of content marketing: nearly free, to the cost of print marketing: not so free. Compare the lead scoring that comes from either. In short, provide numbers. Ask for a test or a trial and then provide numbers. It’s the only way people will let you shift things around, especially if trust isn’t on your side. Is that hard to do? Sure. But if you’re thinking that it’s how your company will move forward, you’ll probably be okay with that.
Do I Have To Write Well to Create Good Content?
Yes, you most certainly do. The people who joined my course, Blog Topics: The Master Class, didn’t sign up for a 16 week course on writing and content creation just because they think I’m a nice guy. They paid for education in how to create meaningful content for the audience they serve. You can’t just want to write better. You have to do something about it. And practice helps, of course.
So that’s the advice I have for you today. This gets you halfway to convincing the honey badger to care. What gets you the rest of the way there? Oh, I’ll talk about that in my free newsletter on Sunday. You know, if you subscribe to that.