How is your content marketing strategy shaping up?
We’ve been discussing the 12 Points I’m using to guide our business and client’s content marketing strategies. Over the last couple of week’s I’ve been discussing each of the points and how to implement them in your plan.
Here’s a recap
Part #1: (Read it)
- Influencing the Influencer
- The Right Message At The Right Time
- Sizzle and Steak
Part #2: (Read It)
- Trigger Situation
- Never Finished
- Hub and Spoke
Part #3: (Read It)
- Content Engagement Networks
- Native Promotion
Let’s finish up this series with two powerful principles that will convert reader interest into profitable client relationships.
#11 Solving Core Problems = Profitable Thought Leadership
It’s likely that your customers aren’t aware that they need your product. They may be aware that they have a problem but unsure what to do about it. You have two options to create demand for your product with content:
Option #1: Promote Product benefits
Use your content to push what your product offers. A good “X Ways Our Product Solves Your Problem” post is usually what’s ordered up by the marketing team.
Is this a good move?
Yes, if your product is clearly better than the competition or you are the only one with a good well-priced solution. Be careful, you are biased. You will always think you have the better solution. Remember that your customer’s opinion is the only one that counts.
Is there a better option?
Option #2: Educate the customer about their “real” problem.
A few months ago I had a time management problem. Instead of wasting time trying to DIY my way to an answer I talked with two productivity and life-balance coaches.
One tried to sell me an app.
The other helped me understand the root of my problem. I was managing my business fine but I was drowning in personal life details that were important but not urgent. She helped me hire a virtual assistant and design a process for delegating some important tasks – freeing almost 10 hours a week.
I didn’t buy the $297 app but I did pay the other consultant 10x the cost of the app.
When your content toes the line with simple feature + benefit arguments, you become another option among many for customers to consider. But offering an insightful diagnosis of a problem creates the opportunity to demonstrate your value. Your diagnosis creates an “aha” moment that positions you as the most knowledgeable and valuable resource in the market.
I recommend Option #2. The bulk of your content creation effort should be directed toward uncovering core problems, diagnosing them and offering unique ways your services and products solve the problem.
Questions to ask:
- What are the core factors contributing to your reader’s most aggravating problem? For example in the content marketing space the core problem is that people hate to write. What is it for you?
- Can you create a content campaign that helps your reader understand and solve their core challenges?
- Can you start next by next Monday?
#12: Get Noticed By Promoting Less
A funny thing happened in 2014. I decided early on to not promote any new programs. I just focused on delivering the best information and tools I could to my core audience — you. This strategic shift was scary because I was a promotional whirlwind in 2013 offering a new product every month, sometimes twice a month!
Guess what happened?
We almost tripled our revenue.
Here’s a clue – look at your email inbox. Is it stuffed with promotions, deadlines, and pitches? I bet it is.
My assistant takes all of these offers and places them in an “optional” folder. I only look at this folder – by mistake. I suspect you have a similar filtering system in place.
I have another email folder labeled “Reading List.” Well-written unique articles written by thought leaders are placed in this folder. I read everything in this folder every night. I invest in the services provided by people in the Reading List folder. These people have offers too but they deliver value first.
So…where which folder would you like your content to end up?
Questions to ask:
- Can you streamline your product offerings to one or two special offerings to limit the amount of offers promoted in your content. Essentially can you put more energy toward making a few offers amazingly relevant?
- Are you willing to take an “Offer Vacation” and focus on building trust and relevancy with your audience through thought-provoking and unique content? Are you ready to rely on Native Promotion to generate the leads needed to grow your business?
What Are You Starting With?
Which of these 12 content marketing points will you implement this year in your business? Let’s discuss it on Google+.
By the way, Google+ is my “Content Engagement Network” of choice for 2015. What’s yours?