The purpose of content is to build trust between you and your audience. Many of the brands that fail to gain a strong ROI from content marketing, do so because their content doesn’t support the human elements of how the business sells.
Across all industries, it’s been proven time and time again that people buy from people and that the most successful sales conversation happen face-to- face. However, in today’s digital sales and marketing-led world, we must come up with reliable ways of replicating the success of face-to-face sales online.
The most powerful and successful content replicates the intent, language and emotion of a great conversation.
Great quality content has to tick three boxes. These represent the three core needs an audience has when looking for and engaging with new content. By following a simple checklist before, during after you create new content, you can ensure that all these needs are met you give yourself the best chance of success.
These three things are Eduction, Empathy and Entertainment. Let's break them down one-by-one:
The greatest value you can exchange with your audience through content is education. People will invest and engage in content if they know it will help them develop new skills, knowledge and experience. Search-led marketing is mostly driven by people looking for answers and shortcuts to figuring things out and getting things done.
By understanding search intent and the knowledge your audience is looking for you, can begin to create content that meets these needs. When planning this, you ask yourself questions which help you to focus content around the goals of your readers and viewers.
For example: If your customers are working professionals, what skills do they need to learn to get that next promotion or pay rise. If they are hobbyists, what techniques do they need to learn to make their next Instagram worthy creation?
A further reason for using education in your content is to demonstrate your own knowledge and experience. Many service-based businesses can be
cautious of this, because they don’t like the idea of ‘giving their secrets away’. However, in reality no blog or video is going to be substitute for your 5, 10 or 15 years of experience in what you do. By using content to demonstrate the complexity and learning involved in becoming ‘great at what you do’, you can much more easily win the trust of new customers.
There is one human characteristic that creates trust, connection and action more than any other, and that is empathy. The trouble with empathy is that it is widely misunderstood as something ‘fluffy’ and often exclusively associated with face-to-face interactions. However, with simple techniques empathy can easily be leveraged and featured within written, visual and video content.
Empathy only happens by ensuring there is honesty and believability in what you are saying. For that to happen, your audience need to feel understood and included in the narrative of your content. You can do this in two ways.
The first way is directly address the ambitions and challenges of your customer and how you can personally relate to them.
For example: To introduce a blog post, you can write:
“I have been growing my business for 10 years, but I keep coming up against the same problem again and again... here is how I solve it.”
The second way is to use empathetic language. Which is all about talking about feelings and perspective.
For example: Instead of saying “Most business owners don’t understand why customer leave”
…you can say: “Isn’t is frustrating when you lose a customer for no obvious reason?”.
Entertainment may seem like the lighter requirement of the Three E’s. However, it is vitally important to making your content unique to both you and your brand.
Entertainment doesn’t always have to be about creating something ‘funny or exciting’. Traditionally entertainment takes many forms; from comedy and drama, to romance and tragedy. So, don’t feel like you always have to be tied down to the same old ‘good, great and grand’ adjectives, just to be entertaining.
For modern content marketing purposes, Entertainment is about making a decisive effort to convey your personality. People buy from people, but more importantly your customers buy from you.
Your content (whatever shape it takes) has to look, sound and feel like you and your personality. This not only makes it more honest and authentic, but creates a welcoming and space for people understand you better and build a relationship with you, albeit virtually.
It sounds difficult to do, but it’s actually pretty easy. All you need to do it think about your most recent and successful face-to-face conversations then analyse what made them great. What questions did you ask (and get asked), what jokes to did you tell and so on.
Your answers to these questions will make the tone and style of you content. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to create a tone of voice. You don’t need to this, because you already have one. The magic trick is to understand that voice in such a way that allows you to emulate in every piece of content you make.
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