Thoughtful and helpful content paves the way for what we want our readers to do -- whether that's sharing our content, opting in, or buying something from us. Unfortunately, though, not all content marketing brings in the vital connections that lead to conversions and long-lasting relationships.
Let's take a look at the three main types of content creators:
- The Spray-and-prayers
- The Light Strategists
- The Dancers
These people adopt the "spray and pray" approach, with no strategy or planning involved in the content creation and distribution process. They churn out tons of content hoping that some of it will 'stick'.
These are the people who don't think too hard about what and why they are publishing or (so long as it seems to be somewhat helpful). They want as much ROI or traffic as they can possibly get. They don't mind a bit of keyword stuffing and usually don't want to wait around too long for the numbers to start talking - or for their masterpiece to go viral.
They don't establish connections - they want a quick pay-off.
If their efforts don't pay off, they'll move onto the next project or the next marketing strategy, only to achieve the same results once again.
The Light Strategists
Light Strategists know the basic strategies they need in order to do content marketing. They know they need to make it interesting and valuable, and they want to optimise it for SEO.
So that's what they do.
They tick all the boxes. They create nicely written, but slightly bland, presentations that answer people's questions on the internet.
Unfortunately their conversions may be low because they too fail to form connections.
Then you've got the dancers.
These types of content marketers meet their customers and prospects at their point of need, wherever that may be and then build desire.
They lead their audience along in a beautiful dance until the reader understands that they can trust them to solve their problems. At the end of their dance, readers glide effortlessly over to the 'call to action' button and click.
Conversions are high for The Dancer. And that's because The Dancer knows how to get appropriately intimate enough with their customers and prospects to build connections.
A welcome connection
Selling something may be the ultimate goal for your content marketing. Make no mistake, your audience understands that. But they still want to feel as though they are a welcome piece of your puzzle.
You can accomplish this through building connections.
Connections make the difference between a paying customer and a disconnected consumer of your content. They break barriers and build bridges. They are encouraging, empathetic, and problem-solving.
Customers love connections, and The Dancer knows how to deliver.
When it comes to content marketing, be The Dancer!
How to create content that connects
Now you know that connections make all the difference between an average piece of content versus a great piece of content, here are some vital steps and ideas to help you choreograph your content marketing dance.
Let your audience know you can give them what they want
If your audience doesn't know what you can do, you can't build connections with them. So show them what you have.
- Use your content marketing to demonstrate all the ways that you can help people.
- Tell stories through your content rather than selling.
- Bridge the gaps between the problem a prospect has and what you can offer and then create content around that.
- Use case studies to show how you've solved a problem you know your audience has.
- Build relevant paths to lead your customers through your site or services - just like Ikea does in their store but virtually!
- Create challenges or content to move your audience forward with their problems.
- Show your audience how they can connect with you and interact with your services through your content - lead the way for them.
Become THE trusted advisor
Use your content to convey and build trust, which will naturally lead to strong connections. Become the trusted advisors your readers turn to.
- Express conviction and reliability in your content marketing - always.
- Find ways to demonstrate your knowledge without being pushy.
- Answer public questions ; like those on Quora or Twitter and in Facebook Groups.
- Promote content that's relevant to public questions - if it's appropriate etiquette for the site or group you are commenting in.
- Find ways to let your audience relate and connect with you in a way that feels personal.
Add YOUR touch of spice
It's a cliche but true: People buy from people.
How often have you found somebody else's little quirks charming, funny or endearing?
Quirks are the fastrack to someone's heart and loyalty. And, if you've got an emotional connection and some loyalty, your feet are well and truly under the table.
- Respond to the connections you build in your unique way and watch how you draw people to you.
- Learn how to add humour and storytelling to your connections.
- Direct prospects and customers to a 'new way of thinking through your content marketing.
- Develop your voice.
- Build desire.
- Be you!
Create purposeful content marketing
It's so easy to simply tick your content marketing box by rolling out something remotely interesting for your market. And in many situations, that's ok. So long as your market finds your content interesting and especially if you do so consistently.
But you could do more.
When you know what your market wants, how your products or services can give them what they want, and your content marketing leads your audience into understanding that you can give them what they want, then you've just taken a random piece of advice up a notch to being a valuable connection.