CONTENT MARKETING: THINK PEOPLE, NOT USERS
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of content marketing, but if you haven’t drilled down into ‘who’ you’re trying to reach, your efforts are going to be less effective. Before you spend a lot of time planning, developing, publishing and distributing great content, get a firm handle on who is going to view it. Otherwise, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time and resources. Earlier our marketing efforts were targeted at buyers who we called as “users”. When we said “User” we meant only those customers who were visiting the website. They were generally differentiated by demographics. But nowadays, every customer is a User. The Content Marketing Institute advises to forget about demographics and focus on people.
❝You need to start thinking about your buyers as people – alive and different and separated by their behaviors — rather than identifying them by their demographics.”
The best content has a human element to it. Why? Because your readers are people, which means they will relate better to your story if you relate it to them on their level. Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
This means marketers must take into consideration what content your audience wants and what format they receive it in. It’s important to map your content to your buyer personas. Always bear this question in mind: What could you put out as content that people would actually care about? Most brands start with the product. Flip your thinking and start with the audience’s lifestyle and needs.
In all the hustle and bustle of content marketing mania, I think there is something very important that is being overshadowed by the overemphasis on performance, results, and tracking ROI. If your content isn’t connecting with people, all the other “stuff” that makes content marketing so attractive and successful won’t perform according to expectations. This is why content marketing is such a powerful marketing tool, it builds long term relationships, that establishes authority and sales automatically follow as a result of this.
The only kind of marketing that helps businesses connect with real people is personal content. Not just targeted, or personalized – personal content. I’m not talking about creating named personas that tell you everything about your target audience except anything actionable, like what content they want, where they consume it and what really matters to them.
The only way to really know these things is through effective content marketing that seeks to deliver what your customers actually want. It has to be customer-driven, it has to be continuous, and it has to focus on reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message.
It’s about Relationships
Here are some guidelines you should have in mind while creating content:
- Don’t promote your products or services.
- Create unique new added-value content.
- Invite dialog and ask questions.
- Respond to comments directly on your posts or in social media.
- Find ways to help people who reach out to you.
When you build relationships with people, you start to understand your readers’ desires and needs. Granted, these are two different things, and no one really needs to follow you on social media. They follow you because you fulfill a desire, and because they want to. Your posts are funny, informative, or help them in some way. This is the emotion you want to adhere to. You want to cater to the desire in the people. While we like to think of ourselves as logical people, the reality is that we’re more likely to respond to anything that triggers an emotional response. When you understand your audience, you understand this simple fact as well. While you can post and promote your content until the cows come home, you have to think about the reader and what they will be getting out of it when it comes across their stream. That connection is the basis of building a relationship foundation that keeps growing over time. It’s imperative that you understand what your reader wants, so you can connect them with your content frequently. People want actionable content that helps them achieve their goals. They want to be able to take your content and put it to good use. In order to make that connection, you have to get to know the people.
Content marketing works to build relationships and positions you as someone and a business that people are interested in having a relationship with. There are many tactics and strategies to grow your business and content marketing is certainly one of them. Just remember, when you are cultivating meaningful relationships, business growth happens. You are in the relationship-business and content marketing is a strategy that works to enhance what you do best.