It’s been a while now that I keep finding all of these places where you can find wonderful content marketing lessons, including movies, retail, and even hipster facial hair. It seems, though, that we’ve overlooked the most obvious of all places to find these lessons: you!
Think about it. How many times have you casually observed someone else’s content marketing and thought, I wish… ? Probably more than you realize. This is something that a lot of us tend to do without really thinking about it, and we do it with pretty much every aspect of online marketing (and life).
So here are some tips you can take away from what you thought were some casual observations.
Observation: This website content is so boring. I can’t even focus on what I’m reading because it’s so dry.
Tip: Bring your personality into your content marketing
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your content. This helps attract customers to you. Look, for example, at how you prefer to interact. Are you very friendly and outgoing? Do you prefer to be more polished and down to earth? These personal characteristics are more than just that – they say something about what platforms you might use.
Very straight-laced and professional? Maybe LinkedIn is the platform for you. Social butterfly when it comes to business interactions? You’re probably more of a Twitter person.
Understanding these personal qualities can help you create content and share it with like-minded individuals.
Observation: This company gives me the impression that they’re keeping me at arm’s length. I wish they were a little warmer and receptive.
Tip: If you want your customers and clients to feel like friends, treat them like friends.
This will probably first require you to assess how you behave with your friends (and perhaps how that measures up to others. Just because you and your friends might party until 4 a.m. doesn’t mean everyone is like that).
For example, contact your customers and prospects at the same time you would contact a friend (so not at 7 a.m. or 2 a.m., hopefully!). This doesn’t just mean phone calls – it can mean emails too. While most people are never going to know they received an email at 3 a.m. for no apparent reason, there’s always someone who’s got a notification sound set.
Observation: I wish there was some better organization. I’d like to know when I can expect new content and what that content will be.
Tip: If you are a very polished business professional, feel free to organize.
You might want to make sure that your content machine is only running during business hours – 8-5 every day and not a moment under or over. You might also put a considerable amount of resources into your editing staff to ensure that every piece of content is as flawless as it can be.
Observation: I wonder who this writer is outside of his or her writing.
Tip: Make room for you in your content.
When you spend a considerable amount of time online, reading others’ content, it’s natural that you feel like you start to develop some kind of relationship with them, and thus want to know more about who they are.
Similar to allowing your personality to shine through, don’t be afraid to be present in your content. Feel free to include tidbits about your hobbies, interests, and life in your content marketing efforts. This can only serve to give customers a way to relate to you and your business and establish a friendlier relationship if that’s where you want it to go.
That little bit of common ground could be all the difference it takes for a prospect to choose to do business with you.
Observation: This email newsletter arrived right on time! This is exactly the info that I was looking for.
Tip: Identify what works for you when purchasing a product.
What helps you make up your mind when it comes time to making a purchase? Chances are good that those are the same things that are helping others to choose your business, as well.
Was it an email newsletter that came at the perfect time of day? Or maybe you read a lot of blog posts that review products. Perhaps it’s videos on YouTube that help you make up your mind. Try to figure out the content strategy behind the items you consume. How can you emulate that?
Observation: What is my competition doing with their content marketing?
Tip: Worry less about your competition.
I know that sounds counterintuitive, but allow me to explain. Don’t just focus on your competition. Think bigger. Look at what’s working across the board for brands big and small. Consider what gets you to open your wallet, then figure out how you can make that happen for your business too. If you think you might need some help here, we can help you plan your content strategy.
Observation: This is great that content marketing works so well for larger brands, but it would never work for my small business.
Tip: Nonsense. The process is the same.
Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small mom & pop-style business, the process of content marketing is exactly the same. Ideas, strategies, and so forth are all on the table. Anything you see a bigger company doing is game because the content marketing playing field is level.
So the next time you’re consuming content online, listen to yourself. What are you observing, and what does that say about your style? What other observations would you add to this list?