I heard a story about a farmer who had some puppies he needed to sell.
He painted a sign that said “Puppies For Sale.”
He took the sign and nailed it to a post on the edge of his yard.
As he was pounding the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.
He looked down and there was a little boy looking up at him from the other side of the fence.
The little boy said to the man, “Excuse me, mister. I want to buy a puppy.”
The farmer wiped his neck with his handkerchief and said to the boy, “Well, these puppies come from mighty fine parents and they aren’t cheap.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment.
Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change and showed it to the farmer.
“I got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”
“Well, alright. Sure, boy” said the farmer.
The farmer then whistled and yelled the dog’s name.
Suddenly, the mother dog came running out from the doghouse followed by four little puppies.
The little boy pressed his face against the fence and he smiled at the sight of those puppies.
And then, out of the corner of his eye, the boy noticed a movement coming from the doghouse. Slowly another little puppy appeared, but this one was much smaller than the others.
It sort of slid down the ramp and then hobbled awkwardly toward the other puppies.
The little boy pointed to the runt as it joined the others and said, “I want that one!”
The farmer couldn’t believe it.
He said, “Now, son, you don’t want that puppy. He’s never gonna be able to run and play with ya like these other ones here.”
When the boy heard that, he stepped back and rolled up one of his pant legs to reveal a steel brace running down both sides of his leg. It was attached to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer the little boy said, “You see sir, I don’t run so well myself. That little puppy needs someone who understands him and I do.”
Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Someone who understands?
An author named Jess Lair had a great definition of empathy. He said, “Empathy: Your pain in my heart.”
And do you know what? There is power in empathy.
One type of content that you MUST create as a content marketer is content that describes your prospect’s or customer’s problems, dreams, etc.
Why? It shows your prospects and customers that you can relate to them.
When someone knows you understand them, then you have their attention like no one else.
And you won’t just have their attention. You’ll have their alliance.
But your empathy must be real, if it’s not it will backfire.
So stop trying to “sell” with your content marketing and start trying to empathize.
Watch what happens.
Photo by jinwesst
P.S. I’ve been asked to share examples from my “21 Types Of Content We Crave.” (Click title to see the infographic.) Well, this post uses content types #4, #7, #19, and #21. If you have examples of the 21 types, then tweet them using the #contentwecrave hashtag.