How to Use the Golden Circle in Content Marketing

Did you know Google receives of 4 million search queries a minute. Let me just repeat that, Google receives of 4 million search queries a minute. That’s a lot of people looking for answers to their problems.

And there’s an awful lot of people giving answers. Every minute…

  • 1,388 blog posts are published
  • Facebook users share 2.5 million pieces of content
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times
  • And Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos
Source: Hubspot

This means if you’re looking to grow your business and improve sales then you need to battle for the attention against all those other people publishing content. You’re not the only person, or organisation doing what you do, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. But how do you do this?

It’s about developing relationships, creating connections with other human beings and starting conversations. One way to do this is to create a story that appeals to your audience by using the Golden Circle.

The Golden Circle?

The Golden Circle is a concept developed by Simon Sinek who says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

golden circle for content marketing

According to Sinek, most people communicate by starting with the “what” they do aspect and eventually work their way back to talk about “how” and “why” they do what they do.

But companies that are universally identified as unique and successful, think Apple or Google, communicate with an “inside-out” type of thinking. They start with the why and only then do they move on to talk about the how and what portions of what they do.

To help illustrate his point Sinek says, imagine if Apple also started backwards by creating a marketing message that started with “what.”

“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”

While these facts are true, It’s unlikely we’d buy one. But Apple don’t communicate how most people do. Here’s what a real marketing message from Apple might actually look like:

“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

See the difference? Feel the difference?

Why does this matter?

Why does the order in which you communicate your story matter? Well it has to do with the parts of the brain that we use to communicate. When you’re talking about what you do, you’re speaking to an analytical part of the brain. But when you talk about the why and how, you’re communicating with feelings and dealing with human behaviour.

And it’s an age old saying that we buy with our emotions and then justify it with logic. So by tapping into your readers emotion and feeling you can educate your readers, build trust and credibility, position yourself and your organisation as the expert, build connections, and start conversations.

Using the Golden Circle

To use the Golden Circle for your marketing content just answer three simple questions:

  1. Why – Why are you doing what you are doing? For example, why are you in business, why did you develop your product or service?
  2. How – How will this help your readers? For example, what problems are you solving for your readers, what challenges are you helping them overcome?
  3. What – What are you offering? For example, what is your product or service, what are the features and benefits of it?

Best practice ideas

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to use the Golden Circle here are some other best practice content marketing and copywriting ideas to help you pull it all together and create some useful, relevant and amazing copy:

  • Use content to create emotional appeal. Think about the emotional response that you’re looking to get from the reader. Is it fear, survival, guilt, energised, amusement, maybe even hope?
  • Be consistent and authentic. It’s not just what you say through your website or content marketing, it’s about the entire experience your organisation gives your reader every time they get in contact with your organisation from the receptionist and reading content on your website to talking to a sales person and the receiving a great after-sales service. Give them a great experience.
  • Keep the story clear and concise. Cut down lengthy copy, include the important parts and edit out the waffle.
  • Be specific. You’re not trying to communicate with everyone – just your buyer personas, or ideal customer – so writing your marketing messages and content shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Think about your buyer personas, what are their problems and challenges and write your copy to solve that person’s needs.
  • Ask. Don’t forget your Call to Action (CTA). If you don’t ask, then you don’t get so tell your readers what you want them to do next.

So use the Golden Circle and these best practice ideas to create content that stands out from the crowd.

Have you come across the Golden Circle? Have you used it in your marketing? Let me know in the comments below.

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