Some of the best advice for an effective content marketing strategy might just come from research on successful marriages.

Heck, we wrote a whole eBook on the concept once.

There are two main ideas. First, content is the basis for trust between buyers and consumers. And second, healthy relationships are maintained when the two parties share more positivity than negativity. For marriages this means sticking together for the long haul. For business this mean signed deals and customer advocates.

It All Starts with Buyer Trust

Good relationships—for both marriages and business—deal in the currency of trust, affection, and enjoyment.

And the gold behind that currency is content.

And the gold behind that currency is content.

78% of consumers believe that companies that produce custom content are interested in building good relationships. Why? Because those custom assets are filling needs, wants, and desires of the buyer. Your buyer will enjoy reading, watching, and sharing your content if it aligns with their needs and is coming from a brand they trust. And their chances of actually buying increases, according to industry research. Trust is the basis of both business deals and marriages, and can also be the “make it or break it” factor.

If things get dicey, or you feel your relationship is headed toward the rocks….

Follow the “Magic Ratio” Theory

The “Magic Ratio” theory was developed by Dr. John Gottman and his several-years-long research of marriages. It basically says that healthy couples balance negative comments or interactions overwhelmingly with those of a more positive shade. So what’s the ratio that best predicts healthy relationships? 5 positive comments for every 1 negative comment.

In relationships headed for disaster, the average ratio is 0.8 positive comments to 1 negative. Or close to even.

This may hardly seem like a newsflash. But here’s the most interesting insight from his research: negative comments are significantly more divisive than the positive ones are healing. A roughly equal balance of positive and negative comments results in broken bonds, and only when positive comments vastly outweigh the negative does the relationship stay firmly on solid ground.

Keep This Research in Mind When You’re Building Customer Relationships.

One hallmark of effective content marketing is that it doesn’t pump your products or services—or even mention them, until your buyers are ready to learn more. Remember, most potential customers aren’t necessarily looking for your company’s specific solution. When they turn to content for help, they are more interested in:

  • Their challenges
  • Their aspirations
  • Even what they’re having for dinner.

And why shouldn’t they be? I certainly find myself and my needs more interesting than those of most companies.

So How Do We Keep Relationships Healthy While Still Communicating What We Offer?

You guessed it: The magic ratio.

Re-interpreted for healthy content marketing, it means marketers need to balance any product or service pitch with 4 or 5 positive, useful, and engaging offerings.

We can’t just serve up 1 or 2 bland morsels of useful content, then start championing ourselves.

You don’t want your romantic partner telling you “It’s not you, it’s me,” so don’t let your customer relationships stray into these rough waters either.

It’s okay to call attention to the advantages of your product or brand in your content, but just remember to provide a far greater degree of buyer-centric material and information.

Maybe all your relationships can benefit from this advice… (You’re welcome.)