Creating great content – why it’s all about ‘them’ not ‘you’
The key to great marketing content is simple: put yourself in your customer’s shoes and tell them what they want to hear. Or at least it sounds simple, doesn’t it? In truth, it can actually be pretty hard to step outside your own business and focus on your customers’ needs, wants and desires. And that’s why so much content, whether printed or online, just doesn’t work.
Take the reasons someone might choose your business over a competitor. As a business owner, there are probably lots of things you’re proud of: your heritage, financial success, large client base, industry awards and accolades, and so on. Naturally, you want your customers to know about these things. But unless you convert this information into messages that are relevant to the customer, they’re unlikely to care.
Take industry awards and accolades for example. It’s easy to say: ‘We were voted “Best Small Business” in 2017'. But far better to change your message so it’s more about the customer rather than your business, and say: ‘Our customers voted us “Best Small Business” in 2017, so you know you can trust us to provide a great service.’ Can you see the difference?
We were voted
“Best Small Business” in 2017
Our customers voted us
“Best Small Business” in 2017
A crucial step to creating effective content is to first define your target market, which we looked at in a previous article. This exercise will give you the information you need to focus on what customers want from your business – whether that’s to save time or money, look good, feel more confident or stay compliant with industry regulations.
Your next task is to consider the features, advantages and benefits of your product or service. For example, an IT consultancy might offer a remote monitoring service so they can pick up issues with a client’s IT infrastructure at an early stage. That’s the feature, which is primarily about the IT company and what it does.
The advantage is that IT problems are identified before they affect the client’s business operations, so trading isn’t disrupted. This is more about the customer and less about the IT consultancy. And the benefit is that the client maintains productivity and profitability, as there’s less likelihood of downtime and lost revenue due to unforeseen technical issues. That part is all about the customer – it’s relevant, interesting and quite possibly essential to their business and its success.
By teasing out the advantages and benefits of your products or services in this way, you can turn information about your business from focusing inwards on ‘you’ to focusing outwards on ‘them’. The change in messaging style can often seem quite subtle, but it can make a huge difference to how people view your business. A useful tool to test your content and messaging is to consider whether it justifies the reaction: ‘So what?’ If it doesn’t, you’re on track. But if it does, you’re not quite there yet.
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