03 Jul Creating Content Consumers Will Actually Read
Inbound marketing is the silent advertiser. It’s the salesman who comes to your door disguised as your neighbor, with a warm apple pie. Inbound marketing says: “I’m not here to sell you anything; I’m actually here to give you something.”
Let’s be real though. Marketing is always trying to sell you something. Inbound marketing simply found a way to do it in a less invasive way, that is more beneficial to the consumer and, frankly, highly effective.
Rather than chasing consumers with gimmicks and nagging ads, inbound marketing attracts them with stellar content. The content may not contain any call to action or mention of the brand whatsoever. The only requirement is that it captures users’ interest and keeps them engaged. Its’ existence on the brand’s website or social platform is more than enough to create a connection for the user.
As users continually return to your site for intriguing content, they come to develop greater trust and interest in your brand. Suddenly, those blog posts are no longer merely pieces of cool information; they’re storytellers illustrating your brand’s values and personality. If those traits happen to match the identity the consumer desires to portray (and they should), bingo.
Now, you’ve got yourself a highly engaged customer–one that isn’t interested in simply buying your products. They’re buying your story.
By slowly consuming your content, they’ve developed a strong sense of your brand’s persona. When they wear your vegan t-shirt, they don’t just see a stylish cruelty-free top, they see the dozens of articles they read about endangered lions and snow leopards. They remember the quiz they took that told them their spirit animal, and all the organic meat-free recipes they cooked from your blog. In that t-shirt, they see a brand that truly understands and represents them. It’s not just a piece of clothing to them anymore, it’s a piece of who they are.
At this point, you’re likely asking yourself: How do I create content so good that customers engage like that? The formula is far simpler than most think—it only requires two essential points.
1. Nail Down Your Market
Like any good salesman, you must know your prospects inside and “out-bound” (couldn’t help It). Seriously though, find out what makes your customers tick. What are their interests, passions, dislikes, fears, weekend hobbies, goals and Harry Potter houses?
A few quick ways to do this:
- Notice what your customers post to social media and how they interact with your brand. Are there any trends? Do most of your customers have children or busy careers? Do they post a lot of pictures of themselves traveling?
- See how your competitors speak to their audience—this will give you insight into how your market thinks and what they care about.
- Conduct a survey: offer a small incentive like a coupon if users fill out a quick questionnaire you can use to develop your market ‘persona.’
The better you know your target market, the easier it will be to entice them to your site with relevant content.
2. Ask Yourself: What Content Would this Audience Find Useful or Interesting?
This question is the foundation of content marketing. You should ask yourself before you post any blog or social post: Is this interesting or useful to my target audience? The more your content aligns with your market’s personality profiles, the higher the likelihood of building that relationship. The key is shifting from the sell mentality to the connect mindset. People nowadays are sales-evasive. They see ‘buy now’ and scroll right past. The only way to reach them is with content that speaks to them.
Old Spice is a prime example with their ‘the man your man could smell like’ campaign. Over 186 videos, the deodorant brand used sex and humor to engage their audience. Instead of talking about promotions and the benefits of their product, Old Spice told a story. They showed their customer as a shirtless man on a luxury boat, holding diamonds, and then on a white stallion. Who doesn’t want to be that guy?
The campaign resulted in a sales increase of over 100 percent, not to mention countless views, interactions, website visits, and media mentions. Old Spice took the time to get to know their market, so they could create the right content to connect with them.
Sure, inbound marketing is more time consuming than the traditional way. There’s a lot of leg work involved, but the customers you gain from those efforts are word-of-mouth marketing ninjas. They’re constantly engaging with your content, so they’re likely to talk about your brand with friends and share it on social media.
They’re also fiercely loyal. When a shiny new brand comes out with a trending product, your customers aren’t going to jump ship. That brand doesn’t have your story or connection to the customer—that is something that can only be built over time.
From now on, think of content as your brand’s no-strings-attached apple pie. It’s a gift, that, if accepted, opens the door to create a powerful relationship.