Have you ever thought about marketing as a romantic way of promoting products, services, and experiences that connect us with something greater than ourselves? Well, that’s how I came to see it through the eyes of Tim Leberecht, author of the book The Business Romantic.
It all started back in 2013 when I left my country and a comfortable job as an in-house translator for a respectable international organization to go after something bigger. It was then that I realized how far I was from understanding what it meant to be an entrepreneur and how to start a business of my own. It took me several months of persistent reading and learning to fully grasp the importance of communication in the life of any modern business. Today, I’m sharing my conclusions with you.
“Give everything, quantify nothing and create something greater than yourself”, Tim Leberecht
Content marketing is not new. Companies have been telling stories for centuries in order to attract and retain customers. But what makes content such a powerful marketing tool these days? Never before has technology made it so easy for people to feel part of a community of their choice. Traditional marketing strategies are therefore becoming less and less effective, and businesses of all types and sizes need to shift gear and find new ways to remain visible and profitable in the marketplace.
But hold on! What exactly is content marketing?
According to the CMI, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Your content will be valuable to your readers if it offers a solution to one or more of their problems or concerns. It will be relevant if it interests your particular audience, that group of people that really needs what you have to offer. And it will be consistent if it’s ongoing communication that helps you build a conversation with your audience and familiarize them with your brand and personality.
Content can be pdfs, ebooks, photos, videos, newsletters, tutorials. You name it! The trick here is turning it into terribly useful material that you can give away for free as an incentive for people to connect with your brand.
What’s important to note here is that the main goal of your content marketing strategy shouldn’t be to promote your business. People do not want to be marketed to. What they are interested in is having meaningful conversations, building friendships and connections. They may ultimately become interested in your products or services, but targeting people with precision marketing does not work nowadays.
Know your potential clients
We live in an era where there is much more data available to us than we’ve ever imagined. Every single day, your ideal customers are putting their ideas, feelings, needs and opinions out on social media, this ultimate data collection machine where you can gather all you need to know about your audience and use it to your advantage, not in a manipulative way, but in a way that allows you to beautifully serve the people you work with. So go out there, find your place in conversations that are taking place in your market, listen to people’s questions and respond to them.
“Broadcast less and listen more”, Tara Gentile
How you identify your ideal customers and target them effectively
Business strategist and coach Tara Gentile says in her book Quiet Power Strategy that Quiet Power Strategy people do not generalize, they personalize. Instead of creating ideal client profiles that lead to assumptions about customers that make your content sound the same as everybody else’s, Quiet Power Strategy people interact with actual human beings. Every message they put out there is directed to an individual person. When you really get to know your three to five potential customers, you end up interacting with a hundred thousand people with the exact same needs, concerns and interests. Then you can craft messages based on those exact needs instead of on generalizations.
Doing everything is not a strategy
It is essential that you know what your conditions for connection are. Ask yourself: when do you find yourself to be the most persuasive? Is it presenting on stage, writing, making warm calls? Take that information and bake it back into your marketing plan so as to pick the medium, channel and content type that will get you the biggest wins. And give yourself permission to stop doing the things that aren’t getting any results.
How you share your work
Most marketing experts agree that a good launch campaign is like storytelling: all the pieces of content that form part of that launch must form a coherent whole. Consistency in promotion is essential too. Promote your message regularly so as to build relationships and share your work with as many people in your target market as you can. Understand and get into your audience’s habits, bearing in mind that you may not share the same time zone.
Give your potential customers an incentive, a taste of what you have to offer so that, when they get to the sales message, they really understand why that’s the right solution for their problem. Giving one clear result or sample of what your product can do can be way more meaningful than trying to explain what it is about.
In addition to publishing in your own website or blog, it may also be a good idea to have your content curated by other websites, like online magazines that take guest posts, small local websites and blogs in your niche.
Build your tribal ties
“Everyone is a stranger until they are not, and then you start building your audience.”
We all understand the importance of one-to-one relationships. But we rarely understand the power of tribal ties. Tribal ties are those relationships that we built online by creating or sharing useful and compelling content. Sharing your ideas and keeping the conversation going not only allows you to deepen your existing ties but also to create an entirely new network of people ready to help promote your work in ways few closest friends would.
Find your unique voice
Identify and stick to those details that colour your writing voice and make it unique, allowing you to tell a story of your own.
After all, social media conversations are not different from the conversations we have in real life. It all comes down to nurturing human relationships, like when you sit down at the bar with a friend and talk about your unique family experiences or the crazy movie you saw on TV last night. All those details make us much more unique, interesting and compelling people. So, if you feel like talking about them in your articles or posts, that’s fine! They’ll help your readers get to know you better.
What about you? Do you use content marketing to build your tribal ties? What other content marketing tips would you share with fellow business owners? Let them know by leaving a comment below!