Why do content marketing? (1)

I did a training the other day at Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce on content marketing (surprise, surprise!).

One of the topics we covered was “Why do it?” Why go to all that hassle every day/week/month, especially if writing doesn’t really come easily to you? The first answer we came up with was “visibility/get known”.

Stand out
    Be visible.  Image courtesy of geograph.org.uk

The reason we put ourselves through the process every however-often is to build brand awareness or, in plain English, to get noticed. Not so much to make potential clients aware that we exist (feature), but that we can do x, y or z to solve their problems (benefit) – which is the only thing most people care about.

Think of what you do if a new shop opens in your area (OK, what I do): pop in and take a look at what they stock. Why would we do that? It’s not to say Hi to the staff. ‘Course not; it’s to suss out whether they’ve got anything we might want to buy now or in the future.

With content marketing, you’re setting out your stall so people who’ve just discovered you can suss out if you’ve got what they want/need. They don’t really care about you (that, hopefully, comes later); they care about themselves and how your goods or services apply to them. Sad but true.

So woo them. Lay your wares out seductively. Entice readers into a conversation. Explain what sets you apart from your competitors, what makes your offering special and interesting. And continue to woo whenever you write – you never know how long the person reading a particular blog or newsletter has been following you.

Have you ever seen footage of angler fish? (No, really, I’m not changing the subject!) They’re one of the ugliest fish in the sea but they have a literally attractive “lamp” protruding from their forehead. Down in the depths there’s virtually no ambient light. Fish are attracted like moths towards the unusual glow, and bingo: lunch. Other predators, lacking the lamp, have rather more hit-and-miss results.

Now, obviously, I’m not saying you should consume your customers – just that content marketing is the equivalent of that lamp. It attracts the people you want to “catch” and gives you an advantage over your competitors.

So there you have it – time to go and light your lamp!

And if you’d like to start the conversational ball, you can kick off below.

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