We’ve more or less made it policy in our office that if you find something cool on the internet, you should share it with the rest of the office. Recently, we found this pretty great piece on content marketing over at Fastcocreate.com that became a hot topic over the past week at our marketing agency.
The piece made a ton of great points and should be required reading for anyone looking to get a handle on how to create good content for a small business marketing blog. As good as it was, I felt it did lack one thing, and that was to emphasize the importance of disposition and tone in your content creation. As such, this week’s post is about just that.
It’s not just about writing it, it’s about believing it.
While creating customer facing content is important to your internet marketing efforts, it’s not a panacea. You shouldn’t just be developing content because someone on a blog told you to. You can use the word ‘you’ a lot – but at the end of the day – if sincerity is lacking in the tone of the content, customers will be turned off. It’s one thing to say the right things. It’s another thing for customers to believe you’re saying the right thing.
Long story, short: Valuable content is values-driven. Write about what you believe in because you believe in it – not because you think it’s something you should be saying.
It’s not just about believing it, it’s about doing it.
Great content helps people do things, solve problems, meet goals, etc. But do you know what else it says? It says a lot about how you do business. It says that you are a giver. It says that the customer is important. It says that you’re willing to change, evolve and adapt to meet their needs. If your actions don’t reflect the tone you set in your communications, the consequences could be serious. It’s not about rushing people in the door and making tons of money. It’s about creating value in your business by cultivating long term, genuine relationships. The way you do business should be reflected in your content. It’s an essential part of your branding.
Being genuine means more than you’ll know.
Insincere content sticks out like a sore thumb. We’ve all read “The top 10 reasons to do <insert catchy thingy>” posts. We’ve all read “How to rocket your profits”… Basically, we know when we’re being sold. Direct sales copy is customer facing, but it’s also hugely distinguishable and easy to tell you’re being sold a bill of goods. People are becoming increasingly skeptical of this kind of prose and are beginning to tune it out. Sure, it’s well written, sure it addresses pain points and all the other good fundamental rules of making the sale. But it’s beginning to fail because it lacks sincerity. People crave authenticity in their relationships more and more these days and the more sales-driven your content becomes, the less likely they are to think that you’re on their side. Don’t relentlessly sell to people. Listen, dialogue, provoke conversation, and ask questions. Inclusion in today’ digitally driven world can be the best marketing strategies you can employ.
Good content isn’t about giving answers. It’s about creating conversations.
Remember the old saying ‘”it’s about the journey, not the destination?” More often than not, that’s exactly what is at the heart of good content. While it’s great to divulge secrets and provide answers where you can, the copy that will resonate the most with your readers is that which provokes conversation, encourages dialogue and requires participation.
Customer-facing content is important, but making it effective goes well beyond writing about what they want to hear. Tone, disposition, intent and action mean a lot and are important marketing tactics. Be genuine, be sincere and most of all, be yourself.